Many of us know what it feels like to be the new kid at school. Uprooted from familiar surroundings, maybe leaving friends behind, we are dropped behind enemy lines in a hostile environment. Okay, maybe the depiction is a little melodramatic, but being a new hire, even as a mature adult, is not too different from that first day at a new school.
Here are six ways that HR departments and other personnel can help an “outsider” become an “insider” as quickly as possible. These steps not only make the new person more comfortable, but they also help him or her to get up to speed more quickly.
Bring them in for a grand tour and a meet-and-greet. At some point before the new-hire’s first day of work, bring him or her into the office for an initial tour. Schedule enough time for the new-hire to meet people in relevant departments and help him or her to explore your company space. Give your new-hire a map of essential areas, personnel, and a list of contacts, along with department information and titles to aid the transition.
Ask coworkers to help out. Everyone was new once. Sometimes, showing others the ropes is a good way for us to find renewed interest in what we do. If possible, institute an official “office buddy” or mentoring program to kill two birds with one stone. This program will help the new-hire to settle in while also helping you to develop leadership skills in employees with potential.
Set up times to check progress. Set up a schedule of times that you, a supervisor, or a coworker will be checking in with your new employee. This provides a framework for work interruptions without making new-hires feel like they are being micromanaged. Give each new employee someone to reach out to between these meeting times as well to prevent problems from arising.
Encourage socialization. This is best done in person. Provide break times and space for games or conversations. It is also good to encourage employee social interaction outside of the office. The more cohesively a team can grow together, the easier communication and problem-solving become. Another option is to use a proprietary online social network for your company. This gives the new hire a place to get acquainted with other workers in a more relaxed environment.
Ask them to follow you online. If your company has a solid content-marketing strategy, you probably have company blogs and social-media presences that are updated regularly. These can act as an excellent source for company information and events. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts also provide platforms for sharing information as well as encouraging interaction.
Encourage interdepartmental “mingling.” In addition to the people that the new-hire works with directly, it is good to expose him or her to others inside the company. A person who finds friends that he or she can relate to is more likely to integrate into your company culture and to serve as a valuable team player. Additionally, encourage existing employees from all departments to meet and to welcome new personnel. This will also give them a chance to keep their social circles more fluid and to prevent the formation of cliques.