Remember the last time you started a new job? Did you feel supported, encouraged and excited? Or did you feel lost, confused and uncertain about your future at the new company?
If you felt positive about your new job, chances are good your employer had a well-executed plan to make new employees feel welcome and help them become productive sooner. Such efforts are important in not only retaining new employees but also increasing engagement and reducing turnover.
There are plenty of strategies for creating successful programs. But as someone who just started a new job, I picked out a few of my favorite ideas and best practices.
Be prepared. First impressions count, and little things make a big difference. Set up a new employee’s work space with the proper tools so it’s ready on the first day. Ordering business cards, stationery and a nameplate will make a new employee feel welcome and ready to settle into a new space. Provide a telephone list, employee directory and organizational chart to help the employee become familiar with the company and its team.
Strive to connect new employees with company values and culture. Make sure new employees know about special events and activities that reflect the culture of the company. Provide information about the company mission and vision and speak to them about the importance of embracing company culture. It will be a lot easier for a new employee to buy into the mission if you’re enthusiastic and sincere when you talk about it.
Create a buddy program and ensure introductions are made. Assign new employees to buddies who can answer informal questions and introduce new employees to other staff and human resource representatives. Ensure buddies are seasoned and trusted employees who’ll uphold the integrity of the program. The new employee should also be introduced to senior leaders at the company. Meeting with senior leaders and hearing from them the new employee is valued will make a big difference.
Schedule check-ins. Schedule weekly informal check-ins with new employees. This designates time for employees to ask questions and also provides both the employee and supervisor valuable time to get to know each other and build a good relationship. Weekly check-ins are a good idea for all employees, but especially new employees learning the ropes. It can take months for new employees to adjust.
Track return on investment and ask for feedback. Measuring the success of your efforts can help identify areas of improvement. Track employee retention, development costs, attrition statistics and employee engagement levels. Asking new employees for feedback is also helpful. Simply asking new employees about their experiences or conducting anonymous surveys will improve your program.
Keep in mind that efforts to help new employees look different for every organization. No one size fits all.
Nonetheless, every program should include components that make new employees feel welcome and reduce the time it takes for them to become productive contributors to the team. Evaluate your program periodically and make necessary changes to ensure efforts continue to serve this purpose.