Employees are a sensitive breed; trust me because I have been one for a long time. I think it is good to serve as an employee at some point because it gives you perspective. If you have been working in job sector, you will know employee mindset better.
Eventually when you are an executive or a business owner, you will understand your employees’ feelings because you have been in their shoes at one point in life.
Welcoming New Employees Is Important Because…
Impressions matter a lot. As much as a soon-to-be member of an organization is conscious about making an impression on your company, you should also do the same. You don’t want that person to feel unwelcome or devalued in the company. Otherwise, it will impact employee productivity, attitude and overall behavioral pattern.
If new hires are introduced with creativity and flair, their loyalty notches up in tenfold. Here are some very useful tips for welcoming new employees in the company. The end part of this post is critical because I have shared some personal experiences from working at ‘Productivity Land’; how I was welcomed and what a good employee should do whenever he hops onboard?
1. Saying “Hi” Via a Multichannel Virtual Medium:
This one has become more of a tradition ever since communication became a major convenience. A lot of companies shoot out a formal email to new hires’ coworkers and the employee in question. I’d rather you improvise and go with whichever communication modes you have at your office. Some of the most common forms of these welcome rituals are stated below:
• Welcome Emails:
This should be an easy one. There’s nothing special. Usually, HR people have a couple of ‘Welcome new employee’ templates available. They just have to replace a generic name with actual employee name and hit the send button. That’s it.
All the relevant information, such as employee job designation and title, etc. are appended in that email. This is a formal email that’s sent to that specific person with the intent of welcoming him/her. What some companies do is that they insert a summary of the new hire in the sidebar where the internal email system is going on.
Old employees are more than welcome to attach their own welcome notes to the new hire sidebar section. The sidebar tactic has been, and is still being, used in many companies as an indirect communication tactic.
• Newsletter Mentions:
Sometimes, companies have a quarterly newsletter. Any recent development, whether it is new hiring, a milestone achievement, or whatever newsworthy is printed in that newsletter. There is a special section where the companies print headshots of new employees, their job title and a little bit of information about them.
Sometimes, there are editorial posts in the newsletter if the new hire has done something extraordinary within the first quarter. These site-wide newsletter publications are a great way of showing recognition, but also letting everyone know about the new hires.
• Facebook Page Mentions:
Another great way of welcoming a new employee is through the company’s very own Facebook page. This is another common tactic, but they add value to the organizations bonding structure. Just a few photos of the new employee and a personalized thank you message speaks volumes about humility and appreciation.
• Bulletin Board/ Memorandum Welcomes:
If there is an online, or real life bulletin board in the company, they usually make a descriptive announcement. Depending on the atmosphere of the company, there are occasions where new hires will post personal anecdotes alongside goofy selfies.
I wouldn’t count on it because from an employee’s perspective if the bulletin board notes are too humorous, co-workers associate that person with the metaphorical “class clown”. Beware!
For new employees, the aforementioned welcome channels are important because they highlight his/her name. Something is better than nothing. If you are being pinpointed in a new company from a positive point of view, I’d say that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, the rest of the employees have minimum chances of missing the announcement. One way or another, they stumble upon it instead of giving strange looks to the new hire in the lunchroom.
2. New Hires’ Personal Introductions:
Personal introductions can be in the form of one-on-one in-person meetings, or through a stand-up session where everyone gathers around. Usually, in both situations, it is the Human Resource department’s job to give the new hire a brief walkthrough of the department. This way, he can mingle with the coworkers and share a few words aside from formal “Hellos” and “Hi’s”.
It also helps to make the new employee truly welcomed since everyone is centered on one person. It is a great way and should be more of a tradition at every company. Especially if you compare cold emails to personal introductions, I’d always go for the latter. It is an interpersonal touch.
3. Breaking Bread and Greet Announcement:
Some companies where I have toured for agile project management training seminars, the department head would pile up a few snacks and a welcome note. Either it would be on the employee’s desk, or someone would personally handover the effects to him.
