Welcoming new co-workers

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in Business Etiquette,Workplace Communication

The first week at a new job can be stressful. There are so many new people to meet, passwords to memorize and new software systems to learn. How can you make that onboarding process more welcoming?

That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum: “My worst fear whenever we hire a new person is that he or she will work here for a few days but decide not to stay—sometimes people just don’t get a great first impression of a job, its workload, or particular people. What can we do to make the first week of work rewarding and even fun for a newbie?”

Admins shared their favorite tips for addressing this common concern.

First, make a personal connection. “I try to make sure that the most jovial person in the office has direct contact with a new employee,” Holly wrote. “I’ve also suggested a program where someone is assigned directly to take the person out to lunch and talk about work in nontraining mode, just giving them the lay of the land and basically being a ‘designated pal’ for a few days.”

Second, avoid information overload. Another reader, Mark, asked a relatively new employee at his organization what they could have done to make his first week more rewarding. His response: “Not have so much reading be part of orientation. It’s boring, and it’s too much information at the start.”

Another reader, Sharon, echoed that advice. “First of all, teach the person one function at a time. Let him do that job a few times and get the hang of it before adding the next job. … Provide a notebook and pen to write down step-by-step directions to be followed until the process is memorized.”

She suggested a similarly measured pace with socializing. “Don’t introduce the entire staff at once, don’t get into private jokes,” she wrote. “Perhaps ask a different person to eat lunch with him each day the first week, not a crowd. People need to feel comfortable and part of the team.”

If this seems like a lot of work, consider the effort it will take to replace the person if she doesn’t stick around. “The more welcoming you are and the more you keep the lines of communication open, the better their experience and the more likely they are to stick around,” wrote Amy.

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