Tips for welcoming your new employees

Finding the right employees is stressful. The hiring process is not easy or much fun for anyone involved. Now that you’ve found the right employees, you want to make sure that they are happy and set up for success. If an employee feels appreciated, then they are more likely to do more than what is expected. The first step is to make your employees feel welcome by preparing for their arrival with these nine tips.

Schedule a pre-start date happy hour

If you have a group starting on or around the same time, consider hosting a happy hour for these new employees. The first day for new hires is usually pretty awkward, but by hosting an event where people can relax and be themselves, it makes the first day a little easier. If you don’t like the idea of providing drinks for your employees, you can host a bowling or miniature golf night instead.

Employees will feel valued as people and will foster relationships outside of the office if they have a chance to meet and let loose a bit before getting to the office on the first day. Make sure it’s relaxed and don’t make it mandatory. You may also want to have some current employees or management there, so the new hires are able to chat outside the stuffy office setting.

Send a hand-written note

Write your new employees a note to give to them on their first day. Although an email would suffice too, a handwritten note shows you took the extra time to address each new employee individually. It doesn’t have to be long to be impactful, but just a note saying you’re glad they are joining the team and you’re looking forward to the addition. It lets the new employee know you’re approachable and you’re willing to take the time to recognize each new employee.

Be prepared for their arrival

A new employee is likely nervous on their first day and they don’t want to seem like a burden. Make sure you are ready for new employees to arrive. There is nothing worse than a new hire getting to their first day and then sitting around because no one is prepared to help them. Make sure the people who are showing them around are aware of their roles, and it’s not haphazardly done that morning. Have a schedule for each employee so they know what to expect throughout the day.

Make sure the work area or office space is ready for the new hire’s arrival. If it can’t be prepared, then at least have a makeshift area for your new hires to put their stuff. A new hire doesn’t want to sit in the break room on their laptop because they don’t have a designated area yet. Do your best to have their space ready before they arrive so they feel welcome and at home with their own work area on their first day.

Give away company swag

Hopefully your new employees are excited about working for your company and want to show it off. Give your new employees a goodie bag with company swag for their first day. It might include a bag with the company logo, shirts, hats, pens, or a computer case. You would be surprised how long an employee might keep their swag if it’s useful and good quality. As a bonus, it’s free advertising for your company as well.

Encourage employee mentoring

If you have the resources, an employee mentoring program is an excellent way to integrate new hires into the company. It also provides peer support for your staff to prevent small issues from turning into significant problems. You might be surprised how many of your older employees would enjoy the opportunity to mentor a new employee. You can offer incentives to your employees to become a mentor as well. Make sure human resources is involved before implementing a formal program.

Not all companies have the resources to offer a formal mentoring program. If it’s not possible, then encourage some of your management or long-standing employees to mentor the new employees informally. It doesn’t have to be anything time-consuming, but support a culture that is inclusive of all employees instead of pitting workers against each other. Your new hires should feel comfortable coming to you and their coworkers, which will help keep all employees on track and increase productivity.

Set clear expectations

Setting expectations from the first day may not seem like the best way to welcome new employees, but they will appreciate it. It’s difficult for new employees when they don’t know for sure what they are supposed to do or what the expectations are. Although human resources will outline work hours and vacation policy, discuss specific expectations in each department from the beginning.

Have your employees meet with their individual managers or peers on their first day to discuss the expectations of the smaller teams. Perhaps different departments allow work from home on a merit basis or allow employees to work through lunch to leave a little early. Maybe departments have strict policies that might be different for a new employee.

Make sure your new hires are on the same page as their peers about the expectations so they don’t make a mistake unintentionally or misunderstand the company culture.

Involve the new employees as early as possible

New employees want to feel useful and they probably want to show off just a bit too. Make sure your new employees can hit the ground running when they get to the office by having something for them to do. When everyone is busy, they don’t want to have to find busy work for your new hires to do. Make sure your new employees have actual work ready for them when they arrive.

If there is training involved, then make sure that training is well-organized. Don’t haphazardly throw together a training session just because you feel you have to. Some new jobs require training. If it’s the case, then have a training class ready to go so your new employees feel like they’re learning something instead of treading water until they can get into their real work.

Keep it positive

You want your employees to be engaged and hardworking, but that doesn’t mean you need to set a negative tone during their first days. You want your office environment to be positive, even if it’s a lot of hard work. Set a positive, friendly tone from the very start so the office is a place where your new employees won’t dread going.

Keeping it positive doesn’t mean going easy on your new hires. You want to set the right tone early by being serious about achieving goals and meeting expectations. If you start out too loose, employees might take that to mean you aren’t serious. Figure out a way to keep a positive tone, but don’t let your employees think the expectations for productivity aren’t high.

Be available in the early days

You and your management are going to be undoubtedly busy. If your company hires often, then it will probably feel like a burden to be available to new hires. It’s still an important aspect of your place as a leader. You don’t want to be a crutch for your employees, but you do need to be available.

If new employees feel like they can come to you with questions, they are less likely to make silly mistakes because they are too afraid to ask. Just by being approachable, your new hires will feel welcome and part of the team. They won’t guess when they shouldn’t because they know they can come and ask. If any particular employee starts to take advantage of your open door policy, it would be a good time to assign them a mentor.

It might seem like a lot of work just for people who should be happy they got offered a job. Finding replacements and hiring new people is time-consuming. Training new people is expensive. Once you’ve found the right people, you want to make sure they are happy from day one in their new job. They will work harder if they feel appreciated and there will be fewer errors if they know the expectations right from the start. By implementing a new hire welcome program you get to set the tone with your newest additions to the team.

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