Before new employees report for their first day on the job, you should consider making them feel welcome – and with open arms, at that! While it may seem like an insignificant thing in the general scheme, it isn’t because newbies who feel like they are being welcomed and appreciated are more likely to feel more motivated. In the long run, your seemingly small efforts will be rewarded in big ways so start now.
1. Add Them to Your LinkedIn Network
In the digital world, online connections matter nearly as much as traditional connections. It then makes sense to add new employees to your LinkedIn network a week or so before they are slated to report to the office. It’s also a great way to announce to the world, in a manner of speaking, that these great people are working for your company now that, in turn, will encourage a sense of belongingness.
But don’t just add them on LinkedIn, especially when you’re going to be working closely with them in a few days’ time. You may want to add a nice note to your LinkedIn request, a great way to personalize an otherwise generic invitation.
Your note needn’t be lengthy or sappy – a simple note will suffice. Think along the lines of, “Hey, Jack! I just wanted to welcome you to the company and I can’t wait to work with you soon.”
2. Provide an Onboarding Document
Nowadays, an onboarding document is an essential document to welcome new employees for many reasons. An onboarding document is the newbies’ guide to their life in the company that, in turn, will aid them in becoming productive employees. Indeed, both the company and the new employees will benefit from an onboarding document.
While every company has a unique onboarding document, it usually contains the following information:
- The new employee’s goals, as set by the team leader (i.e., you), for his or her first 30, 60 and 90 days.
- The outline of the tasks expected of the new employee
- The relevant links, documents, log-ins, and calendar he or she will need for the job
- The meetings they should attend on a regular basis and for the first few weeks on the job
- The names, background and position, and contact information of the people they will be reporting to and working with
Basically, it’s a document that will provide the answers to questions newbies are likely to ask. You can save your time and effort in answering these questions as the answers are on the onboard document. You should ideally ask the existing employees for their inputs on the document to make it more comprehensive; any other issues not tackled in the document should be discussed with the concerned person first.
3. Write Down Your Questions
As the team leader, you likely have dozens of questions, ideas, and opportunities for the new employees, an understandable thing considering that every new employee represents new blood that can contribute to the company’s growth. You may even ask the new employees several questions that you didn’t have the opportunity to ask during the interview sessions for one reason or another.
But we suggest writing down your questions and concerns first before approaching the new employees. You want a more organized discussion so that you don’t overlook any important matter, whether it’s their capacity for a task or their willingness to learn a new skill. Just don’t approach them like you’re the Inquisitor hell-bent on an interrogation either – you’re welcoming them to the company, not intimidating them with your barrage of questions.
4. Send Them an Email
Even before a new employee comes into the office, you can personally welcome him or her through an email. In it, you can convey your happiness over his or her joining the team, your expectations for his or her contributions to the team, and your hope that he or she will enjoy the time with the team. Yes, keep it simple and short on this part.
But your email may be slightly lengthier on the important matters, too. You may reiterate their official start (i.e., date and time), request for the relevant documents, and discuss the company culture, as well as provide a general outline of their first day on the job. You may also tell them that you will be happy to address their questions; you’re likely to answer a few because, let’s face it, starting a new job can be nerve-wracking.
5. Get Their Desk Ready
You don’t want new employees to come into the office and find that they don’t have the desk space! Not only will they feel unwelcome but they will spend their first day cleaning out the desks vacated by others and settling in, meaning they won’t be as productive as you expected them to be.
So, a week or so before the new hires report for their jobs, you should consider doing these things.
- Clean the desks and spaces where the new employees will be working in. If these were previously used by other employees, get them cleaned of personal things like photo frames, calendars and other knick-knacks, as well as have them vacuumed.
- Install the necessary devices like the computer system so that these are ready when the new employees come. They can also start their system training as soon as they report to their stations so their first day on the job becomes a productive one.
If necessary, you can even place personalized welcome cards on the desks, a nice touch when your company is really into warm welcomes.
6. Send Over Hard Copies of Relevant Documents
Emails are, of course, well and good in the digital age. But sometimes, hard copies also make sense in many ways.
New employees don’t have to open their devices to read about company policies and practices, among other things, since there are manuals and the like in hard copy for reference purposes. There’s something good to be said about opening a book and scanning down its contents for information instead of turning on your tablet and scrolling down for the information you need.
The hard copies can be sent via mail a week before the new employees are set to start their jobs. These can include the company manual, the benefits package, and even the onboarding document, even a personalized welcome note.
7. Have a Buddy System
To take the personalized touch to another level, you can pair a new employee with an old employee, a buddy system of sort. Just be sure that the old employee actually wants to become a mentor, of a sort, to the new employee since there’s nothing worse than forcing somebody to befriend another, more so to become a mentor. You may also want to consider asking the old employees their opinions on who they want to be paired with.
The buddy system has several benefits for the company, the existing employees, and the new hires. The newbies will feel more comfortable in their working environment, even ask questions that they otherwise wouldn’t ask of a manager. The mentors (i.e., old employees) have the opportunity to make new connections and establish a learning relationship with the newbies.
The company, of course, will benefit from the camaraderie between the newbies and the oldies.
8. Do the Welcoming Yourself
In the abovementioned steps, you’re basically preparing the new hires for their new jobs, a way of getting them successfully onboard on their first day. But you should also prepare yourself for the onboarding process because, well, you will be at the helm.
Keep in mind that new employee training takes time, energy and effort, which you will be expected to give during the onboarding process. You should then proactively set aside time on your calendar to be an active participant in the process, especially since you will be closely working with one or two of the new hires. You will then be able to determine whether they are doing their jobs as expected.
You should also ensure that the logistics are in place for the onboarding process. These can include conference rooms and video chat facilities, to name a few.
9. Set Aside Time for Socialization
Your new employees will feel even more welcome when they have time to socialize in a relaxed setting with their bosses and co-workers. Scheduling coffee breaks or drinks after work make sense, too, but be sure that these won’t go out of control.
Be sure that everybody is informed ahead of time about these socialization sessions. You don’t want people to feel left out, whether they are new or old employees, because they weren’t included in the socialization.
These are just a few ideas for welcoming new employees to the company even before their first day. You can add more ideas depending on your company’s culture, budget, and size. You may, for example, give a new employee training on the first few days and then throw a small welcoming party on the last day for good measure. Your new team members will definitely appreciate your effort!