Simple things can help your new employee adjust to the organization's culture and will go a long way to preparing them for job satisfaction and success.
We’ve all been there before, being the new kid on the block. It can be an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful time… not knowing where things are, not knowing who to contact for specific needs, unsure of exactly what you're supposed to be doing, and many others ways of “not knowing” and not quite belonging yet.
While it’s customary for organizations to have an orientation or on-boarding time for new employees, it’s easy for them to be overwhelmed with information, ironically resulting in DIS-orientation. Oftentimes, the person who is assigned to help the new employee is busy with their own work, so the first few days are not always smooth.
So what can help mitigate these feelings of unease and move the employee toward comfort and success? We offer these simple suggestions to make your employees feel welcome. Granted, most of these suggestions would work best for those with a desk, but modifying them could also serve employees who drive trucks, cut grass, or any number of non-desk related jobs.
If the following items are waiting for the employee at their desk or primary work space on their first day, it will go a long way toward making them feel welcome, and more importantly, setting expectations early:
1. Provide a set of business cards, cubicle/desk nameplate, and any other tools (pens, notepads, various office items) needed for their position.
2. Be sure their computer is set up with the software they need for their position. This also includes making sure their office email is set and working.
3. Confirm that their phone is set to their personal extension and they have a phone list of all other employees, and if possible, include the employee titles and departments.
4. A gift card for a small amount (enough to cover a cup of specialty coffee). Avoid providing food items due to the possibility of food allergies or other dietary issues. Any other fun items like company hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. should also be part of the welcome kit.
5. Provide a folder containing the essentials of the company’s culture and environment:
- the employee handbook
- mission statement
- vision statement
- pay and holiday calendar
- a map of the office space including emergency exits, break rooms, and bathrooms
- a list of nearby restaurants for lunch in case they are not from the area
6. Most importantly, the folder should also include the following:
- the goals of the company so that the employee has a sense of their place in the big picture and how their work supports that goal
- the job description of the position they were hired for
- written expectations of the employee’s immediate supervisor for the first 30, 60, and 90 days
Some of these suggestions are designed to make the employee feel like their arrival is important to the company (1-4). Others (5 & 6) are designed to set the employee up for success and avoid miscommunication by spelling out expectations in writing.
All of the items which are printed should be professionally created and remain consistent from employee to employee. This encourages pride in being part of a larger team, which is what a new employee wants to feel and which promotes teamwork that will be a win/win for everyone.