New Employees – 3 Ways to Begin Right

Eric StutzmanLeadership0 Comments

We started a new employee this past week, and it got me thinking about what’s important for that crucial first week. There are so many ways to get off on the wrong foot, but here are three things we can all do to make that impressionable employee’s first week go well.

  1. Plan your new hire’s first day and week in advance.
  2. Orient your hire to the organization and to its people.
  3. Give your hire meaningful tasks.

I asked our new hire, Lori, what she appreciated in her first week and included some of her thoughts below.

Plan the First Day and Week

As we all know, first impressions matter!  What do you want your new employee to be impressed by when she walks in the door that first morning?

We wanted our new hire to be welcomed warmly and made to feel comfortable – so we:

  • greeted her at the door,
  • welcomed her to her new space, and
  • had an afternoon snack break with the team for some informal introductions.

Lori mentioned that each of these things were important to her. She also said that when we contacted her ahead of time and asked what kind of office chair she wanted it made her feel appreciated.  And she loved it when someone asked her what kind of snack she would prefer at the afternoon break.

Orient Someone to the Organization and to its People

We wanted our new hire to connect to us as an organization and who we are as people.  So we:

  • had a focused conversation about our mission and vision, and
  • asked Lori to connect with each person on the team individually over the first week in order to learn about their job and how what they do connects to what she does.

Lori says being asked to connect with each person has been very valuable.

Give Your Hire Meaningful Tasks

We all want to feel that what we are doing matters, even in our first week.  So we:

  • prepared an agenda for her first day that included both meetings and time at her desk to work on tasks that relate to her new responsibilities,
  • prepared learning objectives for her first week and month, and
  • gave her a list of things to read for her bigger picture orientation.

Lori says that having a list was very helpful to ground her in what to expect and do.  She loves that we gave her freedom to direct her own learning and access to people to check in with as she needs.

The first week is hardest for the new person. Start off right by planning in advance, focusing on orienting and connecting the new hire, and giving them something meaningful to do.

What else would you add to this list for starting off right? I would love to hear your comments.

Eric Stutzman, Managing Director
ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership & Workplace Performance

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