Walking down the hallway of the high school I remember clinging to my friends, grateful there were eight of us who had come together to start Grade 9. Despite that I felt awkward, out of place and nervous. It is a similar feeling when a new employee starts on your team. I have a friend who just started a new job and it reminded me of all the new hires I had over the years. I wonder now looking back if I gave them all I could to make their experience as positive possible.
When starting someplace new we are looking to fit in, belong and be able to get our basic needs met: food, clothing and shelter. Consider this if you are the one responsible for hiring or orienting new employees. Make sure you are providing them the information they need to have these basic needs met.
What time is lunch? Where do they eat? Where can they put the food they brought? Do they need to put their name on food items? Is there an expectation around when to take lunch and coffee breaks? How ridged is that? Just like in families, meal times (or lack of) set the tone in an organization.
A new employee needs to know how they will fit in. Sharing with them the norms and values around breaks and meals will help them adjust easier to the routine of the organization and let them to put aside their worry.
What is the dress code? I mean really, what is the dress code? What is stated in the policy manual is not always what really exists. Give them an idea of what the expectations are. Does it change on different days for example casual Fridays? Is there a different expectation for meeting days or when “someone important” visits the worksite?
The term “business casual” really does not mean anything anymore. The styles and options are so vast that one needs to be clearer. Give them as sense of exactly what dress pants means. A pet peeve of mine is ladies wearing yoga pants as dress pants however it is ok in some places. (More on that in a future blog post!)
Where do they park their vehicle, put their jacket, boots, briefcase and purse and which desk is theirs? Is it really their desk or are there times when others can use it? What are the rules about shutting their office door (if they have one), answering the phone and emails?
Our homes are our sanctuaries and at work, if you have the luxury of having an office (yes, it is a luxury) or if you just have a workspace is also your sanctuary. Employees need to know if they can make their workspace their own. Bringing in pictures from home and being able to decorate it a bit makes it their own, which helps reduce stress and create ownership, both of which are good in work settings.
Take consideration for new employees. It is a stressful time for them and one that will stay with them for a long time. I vividly remember my first days of work in a couple of places. They set the tone for my connection with the team and agency. Be considerate of what “first impression” you are making on this person
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