When you join a new company, the first weeks can be hard. Very hard. A new office, a new team, you need to learn everything from scratch and hope that you have a decent onboarding process and are not alone in this “get-to-know-the-company” process. There is nothing as demotivating for an employee as arriving at their new workplace that seems to be unprepared for their arrival. Having to spend the first weeks without a desk, laptop, or email is not very good for one´s motivation and for kick-starting a new job. Arriving at the office where there is nobody from the team to receive you doesn´t really give the sign that they were waiting for you either.
As with everything, first impressions last, so make sure that the first impression is a great one. How can you motivate new employees and help them through those first few weeks?
Here are our 5 tips:
- Be prepared
The examples mentioned above of no free desk, no laptop available or no email set-up might sound basic, but they are not. You don´t want to know how many employees arrive at their new job and are the first couple of weeks without any equipment because it got requested on the joining date and takes its own sweet time to be arranged. And really, there are few things less motivating than having to sit and wait that time out with the occasional read if you´re lucky enough that somebody prints some material for you. Having no equipment also means that you can´t do much which is not a very motivating feeling either. Furthermore, make sure that the line manager is expecting this person and has made the necessary arrangements. E.g. who should they ask for when they arrive at reception and did the manager schedule enough free time those first couple of days to give them a proper onboarding experience?
- Intro meetings
This is linked to preparation but when your new employee arrives, make sure you have already planned introduction meetings for the first week with every relevant stakeholder. Start with team members and peers from other departments they will have to work with frequently so they can get to know each other and it becomes clear what roles and responsibilities everyone has. You don´t want the new employee to beg for time with everyone, take the lead on this and set up these intro meetings already before arrival.
- Assign a buddy
Intro meetings with you and the team are good for the formal part, but what about the more informal introduction? Usually, that one is just as important. Where is the coffee machine, which printer doesn´t work, which meeting room shouldn´t you book because the AC is always broken, etc. By assigning a buddy who can take your new employee for a more informal tour of the office and for lunch you ensure that they are also being immersed in the company culture and get to know the practicalities.
- Give them something to do from the beginning
Few things are as demotivating as feeling like you´re useless and are not adding any value. The feeling that you don´t have anything to do. It might sound like a good idea to let them ease into the company and give them the time to read through presentations and company material but for the new employee, this might not be enough. By giving them tasks from the beginning you can let them know that they are really needed in the team and they can start adding value from the first week onwards.
- Check in with them regularly
And finally, keep checking in with them frequently. Are they doing ok? Is there anything they need or don´t understand? Not just the first days but keep this up for the first weeks or even first couple of months to ensure that the onboarding goes smoothly.
What other tips do you have to help new employees through their first week?