Starting a new job doesn’t get any less intimidating the older you get. In fact, nothing gets less scary with age, that’s just a lie we’re told by our parents when we’re 15 to make us feel better about group presentations.
Anyway, we’ve all been the new guy or girl in the office, and we all know that it’s the little things that really make the difference. Sadly, it’s the little things that can be forgotten and leave new employees feeling a bit out of their depth.
The longer it takes a new starter to settle and feel comfortable, the longer they’re distracted from their workload and unable to give it their full attention.
As a big business, we know all too well how important those first few weeks are, so we’ve collected some of our best practices when it comes to settling in a new starter.
Be the Perfect Host
If you have a social gathering where most people know each other, but one person is very much the outsider, then it is only natural to help this along and make introductions. Whilst few people will thank you for being overly attentive, it’s important to consider yourself a catalyst for social interaction between your new employee and the rest of your team.
Us adults are a hardy sort and will get by without much involvement when it comes to getting to know people, school usually teaches us the basics and cocktail parties and meeting in-laws helps us the rest of the way. That said, we’ve all felt out of our depth at times and simple introductions can go a long way to easing that.
Pick the Right Buddy
It’s fair to say that just because you have a great team, doesn’t mean they are all equipped to act as a suitable buddy for your new employee. Pick the team member who you think will be the best fit for the job based on the disposition of the new starter. If your new starter seems quite calm and self-assured, then there’s no need to pair them with a quieter character. Equally, if your new starter does seem particularly nervous and unsure, then pairing them with someone you think will best remedy that is a good idea.
Very often companies get stuck into the habit of pairing new starters with the longest standing employee out of habit, without considering whether they are in fact, suitable. It’s always worth the extra time to consider these pairings, not just for the new starter, but for your team’s development too. Everyone likes to feel valued and being given the opportunity to help out the new girl through that first hectic week is a sign of trust that many appreciate.
Leave your Door Open
Not literally, that’s just irritating. No, what we mean is, it’s important to let your new starter be aware that they can come to you for advice, feedback and clarification. Sometimes, when we start anew, it can be hard to admit we aren’t quite up to speed with things or find certain aspects of our work unpleasant. This is especially true of graduates and newcomers to the world of work.
The tendency to not admit to a lack of understanding can lead to much bigger problems later, so it’s always worth letting your new employees know what you expect and welcome transparency.
The Key to Settling in a New Starter
To really help a new starter settle in, all you actually need to do is remember what it feels like to be the latest person in the door. It’s also important to remember not to go too far the other way and be overly helpful. Whilst hovering on the edge of your new starters desk as they attempt to complete their newfound work may seem like you’re being supportive, all you’re really doing is making them nervous and possibly forget how to type.
We won’t go as far as to say something cheesy like ‘follow your heart’ but perhaps ‘follow your gut’ is worth remembering. New starters will let you know how best they settle by their behaviour in the first few days, so as long as you make sure you keep your door (figuratively) open and a weather eye on their progress, settling in should be a doddle.