Marleen de Vries
New responsibilities and dozens of new faces at the same time: a first day can be quite overwhelming. As part of the HR team (or another Service Department), you play a big role in onboarding. With the right preparation you can quickly create a homely environment for a new colleague.
1. Get started with a mentor
New colleagues have a lot to learn and remember when they get started in your organization. Make it easier for them by providing a mentor from their own team. This mentor helps them find their way within the organization.
2. And leave the ‘tour of the organization’ to the team
Many new employees are introduced by their team lead, but this is an excellent example of something the mentor or a direct colleague can do. They know the most important ins and outs (and gossip) on the work floor and it gives the colleagues the opportunity to get to know each other better.
3. Inform colleagues in advance about a new employee
A first day in a new office is less stressful when you feel welcome. That’s why you should always inform employees that a new colleague is joining the team. Do you do this via email? Copy the new colleague in the email and ask their team to give a short introduction via email.
4. End the first day with a talk
Schedule an informal evaluation at the end of the first day. Ask how it went, if the new colleague has questions or problems, give feedback and thank them for their efforts. This way, you can take away potential insecurities about the first day.
5. Make sure there's a familiar face
New employees probably meet a few future colleagues during the interview process. Use these familiar faces to set them at ease during the first day. Not possible to have a familiar face welcome them? Then you need to make sure your new colleagues know who’s showing them around (and the other way around of course).
6. Schedule time in the manager's calendar
A manager or team lead provides important support for new colleagues on their first day. Make sure the manager or team lead don’t only show their face, but schedule a meeting with them and the new colleague. This meeting is, when the new colleague feels a little more at home.
7. Let the team think about their first day
The way the existing team welcomes the new colleague, can make or break the first day. Try to make the team enthusiastic for their new colleague ahead of time by involving them in the onboarding process. Let one or two employees create a welcome package or organize drinks, for example.
8. Schedule talks with employees from all levels
These talks help your new colleague to quickly get insight into the different roles within the organization. He or she also learns how everyone contributes to the mission and goal of the organizations, and what his or her role is in the big picture.
9. Don’t forget the organization’s culture
The formal company rules are recorded in the staff handbook. But to feel at home, new employees need information about the informal customs and values of the new organization. When and where is lunch? Which activities are organized? What do we do with birthdays? Share this information and involve new colleagues as soon as possible in all activities.
10. Organize an introduction before the first day
Meeting the team is one of the most important activities for every first day. A busy Monday morning is often not the best time to do the introductions. Check if it’s possible to organize a get-together with the team and invite their new colleague. This way, everyone can create a relaxed atmosphere for a good first impression.
Check out our e-book on creating a better experience for your employees.