The first few days in a new job or working for a new employer can be the
most stressful in a person’s working life. A change in job has been
identified as a top stressor among other lifestyle events such as getting a divorce, losing a loved one or declaring personal bankruptcy.
Going to a company where no one knows your name can be an uneasy time filled with expectations by the employer and newly hired employee. Unrealistic expectations by either party can result in needless stress and anxiety as the new hire attempts to navigate their way around a new corporate setting, meet new co-workers, learn new office procedures and deal with potentially unfamiliar tasks and challenges. It’s a little like the ultimate first date, filled with expectations by both parties as to what to expect, or not expect, while two strangers struggle to form a relationship.
Many new employees knock themselves out trying to convey a good first impression on their new employer desperately worried that their employer may rethink the hiring choice over small mistakes and awkward gaffes.
A good company that supports its employees recognizes that it needs to provide a transition process to welcome employees into its fold. Every company needs a plan in place to handle the influx of new employees in a manner that delivers essential information without overwhelming the new hire.
A smooth transition process also doesn’t take up so much time as to place a burden on co-workers who often pick up the extra workload created by a new employee who is not yet up to speed.
The delivery vehicle of choice is a company orientation program that provides critical information about an organization, its structure and service delivery expectations and other vital processes. Whether a few hours or a few days, this orientation process also provides a transition time for employees to adapt to their new work environment. An effective program is one that takes some of the burden off employees in those first few hours, few days and weeks of starting with a new company.
Missing The Golden Opportunity
Strange as it may sound, some companies, often smaller ones with a lack of formalized training programs in place, overlook the needs of the new employee and their gaps in knowledge, which can make a huge difference in having employees who are motivated and ready to perform.
Other companies are too focused on the need to find replacement workers for retiring baby boomers to care much about providing their younger employees with the necessary skills that will empower them to thrive in their new environment and become more productive and engaged in their work over time.
Orientation And Support Sessions
Among the effective ways of acclimating employees into their new roles are through orientation sessions, job shadowing with other employees, or providing either one-on-one or group training on company systems and software before throwing a new employee “to the wolves,” so to speak. Some companies take the added step of assigning an office buddy. During the first few days, this seasoned worker acts as a mentor – answering questions, walking the new employee around the workplace and making them feel welcome.
Orientation sessions can take a variety of forms, from simple to fancy, or from a half-day session to a few days of training, depending on the size and complexity of the organization.
Nothing is worse than saddling a new employee with the expectation that within their very first few hours they must be able to “hit the ground”
running. An example of a bad first day would be putting through customer phone calls to a new employee or expecting them to train themselves on unfamiliar company software with no assistance provided. Worse yet is the hiring manager who doesn’t bother to introduce the newest “company acquisition” to other staff, show them around the workplace or even tell them where washrooms or other common amenities such as restrooms are located.
Create The Best First Impression
Proper orientation and making a new employee feel welcome are vital links in a company’s success in both hiring and retaining long term, loyal employees.
Those first few hours, days and weeks into a new job form a lasting impression. What will that impression be? Will it be one that convinces an employee to remain with or leave an organization?
A company that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, of valuing human resources understands the importance of making a new employee comfortable as they enter into new roles by empowering them to succeed. A well-engineered orientation program is a vital link in rolling out the welcome wagon for new employees.
From David Egan