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How to Introduce the New Employee to the Workplace
Welcome! Let's See What You've Got.
An enthusiastic new employee starts a new job with great expectations of joining a work team and making a contribution to the success of the company. Past work experiences, academic achievements and training/certifications equip a newly selected employee to make things happen for the workplace. Unfortunately, friendly handshakes and warm smiles are often missing on that first day for the new employee. A subtle glare, forced grin and lukewarm handshake are often what awaits the unsuspecting new employee on their first day from co-workers who are sizing them up at that moment. Since a new employee means change to the norm of a work team, there can be some uncertainty in the feelings that employees have toward that person who is entering their world. Management must lead the way for the team to ensure the new hire will be given a fair opportunity to be successful at their new job.
Why the Cold Shoulder?
Current employees are sometimes hesitant to accept "outsiders" to their workplace. A sense of ownership and, perhaps, some loyalty to the company, often makes an employee protective about who to accept as part of the work team. This notion can be especially apparent with long term employees who have spent much of their career as an employee at the company. Other issues that may cause the "cold shoulder" are:
- Filling the shoes of the former employee - When a newly hired employee takes the place of a departed employee, employees in the workplace often compare the new employee to the one who has left. This comparison can especially be apparent when the employee has retired or left on good terms after a long period of time with the employer. Employees will unknowingly treat the new employee in a way that might be seen as standoffish and even somewhat unfriendly. The filling of a job that was previously held by a respected and well-liked employee can be a bit bumpy at the start for a new employee. Employees may miss the former employee, and unfairly set the bar high for this individual who has been selected as a replacement. Since decisions to hire are generally left to the management, current employees on the team may show some resentment toward the new employee.
- Disgruntled current employees who did not get the job. There may be some current employees in the workplace who applied and interviewed for the vacancy, but were not selected. Therefore, some feelings of resentment may cause these employees to not accept the newly hired employee to the work team.
- Differences in the outward appearance of the new employee. A new employee may look different from those on the team. For example, a female employee who joins an all male work team may face some challenges "fitting in" with the existing work team. A younger new hire who is a recent graduate from a university might have difficulty with a work team who consists of older employees. Differences in who people really are may cause some insecurity from the rest of the work team who feel threatened about new ideas that the new employee will bring to the job.
- Poor communication from leadership about the new employee - Some organizations do a poor job of communicating that a position has been filled with a new employee. On the first day, the poor unsuspecting employee arrives at the workplace and encounters a shocked workplace. No one is aware that they are coming and, therefore, no one is ready for them.
- Less than perfect first impression of the employee during interview process - Employees often get a preview of the new employee during the recruitment process. If the candidate arrived to the workplace for the interview and was not cordial to the employees who encountered them, there is possibly a word or two that has been shared between employees about their lack of friendliness. While it is unfortunate, some new hires make bad first impressions that lead to the judgement from others about who they think they are.
The New Employee's First Day
How to Welcome the New Employee
Despite a variety circumstances in the workplace that lead to a rocky start for new hires, there are many productive ways that employees can help them get off to a good start on their first day of work. Some preparation and a little extra effort from employees to welcome the new hire will ensure that the employee gets a good start at the new employer. Consider the following:
- Communicate with employees about the new hire. - One effective way to communicate the change in the work team is to make an announcement about the addition of a new employee before their first day on the job. This communication can occur by making an announcement in a staff meeting with information about the new employee, their professional experience, education, etc. Making the announcement face to face with staff will be more appropriate because it demonstrates the importance of this new employee to the team, and management's lead on welcoming them to the workplace.
- Speak to current employees who were not selected for the vacancy. - In order to prevent bad feelings for the current employe(s) who did not get selected for the vacancy, the hiring manager will want to meet with them prior to the outside applicant showing up at the work site for their first day. Communicating with the rejected employees will show consideration for their interest in the job, and what things they can improve upon should the vacancy be available in the future.
- Properly prepare a desk or work station for new employee. - Employees who have a properly supplied desk or equipped work station on their fist day are likely to get off to a good start due to having the proper resources/tools to do the work. They will not have to waste time trying to get the needed supplies required for proper completion of the work they were hired to perform.
- Give new employee tour of company. - New employees benefit from a tour of the facility and company departments to get a good overview of the business. Getting out to learn about the various departments will be appreciated by the new employee who is trying to "soak" in everything about a new employer.
- Communicate with rest of company about the new hire. - In addition to communicating with the work team about the new employee, it will be beneficial to both the company and new employee if management communicates with the rest of the workplace. This communication can be done by sending out an email or memorandum with a detailed introduction about the new employee and their background. Since other departments will likely have to work with the employee at some point in time, it will be helpful to everyone if they know who is part of the team. Some companies may choose to feature an an article in the company newsletter that goes to all employees. This introduction may even be seen by customers who do business with the company. Such information demonstrates the management's commitment to employees.
- Check back with employee at midpoint of day or week. - Checking back with the new employee mid way through the day to find out how they are doing will be a good idea. Doing so will be a way to catch any problems before they become too significant. If meeting with the employee that same day is not possible, the supervisor should plan to meet at a later date. The worst thing that could happen to a new employee is to let them feel forgotten or left on their own prematurely.
- Keep gossip and personal talk to a minimum. - Employees should be sure to not bombard the new employee with gossip and personal talk about co-workers. New employees need to be able to make their own judgements about the work and workplace itself.
The Success of the New Employee
The cost to recruit and hire a new employee is quite an investment for an employer. Management must make the most of the hiring decision to ensure that the new employee is welcomed and treated with the utmost respect. In addition to the efforts of management, all employees who will be working with the new employee will also want to be mindful of any bias and resentment due to the new employee being recruited from outside of the employer. When both management and employees work together, the new hire will be off to a better start because they will get a true understanding of the commitment made to them in the new workplace.