Take yourself back to the very first day you went to work in your office. You must have felt mixed emotions at the time — excited, motivated, edgy, hopeful, butterflies in your stomach, the works.
A big reason for having those newbie anxieties may be the thought of being in a new, unfamiliar environment. You don’t know too many people yet, you’re not sure how to do your work, and you don’t really know what to expect until you get yourself through the first few weeks.
Fast forward to today with your HR team. New employees are joining your company, and you can bet they’re in the same boat as you were some years back.
But as HR professionals, you can help ease their worries by welcoming them in your organisation. Making new employees feel comfortable and empowered early on can make a big difference in their level of performance and attitude at work.
You can be as fun and creative with these welcome activities so that your new hires can warm up more easily in the office.
Plan a happy hour before their start date.
At least a week before they come in, invite your new employees for a night out and a few drinks with the team. It’s a good opportunity for everyone to meet and greet outside the office and talk about stuff not related to work.
The idea is to give the fresh hires some level of familiarity with their new team. It’s also a way to introduce your office culture to the newbies—that is, a team that knows how to have fun together.
Send them a handwritten welcome note.
Handwritten notes still work in this digital age, as they convey a more personal touch to the gesture. Request your team members to write their welcome message and good wishes for their new teammate.
To make the welcome note more special, you could stamp it with a portrait of the whole team and overlay a portrait of your new employee from his/her personnel file.
Assign a mentor or buddy.
A mentor or buddy system can help newbies adapt to their new environment and learn the job faster. Choose a mentor who can be freed from his work to show someone new around, give pointers to work smarter, answer questions in a timely manner, or provide company during break time.
Decorate the new employee’s office area.
You don’t want to go overboard here, but you could at least brighten up a new employee’s first day with flowers or snacks waiting on the desk or workstation.
Little things can mean a lot to someone who has barely adjusted to a new office.
Give them personalised, bespoke items from the company.
Don’t wait until you’re celebrating a new employee’s birthday or work anniversary. Surprise your new hires with early personalised corporate gifts such as cups and mugs, company t-shirts, bags, caps, beanies, or writing instruments to help them identify with the company.
Prepare an onboarding schedule in advance that is customised to the needs of the department and new employee.
The onboarding process gives you the perfect opportunity to familiarise new employees with the people they’ll be working with and the tools they’ll be using at work.
Make sure you coordinate with the concerned department to decide on a fixed schedule, which target areas are included in the onboarding program, and ways to measure the new employee’s success in the assimilation process.
Set lunch out with the whole team.
What’s a welcome without a nice lunch for a new employee? Treat the whole team to have some fun moment with newly hired staff so that everyone can interact with one another in a less formal setting.
It’s also a way to say who does what work so that when you all go back to the office, the new employee has at least learned something about his team.
The kind of welcome you give to your new employees can be crucial to their success and their future in your company. Make your onboarding process an unforgettable one for your new team member. As you make these steps count, you may see that everyone in the team benefits from the whole experience.