Manager, Day 1: You’ve been short staffed for weeks and your new employee starts this morning. You need them to hit the ground running.
New Employee, Day 1: Need to find the nearest supply room, restroom, and fridge to store a lunch bag. Computer is still in the box. Desk chair was the department hand-me-down that is permanently stuck on floor level.
Manager, Day 2: You’re waiting for the new employee to answer your email about the rush-job project for the vice president.
New Employee, Day 2: Still waiting for IT to come and set up the computer, but just found out you need an email address to put in an IT work order. Must 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 dreadful for everyone involved, but it really doesn’t have to be. It’s a lot of work to hire a new employee, but it doesn’t end when they sign the offer letter. That’s really when the important stuff begins.
What can you do to make new employees feel welcome and be productive from Day One?
- Create email accounts and purchase logins for all subscription accounts as soon as the ink is dry on the offer letter acceptance. The larger the organization, the more time this takes, so get going on that right away.
- Buy, set up, and test all computer hardware before your new hire walks in the door.
- Assign a willing and cheerful colleague to show your new hire where all of the conveniences are and to be a buddy throughout their first week.
- Make an effort to welcome the new hire on a personal level, whether it’s a card, a bunch of tulips, or a hand-made sign. A small thing can be a big deal. (I still remember a card that a kind boss gave me a very long time ago. It set the tone immediately about her as a person and about the kind of manager she was going to be.)
- 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 colleagues.
- 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 – as soon as you can.
What advice do you have to help managers welcome new employees? What has helped you get acclimated to a new job?