Your new team member’s first experiences at your organisation can have a dramatic impact on their work over the following weeks. Feeling settled in your environment will always have a positive impact on your productivity and the standard of your work. Making the effort to ensure that your new starter feels welcomed and comfortable will subsequently allow them to settle in quickly and get to work. If they feel on edge and nervous, their standard and volume of work will be affected and you could quickly lose them.
This article will discuss steps that you can take to ensure that your new team member immediately feels happy that they made the right choice in joining your organisation.
In the first draft of this piece I found referring to a ‘new starter/employee/team member’ repeatedly rather monotonous, I have therefore decided to name this hypothetical person ‘Chloe’. Please note that Chloe is a work of fiction and any similarities to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Alternatively, if you have recently employed someone named Chloe and are preparing for her to start then this is aimed directly at you.
Before she starts
In between Chloe accepting the job offer and her first day, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that she is excited and prepared before starting. This is important as it can go a long way to placating her nerves and encourage optimism rather than trepidation.
It is likely that Chloe will have to complete a notice period at her current position; this could be anything from a week or 2 to 3 months. However long it may be, make an effort to maintain contact during this time. This will go a long way to re-assuring her that you are looking forward to her arrival. Communication doesn’t have to be particularly profound or detailed but simply a way in which to stay in touch, this will also make her more comfortable in coming to you with any questions or problems.
You can also take this opportunity to send Chloe any material you feel might help her prepare for the work she will be doing. This could include reading material such as company documents or articles or any research that she could carry out. This can help Chloe get in the right frame of mind to enter your organisation and her position.
Connect with Chloe on LinkedIn and encourage others in your organisation to do the same. What may seem like a small gesture will serve to familiarise her with the faces of your organisation, give her a bit of background information on her new colleagues and feel part of the organisation.
Organising an opportunity for Chloe to meet the team she will be working with can help to quickly integrate her. Do this in an informal setting, a bar or café, and allow everyone to introduce themselves and get to know each other. This can go a long way to ensuring that Chloe will feel immediately comfortable in her team on the first day.
Her first day
On Chloe’s first day, it’s important that things are well planned and ready for her. This will have a big impact on her first impression of your organisation. Remember that she has been looking forward to this and so it’s important that she isn’t disappointed to discover that you haven’t been looking forward to her arrival and prepared accordingly.
Simple things such as making sure that her desk (if she has one) is prepared, anything that she might need provided and her day is planned.
On her 1st day Chloe should receive:
• Contract of employment
• Job description
• Induction materials (employee handbook etc)
• Itinerary for week 1
It is also important that you ensure that she completes all necessary paperwork so that she can be sure that everything is official and that she will be paid.
Ensure that she has an opportunity to ask any questions that she might have, this will put her at ease and get her ready to get to work.
Her first week
Chloe’s first week should be spent ensuring that she knows everything she needs to know about the organisation, your goals and ambitions and the role that she will play in achieving them. It is important to be clear about what is expected of her, any targets she may have and the resources that are available to her.
Organise briefing sessions with members of other teams, this will help her gain a true understanding of the different components of the organisation and how it all fits together.
In terms of your expectations of her and her targets, lay these out early in the week, give her some time to digest them and get familiar with her workspace and surroundings and then set a meeting later in the week to discuss them. This will give Chloe an opportunity to gain a proper idea of the challenges she faces, how she might go about approaching these challenges and what help she feels she may need.
This meeting should also be an opportunity to answer any further questions she might have. At the end of this there should be complete clarity and you should be confident that she’s able to make a real start with her work.
Taking the time to make this preparation and putting sufficient effort into Chloe’s first week can make all the difference. Happy employees are significantly more productive and starting Chloe off as you hope she will go on will make a big difference. Before you know it, Chloe will be a high-performing, valued member of your team.