Do you remember your first day of work? Entering an unfamiliar environment where everyone is a new acquaintance and the hallways seem like a maze impossible to navigate. Your emotions swing between nervousness, apprehension, a desire to impress, uncertainty and confidence that fluctuates from high to low repeatedly. With heightened anxiety comes a hijacking of your emotions and this can cause your mind to go blank. You may even feel like a fraud! Your goal, get through your first day safely without making a fool of yourself.
Yep, we’ve all been there, but some of us were fortunate enough to have a great employer and colleagues that made the journey through those first few months a lot smoother.
Experiencing new job jitters firsthand you would know there is an adjustment period as one gets to know their new workplace, the people and the culture. Some adapt more readily than others, but regardless, there are a number of strategies that can be employed to accelerate the assimilation for new employees. Do you remember how you were made to feel more welcome? Some approaches are simpler than others, and some simple methods have a huge impact in making a new employee feel welcomed and part of the team. Let’s explore a few…
Onboarding a new employee begins with orientating them to the workplace. This may include a site tour and the undertaking of a variety of short induction courses in such areas as OH&S, governance, IT or employee benefits. Imparting knowledge of the company and its policies and procedures answers questions the new recruit may not think to ask immediately, and exposes them to all aspects of operations, expelling incorrect assumptions and seeing the company’s philosophy embraced sooner rather than later. If you have successfully developed a culture where all existing employees stop to introduce themselves to a new recruit, I guarantee you that the simple introduction will go a very long way with helping the new recruit feel at ease. It’s as easy as saying, “Hello, I’m Jack. I work in accounts, so if you ever need anything that I can help you with, you can find me just down the corridor on the left.”
A strong mentoring program can help a new hire adjust more quickly too. A designated go-to person can answer questions, alleviate concerns, and provide a historical understanding of the company and its methods. Having the knowledge and ease of access to a dominant source of information provides comfort to the new recruit, allowing for the combatting of new job jitters more quickly.
Social collaboration can be sped up by encouraging a new employee to join the social club, company sports team, Friday night drinks or volunteer programs. Engaging in these types of activities can not only forge bonds and build collaborative relationships between workers, but help one to understand more quickly the unwritten rules of conduct that all organisations have. You know what I’m talking about…it’s okay to tell your mentor that you think the client you just met with is full of hot air, but don’t say that to the boss because that client is the boss’ cousin! Yes, the workplace grapevine, the superhighway of untold ‘facts’ and innuendo, the informal undercurrent of information you won’t find written in any manual is usually shared in hushed tones while partaking in the company fundraising event. So get on board, it may just save your job!
Asking a new recruit for feedback on their induction can also highlight what an employer is doing right and what they can do better. Circle back after the first week and month and see the company through your new employee’s eyes. It is said that a new hire will make up their mind within their first year as to whether or not they will stay with that employer. Yet no matter how you approach integrating a new recruit to the organisation there is no question, first impressions count!
Recently a friend of mine received a beautiful bouquet of flowers, delivered to her home with a welcome note. She is due to start her new role next week, but already she is feeling very much an important member of the team. It was a simple gesture with a lasting impact. Does she think she has made the right choice in joining this workplace? Yes.