This gesture counts a lot in making that person feel special. New hires appreciate how they are coddled the first day in a casual but professional tone. This also sets the tradition of encouraging new hires to do the same when someone else joins the company afterward.
• Casual Follow-up Notes:
Add pictorial references to the new employee through the company’s internal collaboration software. We sometimes use 3rd party software to set up a separate ‘Greetings Project Board’, where everyone says hello to the new hire and vice versa.
4. Team Lunches are a Great Way of Warming Up:
Sometimes, the new hires’ introduction is a little light on ice breakers. What such companies do is they schedule sort of a formal + informal get together where everyone shares snacks and mingles with the new person.
A higher success rate can be achieved by scheduling several lunches in smaller batches. It eventually comes down to staff strength and the organization culture. The good thing is that for the first few days, the new employee doesn’t feel left out.
I know this feeling because I have felt cornered after my induction at different companies. People just don’t warm up. And when they make plans for lunches with their old buddies, it just kind of feels awkward. Let that feeling sink in a little bit and you’ll know how important meetups are to new hires.
5. Put New Hires’ Photo on the Wall!
Just a day or two before new hires join in, post their photo alongside a humorous note. Make sure that the photo id displayed where everyone usually walks by.
Sometimes it is a little hard for everyone to meet the new person. A lot of those casual in-person introductions depend on the availability and ongoing schedule of the coworkers at an office. It also gives old employees a chance to warm up to the feeling of having someone new on board.
The way that photo is put up, and that text description says a lot about the new hire. Being an executive, or the person responsible for this little gig, don’t exceed boundaries. If it is too funny, new hires’ coworkers will not take him/her serious. If it’s too damn serious, they will probably disregard such welcome notes and move on with their daily tasks.
Notes such as; “Have you seen this person?” and “Have you met Karen?” are a great form of icebreakers. By the day the new hire will walk in, everyone will have known his/her name. Coworkers will automatically greet that person, and he’d be amazed due to the personal touch effect.
Calling someone out by name puts people off, guard. Since a new workplace is usually crowded with employees facing their own desks, it feels good if the coworkers already know the new hire by name. This way, they won’t have to have a formal tone during in-person meetups.
6. We Use Slack for On-Site & Off-Site Communication:
Whether it is a plain old welcome message or just day-to-day activities, we use Slack for communication. It just helps us to cut through all the unnecessary clutter. Since multiple channels can be created in Slack, Employee Greetings are set up in a separate dedicated channel.
Over the next day or two, someone higher up the management posts a few messages to alert everyone of the new hires’ arrival. We also mention their name and hobbies to pique anyone’s interest in case a coworker has a similar taste.
• Hello everyone. Just a heads up, Mr. / Ms. So and so will be joining us soon on XYZ date. We are very excited to welcome a new hire onboard
• Did you know that the new hire is an avid artist? You will have a lot to talk about over his drool-worthy art pieces.
• Don’t forget to wish him/her a warm welcome.
Slack is excellent for disseminating information. Aside from mentioning new hires, our staff feels right at home by chitchatting with their coworkers as far as collaboration goes. The program opens new doors for communication.
How the Welcome Party Experience Rolled Out For Me?
At ‘Productivity Land’, I was greeted by a friendly HR person who gave me a complete walkthrough tour of the facility. One by one, I was introduced to all my coworkers. It was a huge relief because in-person introductions kind of lift that air of awkwardness.
Slack wasn’t used to send out welcome notes to me, but yes, we use it for our projects. Also, there were no snacks on my desk. They are in the office pantry, with permission to anyone who wants to fill their gut. We try to maximize productivity in a friendly work environment at ‘Productivity Land’. Working here has been more of a blessing.
Anyhow, that’s part of my overall experiences at this company. How did your hiring go at your new company? Feel free to send us an email, or share your thoughts through the comments section below.