You probably remember your first day on the job—that mix of excitement and anxiety of starting in a new company, wanting to do your best to stand out. Well, now you are the business owner and, among your responsibilities, you’re welcoming those new employees who, like you, might be a little stressed on their first day on the job.
Studies confirm that the way you welcome new team members can affect their engagement with the company, for better or worse. This means that a hectic orientation day—the result of poor preparation before the reception—can harm new employees. It can cause them to feel unwelcome and can cause higher turnover in the long run.
A creative and well-planned reception of new talent is essential to create enthusiasm for the company. After all, as the popular saying goes, the first impression is what remains. Follow a few essential steps to organize an efficient welcome for incoming employees.
A well-planned welcome is something pleasant and friendly at its core. However, it’s also a management strategy that can result in greater productivity for newcomers. That’s why it’s important to do it well. Days before the arrival of the newcomers, sit down with the rest of the team to gather input and write out a formal plan.
There are several things you should prepare in advance, including:
- Have the HR team send a more informal letter congratulating the new employees. It may be accompanied by a care package with cookies or a coffee mug with the company’s logo.
- You can even make a welcome phone call yourself the day before their arrival, making them feel valued.
- Create any documents or slideshows to be used in training ahead of time so that information is clear and error-free.
- Have new employees’ desks prepared in advance. This includes a ready-to-use computer and a set-up corporate email account.
- Encourage the rest of the team to send personalized welcome emails to the new colleagues, creating a bond from the beginning and reducing anxiety for those just starting.
Train Existing Staff
The first day (or first days) in the company serve mainly to create a connection between those arriving and those who already work there. It’s a time when everyone, not just the CEO, should help newcomers by explaining the company’s goals, values, and mission. To do this in the best possible way, you could promote a brief training of the existing staff, explaining the importance of welcoming new employees.
Make sure everyone is aware of who they are. As newcomers will be overwhelmed with new information (and experiences) in the first few days or weeks, colleagues need to be prepared to help and guide them whenever necessary. You can even assign someone to be their “go-to” person for any questions while new employees get used to the workplace.
Cover Insurance Policies Thoroughly
The arrival of new employees is a great opportunity to make sure that your business has the necessary insurance. Study workers’ compensation laws to stay up to date and to make the new employees feel safe. Mandatory in most states, workers’ comp provides coverage for employees who are injured on the job or acquire an occupational disease over time (musculoskeletal disorders, repetitive strain injuries, temporary or permanent deafness caused by loud sounds, etc.).
When this happens, policyholders are entitled to:
- Lost wages replacement
- Paid medical treatments
- Vocational rehabilitation
To prevent this from happening, you can consult the U.S. Department of Labor website, which features several programs designed to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.
Check in Often
Perhaps you think that just one welcome activity is enough and the job is done. However, recent studies show that many people quit in the first 45 days of employment, usually because the new employee didn’t feel welcomed by the colleagues or wasn’t properly prepared for the new function. That’s why everyone must be ready to help and guide new employees whenever necessary. It’s challenging to learn everything in a few days, so the business owners themselves should check in frequently and ask how things are going.
In addition to promoting an open-door policy, you should also promote positive company culture, with activities that encourage interaction between the existing team and those just starting. This could be business conferences and activities or more informal lunches with the team. You could even host a happy hour on Fridays so that everyone can get to know each other better.
A Warm Welcome is Also a Way to Save Money
As a business owner, you’re certainly aware that the process of hiring and training new employees is not free. If new hires don’t feel welcomed by the company or the rest of the team, they will likely quit within six months. This can double or triple your costs of hiring and training their replacements.
Making newcomers feel welcomed from day one (or even before) is a much cheaper way to avoid turnover and retain talent. You’ve been in their shoes, and you know what it’s like. Having proper insurance coverage will also make the newcomers feel really safe and valued in their new job.