Welcoming New Hires: Tips for Creating the Perfect Environment
November 5, 2018
As a team leader, you should be concerned with two things in terms of onboarding new employees: first, making them feel welcome and included, and second, getting them to respect boundaries enough to be productive.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your employees is to start them out on the right foot. I once had a gym coach who, on our first meeting, yelled at everyone who was late or even “almost late.” He then caused a big scene whenever someone disrupted his instruction.
The second day no one was late. We were quiet and attentive. We received a smile and a doughnut. Coach Meathead’s tactic was intimidation. It gained him respect and all he had to do was terrify and humiliate us, grown adults.
Fortunately, there’s more than one way to gain respect.
Before you start screaming the socks off your new hires, realize that your role is not the same as a coach’s. Despite the basic similarities, you shouldn’t be raising your voice at anyone. Your role as a supervisor, manager, owner, etc. is to mentor, set expectations, enforce, monitor, and direct. New hires need shaping.
A crucial aspect of the onboarding process is to set and communicate goals and expectations while also promoting an amazing environment. It’s just like how teachers set learning goals and success criteria.
You need to give your employees standards to achieve and the tools to achieve them. Create a plan or employee onboarding checklist that details what the employee will be learning, how experienced staff handle tasks, and how they’re expected to develop over time.
Type it. Print it. Laminate it. Make it look official so it shows structure, and it will be taken seriously.
If a new hire is repeating the same mistake, or is learning rather slowly, approach your direction another way. We all have to learn somehow
Since you’re not a gym coach, scare tactics are not advisable, as there are many ways to earn respect. Besides, respect is already assumed if you’re hiring or training. You may need to issue some reminders, but so it goes.
Everyone learns differently. If a new hire is repeating the same mistake, or is learning rather slowly, approach your direction another way. We all have to learn somehow.
A teacher once told me, “Don’t come to me with your problems; come to me with your solutions.” Direct this to your new hires. But be clear that you don’t want to limit communication.
If an employee needs help, they should feel comfortable asking for it. But you ought to encourage proactivity and problem solving mindsets early on, before your new staff gets too comfortable relying on others. This is assuming the worst, but it’s a good expectation to set.
Introducing Your Culture
Don’t overdo it.
Fitting into an awesome work environment can be super overwhelming. Try to treat new hires no different from others at your business (more or less). Include them as if they helped to build the environment themselves.
Additionally, a fun work culture can be taken advantage of. If a new hire starts off thinking there are no repercussions for inappropriate behavior, tardiness, or effortlessness, they’re likely to repeat offenses. Like the gym coach, you should promote a certain attitude within your workplace.
This doesn’t have to take away from culture. After all, culture is encompassing of everyone in your business. Authority is necessary but should come from specific supervisory individuals. You can create a great environment without expressing leniency.
A fun work culture can be taken advantage of. If a new hire starts off thinking there are no repercussions for inappropriate behavior, tardiness, or effortlessness, they’re likely to repeat offenses
And really, your culture is brilliant and it’s obvious. It probably drew your new hires to apply in the first place. That said, it speaks for itself. You can introduce and praise the environment your team works to maintain without stressing it too much. Once that employee is welcomed, introduced, and situated, they will integrate.
If your company is using online communications, it’s probably best to set them up with an account right away. This way, the new hire can learn names, understand jokes, and reach out for help without feeling too much pressure.
To get your new hires comfortable in the workplace, get them familiar with departments, the people, and the tasks they’re expected to perform. An effective way to integrate new hires into your team is to familiarize them with tasks. Practice makes perfect. Or at least it prevents downtime.
Next to tasks, new hires need to be made familiar with their coworkers and supervisors. An employee should feel comfortable asking for assistance and should know who to ask. Training is very important. It’s good to pair a new hire with a specific trainer for sake of familiarity, trust, comfort, and accountability.
A good leader will get new employees on the right track, make them feel valued, and keep them busy. The onboarding process can be expected to overwhelm new hires who are about to encounter a ton of new information. Get them situated with company policy, procedures, and give them opportunities to form relationships. Your culture relies on its people, and relationships make a world of difference in the workplace.
Get them situated with company policy, procedures, and give them opportunities to form relationships. Your culture relies on its people, and relationships make a world of difference in the workplace.
Lastly, when onboarding new employees, it’s important to have them reflect on both their performance and yours. Ask for feedback about the work environment. Discuss strengths and areas for improvement.
Even if it feels a bit too early to be making judgment calls, it’s good to have new employees feel heard and it allows you and your training staff to address any obvious issues immediately.