The Chronicles of a New Hire
Think about your first day at any new job. Just thinking about it is nerve-wracking, isn’t it?! As an employer, it’s important to recognize the things that can make the first day welcoming and comfortable for a new employee. This week’s blog post is written from the standpoint of three new hires, and targeted to both the Employer and the New Hire.
I started a new job recently, so I decided to probe my roommates, Lauren and Mae, about their own experiences when starting a new job. And here’s what I discovered:
The three of us each agreed that a first day arrival time of an hour or so after the workday starts is ideal. This gave our new colleagues and supervisors time to get things ready and prepare for our arrival. The first thing Lauren noticed, and really appreciated, when she sat at her new desk was that her computer was fully set up, complete with a list of passwords and codes that she’d need for her new position. It’s important to be prepared for your new hire: it looks good for you and helps them get settled quickly!
“One thing I would have liked this new company to have offered was a week-long orientation. At my old job, I went through a planned, organized orientation process during the whole first week. Each day I sat in with supervisors and employees in different departments and learned what they did and more about how the company operates on different levels,” Mae said.
No one, especially a new hire, wants to feel like a nuisance, like they’re interrupting someone’s busy workday.
It’s important to set up training modules for any position to give it structure. It doesn’t have to be concrete, but should provide a general idea of what the position will cover and what the employee will learn as he or she continues the training process.
Think of all of the responsibilities the employee in that position will have, and divide it up into bullet points with a specified, but again, not concrete, timeline. People learn at different paces, and they learn certain things quicker or more slowly than others.
Mae recounts, “Something I really liked about this new position was that even though training modules had already been established prior to starting the position, my colleagues were more than happy to adapt and change the training modules according to my learning curve.”
The day I started my new position, my supervisor provided me with a detailed list of every item I would learn and accomplish during my 6 month training period. I really appreciated this because it alleviated some of the confusion and chaos happening in my brain, as everyone experiences on their first day at a new job. Once you have an idea of what you’re going to learn, the when and how follow at the desired pace of your supervisor/employer. And being able to check things off of your list makes you feel accomplished and more knowledgeable!
During my first week, both my supervisor and my teammate were out sick for a day. Rather than sit there like a deer in headlights, I mustered up some confidence, walked right out into the office and said, “Does anyone have anything they want to teach me?” Within 10 minutes I had invites to 3 separate meetings with different departments. Everyone was willing to help me learn and keep me engaged, even if those meetings didn’t directly apply to my position. I really appreciated it! I learned new things, I interacted with my new colleagues, and I felt welcome.
Make sure your employees and supervisors understand how difficult it can be to be the “new guy.” Everyone was new once, so a little compassion, engagement and willingness can go a long way!
For the New Hire: Listen, observe, ask questions, and take copious amounts of notes during your first few days at the new job. Make sure you’re well rested, appropriately dressed, and excited to be there. But remember this: you’re not going to learn everything in one day, or even one week for that matter. Be present and willing to learn, but relax.
For the Employer: Do not forget that a little bit of praise can go a long way, whether it’s a new hire or a veteran employee. “One thing I love about this new company is that they are very quick to praise. So many companies only criticize their employees and rarely give praise.” While criticism (constructive, of course) is absolutely necessary sometimes, giving your employees praise, or credit where credit is due, contributes not only to employee satisfaction, but to employee retention as well.
So there you have it! A few tips and tricks to help guide the new hire process and ensure it goes smoothly, both for the Employer and for the Employee. Are you ready for your first day?