Employees join an organization but they leave a supervisor.
Supervisors have a tremendous impact on employee job satisfaction and productivity, setting the tone and creating and maintaining the everyday workplace climate. They also have the power to recognize and reward, as well as provide feedback and opportunities for learning and development that most employees are seeking.
Whatever supervisors can do to welcome, orient, and engage employees supports corporate-wide recruitment, retention, and ROI. As a boss you should do whatever you can do to energize and excite employees from day one.
Specific Things Managers Can Do to Promote Employee Success & Engagement
- Participate and support any programs or initiatives that orient, assimilate, and integrate new hires into the organization, team, and corporate culture. Recognize that these activities set the stage for how an employee will fit into the whole and connect with co-workers and team members – as well as be committed to the company and their job.
- Help implement a New Hire Buddy Program to welcome and connect current staff with new employees. A Buddy can help a new hire become comfortably acclimated to the organization. This can include taking the lead in socially and informally supporting a new hire one-on-one; serving as a positive presence and go-to person; being a friendly resource for answering ‘dumb questions;’ and facilitating introductions to staff members in other parts of the organization beyond the immediate team.
- Provide a list of corporate resources, e.g. HR business partners, IT support techs.
- Provide corporate maps, particularly if there is a large campus or multiple facilities. Offer a pocket-sized info card with important locations and phone numbers, e.g. the gym, lunchroom, safety/security office, etc.
- Be ready: this means having an identified workplace/work station (including chair!), voicemail, email account, logins for inter- and intra-nets, manuals, handbooks, etc. Be sure to not only create but stock the work space with everything your employee might need, as well as the nice-to-haves, e.g. company t-shirt or mug.
- Help facilitate any HR requirements, forms, etc. that need to be taken care of.
- Meet one-on-one with your new employee as soon as you can; if possible schedule regular meetings that meet both your needs.
- Be clear and consistent in your expectations, goals, objectives, roles, responsibilities; be sure to articulate how the individual contributes to the whole.
- Prepare an agenda/schedule for the first week on the job, including meetings with key staff and team members.
- Provide (or arrange for) a tour of the facility, including the copy room, employee mailboxes, kitchen, and washroom.
- Arrange for lunch with the team on the first day or as soon thereafter as possible.
- Understand that “on-boarding” goes beyond the first day and the first week. Provide opportunities for feedback on both sides.
- Introduce the employee to others beyond the immediate team or unit.
- Be clear about company policies, procedures, and culture, e.g. dress code.
- Do what you can that is practical and feasible to make the first day special.
- Once the employee has settled in, ask for feedback from your new employee, HR, and other members of the team on how the process went. Identify examples of what went well and what didn’t, and seek input on what should be done differently or improved upon for next time.
The new employee is responsible for being present, for being an active listener and voice in conversations, meetings, and introductions, and for asking questions to help clarify expectations and responsibilities. You are on a new learning curve and need to participate and contribute.
I believe this process of welcome, introduction, and connection to a new organization is appropriate (and the right thing to do) for any employee at any level of the organization.
Finally, as a boss you will never have another chance to make a (good) first impression; implicitly, if not explicitly, your job is to demonstrate to and reassure your new hire that s/he made the right decision in joining your company.
About the Author
Mallary Tytel is president of Healthy Workplaces, a national consulting practice that focuses on coaching, training, facilitating, planning and developing leaders for public and private sector organizations. She’s the former CEO of an international nonprofit; a certified coach and mediator; and author of three books. Most recently she co-founded the Simple Rules Foundation and serves as its volunteer Chairman and CEO.