You’re the New Employee and it’s Day 1 of your tenure: You need to find some pens and other supplies, the restroom, and a fridge to store the lunch you brought. Your brand-new computer is still in the box on your desk. Someone else in the department grabbed the chair that was meant for you so now you’ve got the hand-me-down chair that is elevationally and/or directionally challenged.
Manager, Day 2: You’re waiting impatiently for the new employee to answer your email about the rush-job assignment you sent late yesterday.
New Employee, Day 2: You’re still waiting for IT to come and set up the computer. You just learned in passing that you need an email address to put in an IT work order. But you have to attend a benefits seminar before HR will provide you with an email address. The next benefits session is next week.
Does some version of this sound familiar?
The first week of work is usually stressful for everyone involved, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a lot of work to hire a new employee, but the work doesn’t end when they sign the offer letter. That’s actually when the important stuff begins.
What you can do to make new employees feel welcome and be productive from Day 1
Create a training schedule / orientation calendar for the new hire and be sure a copy of it is on their desk when they start. You may want to consider emailing them a copy before they start so they are prepared in advance.
Create email accounts and buy subscriptions for all fee-based accounts as soon as you know they’ve accepted. The larger the organization, the more time this can take, so get going on that right away.
Buy, set up, and test all computer hardware before your new hire walks in the door. Set up their work area with pens/pencils, stapler, tape, phone, etc.
Assign a willing and cheerful colleague to be a buddy throughout their first couple of weeks. Their job will be to show the new hire where all of the conveniences are and to be a resource on how things are (really) done.
As a team, welcome your new hire on a personal level, whether it’s a card everyone signs, a bunch of tulips, or a hand-made sign. A small, kind gesture can be a big deal and it sets a tone immediately about the kind of team (or boss) you are.
Arrange for a group lunch on the new employee’s first day. If your team is large, break it up into two or more manageable gatherings so the person can actually get to know their new colleagues. Be sure to set up lunches or coffees with people outside of their primary group with whom they’ll be working most frequently.
Provide the new person with a here’s-how-we-get-things-done manual. It doesn’t need to be extensive, but if there are expectations that ‘everyone’ knows and abides by, you’ll want the new person to be aware of them right away. Be sure to include an org chart!
Arrange for training on your organization’s donor database(s) and anything else the new person will be using daily – and do it as soon as you can.
What did I miss? What advice do you have to help managers welcome new employees? What has helped you get acclimated to a new job?