How to Make New Employees Feel Welcome

So, you’ve recruited some new talent, but how do you give them the warmest possible welcome?

The first day on the new job is by far the most nerve-wracking. Every new employee wonders if they’ll be able to fit in, build relationships, and do the work. It’s enough to even make the most confident individual’s blood run cold.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

You, the manager, can take steps to ease new employees into the workplace so their first day isn’t so stressful. Get it right and you will inspire motivation, loyalty and productivity from day one. Here are some awesome tips to make new personnel feel right at home.

1. Give Them a Tour

Nearly all new employees start out by getting a tour of the office, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unexciting. Enlist the help of other staff members to show them certain areas so that they can meet new people in the process of touring. Show them any special “bells and whistles” that your space has to offer—a brainstorming room, a workout facility, etc. You could even work in a few surprises—a welcome sign hung in their honor in the break room or a treat laid out for them in the kitchen.

2. Assign a Friend

Being the new person can be overwhelming. Be sure to tell someone to help out the new hire. To avoid any awkwardness, let the new employee know that this is part of your “buddy system” where you match an existing employee with a new one. Be specific in what you want the buddy to do—whether it be reaching out via email before they show up on the first day or simply checking in with them at least once per day for the first couple of weeks.

3. Begin with Simpler Tasks

Consider starting new employees off with easier and less complicated projects so you can access their level of experience. Do this before bombarding them with complex and/or sensitive assignments. This will help build the confidence of new personnel as well as provide effective hands-on experience to help them succeed long-term. You can also make it fun by having a leaderboard and rewarding the employee who achieves the highest score (based on how quickly or accurately he or she completes the project).

4. Include Them in An Outing

If your team regularly gets together to bond, try planning the next activity around a new hire. Including a new recruit in these outings will make them feel appreciated. Plus, it will allow them to build relationships with others in a less formal setting. The outing could be a company-sponsored service project or simply a lunch gathering.

5. Tell A Story

Every company has stories. It could be how you landed your first $5,000 client or the time you decided to take on the ice bucket challenge. Stories like these enforce your values, give insights into how the team works, and facilitate a good laugh. When you share your company’s culture, you make it easier for new employees to become part of it.

6. Give a Welcome Gift

Nothing says welcome like a personalized gift basket on a new employee’s desk that first big day of work. You could include some branded company merchandise (hat, t-shirt, etc.), a few snacks, a card that includes the Wi-Fi password and important logins, and a “cheat sheet” with the names, headshots, and fun descriptions of immediate co-workers.

7. Prep Their Workspace

Monday morning can be pretty awkward for everyone if your new employees are standing idle while you try to find them a desk with a PC that functions properly. Whether it’s a standing desktop, a vehicle or access to the network, make sure everything is set up in advance. After all, if your company isn’t ready for them, they probably won’t be ready for you.

8. Create a “Questions Box”

Your new hires could be overwhelmed by details, and when you ask if they have questions, their minds may switch off. Later, they may feel too intimidated to ask questions that they think are trivial or that they should already know the answers to. To combat this, set out a box for everyone (new and existing employees alike) to deposit their questions into anonymously. You can then tackle those questions at weekly meetings so everyone can hear your answers and no one feels shy about asking.

9. Include in Group Messaging Apps

Another way you can make new employees feel welcome is by including them in group messaging. Company culture develops on instant messaging platforms like Slack or Teams. Here, personnel can interact just as they would on personal social media (while keeping it clean). The Slack or Teams apps can also be used to see daily assignments and share digital projects.

10. Introduce Them to Other Departments

One of the best ways to welcome new employees is to help them spend one-on-one time with personnel in other departments. Not only will this promote continuous improvement and cross-functional collaboration, but it will also improve communication, enhance teamwork, and enable everyone to function together with singleness of purpose.

11. Let Them Control Their Own Schedule

Based on the type of company, you may be able to give new hires a degree of control over when they work in the office and when they work from home. With remote work on the rise, letting employees request work-at-home days will ensure they see you as a business that cares for their preferences. Of course, they’re still expected to meet deadlines and work like they would in a 9 to 5 setting (minus the attire).

12. Be Patient

It’s always a good strategy to be patient with new recruits. Understand upfront that they will monopolize your time for a while and undoubtedly make mistakes. Onboarding new employees takes time, but when you do so thoroughly and well, you can cut down on mistakes or misunderstandings that will take your time and energy down the line.