A new employee starting is an exciting and highly anticipated time, especially if there has been a long recruitment process. Managers and current staff can look forward to the new starter bringing fresh ideas and solutions to the team.
Our busy jobs and workplaces can make it tempting to hold off preparations for the new starter until the first day of work, however there are some quick and easy things that can be arranged before they step foot in the workplace to ensure they feel welcome and valued.
Simple things such ordering any new tools required and having these ready for their first day shows that the business is organised and was looking forward to the employee starting. Every new employee knows it’s important to make a good first impression, but this is just as important for businesses. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
People naturally feel nervous when starting a new job, but good preparation can assist with an employee’s smooth and stress-free transition into a new role and workplace.
Before the first day
It’s easy to think that nothing needs to be prepared in advance but there are a few things that can be organised to help the first day run efficiently.
Clean up the area
The employee’s desk or workstation should be clean and tidy. If the employee needs to wear a uniform, order it in advance so that it can be worn when they arrive on day one. Set up their desk with their computer and stock it with stationery that they will need. Make sure any tools or equipment are available at their workstation if appropriate.
Get IT sorted
Whoever is responsible for I.T. in the workplace should action the following items:
- Confirm what type of equipment the employee needs; a laptop or desktop computer and a phone;
- Set up workstation/desk with the computer, laptop and phone;
- Set up I.T. access;
Set up an email address and email signature.
Book induction and training
A well-structured induction and training program should be booked and confirmed before the employee starts. An effective program helps the new employee find their feet quicker and increases an understanding of how their role contributes to the overall business operation. It can also help with employee retention because it makes the new employee feel valued from the very beginning.
Send a “Welcome Pack”
Prior to the start date, send a “Welcome Pack” which includes the induction schedule and any payroll forms that need to be completed. This saves the employee time from completing these on the first day. Sending the induction schedule in advance will show the new staff member what to expect and can help to calm any nerves that they may be experiencing.
The Welcome Pack could also contain copies of any policies and procedures so that the employee can read and familiarise themselves with these before they start. This is particularly important if the business has a uniform or dress code, so that they don’t turn up wearing the wrong clothes.
Give them a buddy
Appointing an existing staff member to be the new person’s “buddy” on the first day can be helpful, so that they are not left on their own.
Current employees will be eager to hear news about their new team member, so it’s a great idea to announce that a new person has been hired and when they will start. This announcement could be an email, a memo on a notice board or in a staff meeting. The announcement could include a brief summary about the new employee’s skills and experience that they are bringing to the team.
Lastly, the manager should contact the new employee and confirm what time they should arrive on their first day.
On the first day
Meet and greet
The employee is probably feeling a mix of excitement and nerves. Because of this, managers should greet the new employee when they arrive at work on the first day and introduce them to the rest of the team.
All new employees should be inducted into the workplace. Depending on the business’ size and employee’s position, induction might be completed entirely on the first day or it could take weeks.
Induction involves getting the employee familiar with the business and their role and aims to help the employee adjust to their new position and work environment. Usually it includes introducing the new employee to key people in the business and the role they play. An effective induction program helps the new employee to hit the ground running sooner.
The induction program should contain appropriate workplace health and safety information and should be tailored to suit the needs of the position that the new employee has started in.
I.T. systems access and Any keys, security access codes or cards should be provided.
If a “buddy” has been appointed, they can show the new employee where to store their bags and other personal items, the location of lunchrooms and toilets, as well as a good café or popular place to buy lunch.
Let’s have lunch
Having morning tea or lunch as a team on the first day helps to break the ice. Nobody wants to eat lunch on their own generally, especially on their first day at a new workplace where they don’t know anyone.
Introducing our new employee
Finally, depending on the nature of the business and the employee’s position, the business may consider posting an announcement on their social media channels about the new starter and include a photo, with the employee’s permission. If the business does not have a social media profile, adding a photo of the new employee on the intranet/address book so that staff can introduce themselves is another option.
In the first week
The first week of a new job will fly by. In this week or perhaps for a longer period, have the new employee “shadow” an experienced team member. This could be the same person who was their buddy on their first day.
Shadowing is a good way to provide on-the-job training as it allows the new employee to learn the day-to-day activities of their role and the business’ expectations of how to interact with customers or clients.
It gives an insight into the basic aspects of their job, the culture of the business, and provides an opportunity to learn from their colleague’s experience and ask questions on the spot.
It can help the two employees form a strong professional relationship, as the new employee has someone they can approach for help and support. The experienced employee also develops coaching and mentoring skills which are useful if they want to progress into a supervisory or managerial position in the business down the track.
Shadowing has a positive impact on the social aspect of work and research has shown that social relationships in the workplace result in increased productivity, so the business benefits too.
Beware of information overload
During the first week, the employee may have met people whose names they cannot remember, attended meetings, received some training and hopefully learnt a few things too.
It’s normal for the employee to feel slightly overwhelmed and experience information overload. For this reason, the manager should sit down with them at the end of the week and ask them how they are finding the new job so far. This demonstrates that the business sees the employee as an important and valued team member, even though they are still learning.
An employee feeling overwhelmed should be reminded that it is still early days, and no one expects them to be an expert in the first week, and they will be supported as they grow into the role.
After the first month
In the first month, the new employee will have received additional training on the business’ internal procedures, possibly completed some tasks on their own, and have a clearer understanding of how they contribute to the team’s success. They may have even formed some friendships.
Now is another ideal time to check-in and discuss their progress so far and find out how they are settling into their new role and workplace.
After the first month, regular catch ups are recommended, every 3 months or sooner depending on the size of the business. This demonstrates that the manager is invested in the employee’s development and helps to track progress to ensure that these are aligned with the business’ mission.
Our advisers are ready to answer your questions. For advice on this topic, or any other workplace relations matter, Employment Plus clients who have placed two or more candidates have free access to the Ai Group Workplace Advice Line.
Call 1300 862 217 8.30am – 5:15pm Monday to Friday