5 more ways to welcome new employees to the team
My first day at Freshworks I remember clearly because the CEO showed up to say hi and hand me my laptop. The company was young enough that Girish could still create these moments of delight and it’s a memory that other first days will find hard to beat.
First days can be tough but there’s a lot that you (yes, you) as a colleague can do to make the first day special for your new colleague. Asana did a great post detailing 6 things managers can do and we decided to add on with 5 great ways in which colleagues and managers can welcome new employees. Using the right software for employee onboarding is very important but tools can only go so far; it’s the human touch that you add that will create an extraordinary experience.
1) Give them an office tour
HR will cover the basics of an office tour – here’s the bathroom, the emergency stairwell and the cafeteria – but you can make it more special by pointing out little secrets. Like showing them how to make coffee on the coffee machine, special hideout spots for when they want to get work done in peace etc. You could even take it to the next level and draw them a map.
In Freshworks, we sometimes stash clues in various locations and send our new employees out on a scavenger hunt. This way, they get to explore the extents of the office (thus familiarizing themselves with the layout) and interact with random employees in the wild, instead of just the people they’ll be working with.
2) Provide a task list
Nikki Henderson makes a great point in the Asana post about organizing documentation and making it easy to find so that the new employee doesn’t get lost. For instance, the marketing team could create campaign guides to help new people get oriented on how you do things. Take it a step further and give them a task list for the first week. You can use the task list to gauge their strengths and weaknesses and use this information to figure out how they’ll work with the team.
3) Schedule a lunch with the team
Get the ball rolling and help the team bond with the new employee by taking them on an outing. Lunch, dinner, the local bar, paintball. Schedule the weekly team bonding activity for the day the new hire joins so they can break the ice and begin to bond with their new team mates.
In some companies, the last person who joined the team gets to induct the new employee into the team. This could be through a kit, a personal tour or just by being a shoulder to lean on. This will help make people feel included more quickly.
Some HR people I spoke to, in the course of my existence, mentioned that they suggest that new employees record and post introduction videos to their intra network. Sometimes, teams record the intro video and mail it to the new hire before they join work so they can take their time, familiarizing themselves with the team.
You could go the extra mile and create a fun game that will help them interact more with your colleagues. The easiest option is to create a bingo grid with fun facts about the team. Take a picture with someone who’s visited every continent. Take a picture with someone who’s seen Hamilton and so on. Let everyone in on the nicknames.
A bingo grid is a fun way to get the inside jokes out into the open so that the new hire starts feeling like a part of the team.
Another game that employees at Freshworks like to use in the onboarding process is Mafia. There’s just something about this game, that involves you being on guard and wary of trusting anyone else at the table, that ends up building that trust in actuality.
5) Tell them what they can expect next
When the hullabaloo dies down, set the right expectations for the next couple of days. Most new hires are raring to show what they can do to everyone else so they’ll appreciate the time to prepare for the meetings and events ahead. If you can swing it, you should get them into a meeting with a leader so they can get a sense of the big picture and their role in it. That should go a long way in stoking the fire into a flame.
A great team welcome sets an employee up for success so they can hit the ground running. But it doesn’t just end the minute orientation winds up. A great welcome also involves following up with them after they’ve settled in – a month, 6 months down the line – and making sure that the fire’s still going strong.
How do you welcome new employees to your team? Let us know and we’ll add it to your list (and credit you!).
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