Hiring new team members usually means that there is more than enough work for your current team to handle. Which means your team is busy. However, when bringing in new hires, it is important to make the time to bring them on board properly.
A team member’s first day can set the stage for their future in your workplace. It’s like meeting a person for the first time. A first impression sets the tone for a relationship and can have a big impact on the way it develops. Therefore, orientation is more about making a team member feel welcome and positive about the job rather than just providing key information such as lunch breaks and benefits.
Team members need to be given a broad, but clear, explanation of their role, the resources they have available, and the internal systems of the company. But be careful not to overwhelm them; this information should be presented in digestible quantities.
The first day of work is often filled with a mixture of excitement, curiosity, and anxiety (try think back to your first day at a new school). Nerves will likely limit the amount of information they can take in. At the same time, if they feel they are missing things, their anxiety will only heighten.
Here are some tips to help make a new team member’s orientation reassuring rather than intimidating:
- Have a workstation fully set up for them and have their passwords, keys, access cards, etc. ready to hand over
- Introduce them to your vision and mission
- Have some sort of meaningful work for them to do on their first day
- Pair them up with a mentor or positive team member who can answer any questions they may have
- Walk them around the office and introduce them to everyone else on your team
- Leave them alone in a room unless they have a specific task to keep them busy
- Assign them to a mentor who is overworked
- Give them a hefty handbook to wade through
- Make assumptions of what they might know
Research indicated that good orientation can lift team retention by 25%. Avoiding these pitfalls and concentrating on providing a positive introduction can set the tone for a long and productive work relationship and, ultimately, build momentum for your team.