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Hiring a new employee can be an arduous HR process. You have to write an excellent job description, sift through scores of resumes, conduct interviews, make an offer, and then iron out the details. If you’ve gotten to this point, it can be tempting to kick back and congratulate yourself on a job well done. But the truth is, hiring a new employee is only the first step in growing your business: Now you need to figure out how to welcome a new employee.
This is often a much harder step than hiring, but it is an important step. Changing jobs is one of the greatest stressors in life, so learning how to welcome a new employee can go a long way in terms of retention and success. As they say, you only get one shot at a first impression.
So let’s learn about some strategies you can use to successfully integrate a new employee into your business and prepare them for long-term success within your company.
When asking yourself how to welcome a new employee, the goal should be to set expectations for them while also helping them feel comfortable within their new organization. To accomplish these goals, do the following:
Although it’s easy to think of the first day as the official start of an employee’s tenure with your company, there is actually a lot you can do before they ever set foot in the office to make sure your new employee feels welcome. For starters, send a welcome announcement to the rest of the company once the hire is confirmed, informing them of their new colleague. Be sure to include the new hire’s name, title, team they’ll be working on, and maybe some personal information (hometown, favorite hobby etc.).
Also have the new hire’s manager contact them directly via phone or email to express their excitement that the new hire has joined their team. You can even invite fellow coworkers to reach out and congratulate the new hire on accepting their offer.
Next you’ll want to prepare your new hire’s physical and virtual workspace. This means setting them up with all the materials they’ll need to do their job, such as a laptop, email address, phone, notepad, and passwords. At Fundera, we decorate a new hire’s desk with letters from fellow employees to make them feel especially welcome.
Finally, you’ll want to arrange your new hire’s schedule and send it to them so they know exactly what their first day and week will look like. This can go a long way in reducing anxiety and helping your new hire prepare mentally for their new job. The schedule should include time blocked off for onboarding and training, and time for meet-and-greets with coworkers and maybe an activity or two (happy hour, lunch).
“You shouldn’t expect an employee to know who they need to meet with during their first few weeks,” says Alisa Krasner, Fundera’s VP of People. “That’s why we preset all of our new hires’ meetings for them so they can get integrated into the company as seamlessly as possible.”
The formalities of hiring a new employee should be dispensed with as quickly as possible, as these things only take away from the excitement of the first day. If possible, try sending new hire paperwork like an I-9 and W-2 or 1099 ahead of time and give the employee the option to fill out these forms electronically. You should also try to send along benefits information and the employee handbook beforehand so that the new employee can review these items at their leisure. Other important pieces of company information (such as an organizational chart) should be shared with the employee electronically before their first day if applicable. All of these actions can go a long way toward establishing trust with your new employee.
Preemptive measures are good, but nothing matches how you make an employee feel when they first step into your office. To make sure their first day goes off without a hitch, send them an email ahead of time with directions on how to get to your office, as well as when they should aim to arrive, and the dress code. When they do show up, make sure you or a colleague is there to meet them at the entrance and show them into the office. It may also be a good idea to provide them with a little first day gift, such as a company t-shirt or mug.
“On a new hire’s first day we email them a one-sheeter with everything they would need to know,” Krasner says. “This includes where to find things they need, how to gain access to different parts of our system, and where to find the tools they need to do their job.”
On their first day, and throughout their first couple of weeks, the new hire should receive an orientation into the business. The first orientation should be a general company overview. The company overview should be a high-level look at the business, including the following topics:
After the initial orientation, give the new hire a tour of the office. Be sure to inform them of important details like the location of the bathroom, the rules of the office kitchen (if applicable), how to book conference rooms (if applicable), the Wifi password, and other essential workplace facts. If they work in the field, make sure they know what tools and equipment they need to take with them, where to get them, and what the check in or out process is. This may also be a good time to discuss when it is okay for employees to take breaks, and when it is appropriate for them to arrive or leave the office.
No one works in a vacuum. Most of the time, each person’s task touches every other person’s task in some way. Make sure your new hire meets all the people on the team. Teach how they all interact with each other. Maybe even arrange for a shadowing session or two. If there’s a pecking order, make it clear. Explain the chain of command and how it affects this new position. Most of all, make the new hire feel welcome to the team. Make sure your existing employees know who they are and what their role will be.
Nothing threatens your existing employees more than a new person showing up with no forewarning or explanation. Don’t make your new hire the object of derision because the old team feels uncomfortable. Explain to everyone what they are going to do and how it affects the entire unit.
Another important technique that will make your new hire more comfortable is to give them a work buddy. This is someone who you feel could get along well with the new hire and serve as their guide and confidant throughout their time at the company. Typically, this is someone at a similar level in terms of seniority who works in a different role than your new hire. This person can talk to them about what it’s like to work at your company, and help them with any questions or concerns that may arise.
Note that if you, the business owner, aren’t onboarding the new hire directly, you should also make time to meet with them 1:1 to establish a working relationship.
The last step in welcoming a new employee into your organization is creating a 30/60/90 plan for them. A 30/60/90 plan details where the company expects you to be in terms of your understanding of your role and the work you are doing after 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days at the company. The first 30 days are mostly about understanding the business and training, while after 60 days you may have the employee begin delivering on their goals. Within 90 days, the expectation is that they be fully onboarded and ready to perform their job at full capacity.
A 30/60/90 plan sets clear expectations for what is expected of a new hire, and provides them with a roadmap on how to get there. The 30/60/90 plan should be created by the new hire’s manager. Latner says onboarding fails when a role is different from what the new hire expects it to be. A 30/60/90 plan will ensure there are no surprises.
When considering how to welcome a new employee, one of the most important things to remember is that preparation is key. Putting time and thought into how to welcome a new employee will ensure a seamless introduction to your business. Think about how you’d want to be treated during your first day on the job, and go from there.
Overall, a new hire’s first day should be something of a celebration. You hired this new person because you need him or her, right? You’re glad they’re here. The team is glad they’re here because it’s going to help them do a better job as well. Celebrate that! You don’t have to decorate with balloons and streamers, but a dozen donuts couldn’t hurt. Take them to lunch, or ask a couple of team members to invite them out. The sooner you build that new bond on the team, the sooner the work gets easier. That’s how to welcome a new employee.
You did all the right things during the hiring process. Make sure your selection becomes a permanent fixture from day one by giving them a proper introduction.