New jobs can be intimidating.
We’ve all experienced those first day jitters; wanting to prove you’re the right person for the job, impress your new co-workers, maybe even make a few friends! Coming into a job full of hope and eagerness is great – unless your new employer deflates your hopeful glee within the first week.
New employees are evaluating you and your company just as you are evaluating their performance, and the unfortunate truth is that employer alienation is one of the top causes for employee turnover. Not only is this expensive, but in a market with increasingly more open jobs and less available talent, you may soon find your company understaffed if you don’t put some thought into including and welcoming your new hires.
Here are some common mistakes, and how to avoid them.
1. You Weren’t Ready For Them
Most employees worth keeping around spend a fair amount of time and energy getting ready for day one on the job. How do you think someone who’s wearing their freshly ironed suit, best shoes, and brightest smile feels when welcomed with the equivalent of, “Oh, you start today?”
Not having a new employee’s workspace ready when they arrive sends the immediate message that you don’t care about them or the time they’re devoting to you. They’ll feel like a burden right off the bat if they have to ask for help as soon as they arrive, it slows all that first-day momentum having your new hire stand around awkwardly while IT sets up their computer and clears their filing cabinet of the last guy’s forgotten soy sauce packets.
Start on the right foot by greeting your new hire with a handshake and a desk stocked with the essentials. It’ll let them know you’re as excited to start working together as they are, and facilitate a smooth transition into day one training.
2. You Didn’t Create a Training Plan
You hired them because they already know what they’re doing, right? Wrong. Sure you hired a smart, capable, forward thinking employee – but at this point they probably don’t even know where the bathroom is yet. Before an employee can hit the ground running, they need to know your processes, company goals, internal shorthand, and the answers to all the questions they may not even think to ask as a newcomer.
While your company’s specific training plans may vary greatly from role to role, there are a few guidelines you can use for any new hire’s initiation.
- Assign a go-to person for all questions
- Create an organized plan that builds on learned information as it progresses
- Share this plan with new hires to follow as a manual
- Facilitate short sessions with liaisons from each department
- Connect their role to overall company goals
- Have tasks ready as soon as they have a solid understanding of processes.
- Follow up with short sessions throughout their first month to ensure understanding, give potential praise where it is due, and let them know you’re invested in their success.
3. You Barely Acknowledged Them – Until They Made a Mistake
As a busy employer, you might feel check-ins are only really worth your time if something is going wrong. Even if you’re happy with their performance, your new employees may not know that no news is good news when they’re not familiar with your company or the expectations for their role.
Without periodic check-ins or praise for good work, the criticism you offer for purposes of improvement might feel more like an unfair reprimands. This cycle can make your employees unsure, defensive, and resentful. Maintaining a healthy company culture with regular feedback will not only make your employees feel better, it will help them do better work for you.
4. You Made Them Feel Expendable
Even if most roles at your company are not outwardly strategic, every employee should be made aware of your business’s overall goals. Keeping the whole company informed about your general direction and objectives will unify all your teams and give them a better understanding of what they’re working toward. Most importantly, your employees will be more inclined and motivated if they can see how their role is helping move the company forward. No one wants to feel like another replaceable cog in a machine. If you’ve hired the right people, you’re likely to even find some innovation among your team by sharing those goals.
Ultimately, your goal when ushering in a new hire should be to set them up for success. Give them the tools and resources they need to perform and excel. Any new hire that has to ask for things like a workspace or feedback are going to feel more like a burden than a member of the team. Follow these tips to make sure you’re not alienating your new hires, and are creating a productive team from day one.