When most employers think of onboarding new employees, they typically have a list of to do’s focused on paperwork, meeting the staff, an office tour, vision statement and other tasks.
But what is often left to last—or totally ignored—is a plan that focuses on making the employee feel welcome, appreciated, and part of the organization’s culture as soon as possible. While most organizations have thought out and mastered the technical part of bringing on new employees, few do the appreciation and welcome part very well.
An organization only has one chance to make a good first impression with the new hire, and the first few days will leave a lasting impression. Making new employees feel welcome will result in high employee loyalty and retention and will be reflected in your bottom line.
Here are five things an organization can do to make a new hire feel welcome and appreciated:
1. HAVE A WELCOME STRATEGY IN PLACE
From management down, everyone directly involved with a new hire has a role in making the new person feel welcome. Everyone should be asked, “What was it like for you on your first day and week?” and “What could others have done to make you feel more comfortable, accepted, and appreciated?” Use these questions to brainstorm and come up with a detailed plan for bringing a new person into your organization.
Once the plan is developed and in writing, have everyone involved implement the plan whenever a new employee arrives. Having a written plan reminds staff of the importance of first impressions and doing a good job of onboarding. Doing this also points out that everyone has an important role to play.
2. HAVE A PERSONAL COLLAGE OF ALL IMMEDIATE STAFF
One of the concerns that creates anxiety for a new employee is wondering how he will fit in. On the first day he will likely meet a lot of new people and have trouble remembering their names.
Instead of handing him a sterile organizational chart with names and titles, how about a collage with photos and personal information of the staff the newbie will be working with. This could include photos of supervisors, coworkers, and some information on their personal lives such as family, pets, hobbies, favorite travel destinations, or favorite sayings—whatever the employee felt comfortable sharing.
Having this information at his disposal would take the pressure off the new person to remember the many faces that he met the first day. This would also put a human face on the organization and make a newcomer feel like he is joining a family.
3. HAVE A MENTOR OR BUDDY SYSTEM
Whenever a new person is brought on board, assign someone to spend time with him to show him how things work, go for lunch together, and offer support and guidance when needed. This could be undertaken by one person or rotated amongst volunteer staff.
While the mentor or buddy would have the main role, other employees should also be encouraged to jump in and do their part to do small things to make the newcomer feel welcome.
4. EXPRESS A GENUINE INTEREST IN THE NEW EMPLOYEE AS A PERSON
Knowing whether a person is auditory, kinesthetic, or visual will tell us how he prefers to be appreciated. For an auditory person, being given a verbal compliment is better than a hand written note, whereas the visual person will prefer the note. A kinesthetic person will appreciate handshakes and solid eye contact.
While it is not always possible to have this information about new people at work, it is very helpful to find out. If we don’t know or are unsure, do all three to ensure there will be one way the person will truly appreciate. The more we know about a new employee the more we are able to personalize the welcome and heighten his experience so the gesture is appreciated and remembered.
5. IMMERSE A NEW HIRE IN THE COMPANY CULTURE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Immersing a new employee into the organizational culture quickly is the best way to make him feel he is a valuable part of the team. Assign him roles and ask for his input in all the areas they are involved. Encourage him to come up with his own personal plan for what he wants to do or accomplish in the future. Make a point of involving him in all of the social and fun activities around the workplace. When in meetings make a point of asking for his input and actively listen to what he has to say.
By Harvey Deutschendorf