In all likelihood, your newest team member will spend their first day trying to make a good impression. You should probably do the same. After all, almost half of new hires resign within the first four months at their new job.
The first few days can be a crucial time to define a new hire’s role and show them how they fit into a dynamic team. This time is particularly important if you are a small agency with a strong brand voice. Your new team members will need to feel comfortable and confident with your message to do their job well.
A successful onboarding process requires a lot more than an orientation Powerpoint and a half-hearted introduction to the team.
Here are a few steps to help your new hire feel at home starting on their first day.
1. Don’t go silent after they sign the contract.
You need to establish strong lines of communication with your new team as soon as possible. Although their first day might come months after signing the offer, you should be in touch every once in a while to make them feel welcome. These brief emails are also a way to begin to introduce your new team member to your leadership style and company culture.
Send an email at least a week before their first day to tell them you are looking forward to working with them. Email again the day before with an outline of what they should expect when they arrive at the office so they can show up prepared.
2. Set up their space.
You don’t need to decorate a cubicle for them, but make sure the office is welcoming. Purchase any new supplies they might need and ensure there is a clean area of the office where they can set up on the first day. New hires will feel like a part of the team if they have a space they can call their own.
3. Assign them a mentor.
Any new team member will have dozens of questions. Connect them to a long-term employee who can teach them the culture and answer any queries as they come up. If possible, pair your new hire with someone who has had a lot of contact with your customers and can speak authoritatively about your brand. Not only will this person ease their transition onto the team, but they can also teach the new hire about how your company operates.
4. Don’t overload them with information the first day.
You may be tempted to run through the A to Z of everything that goes on in your office as soon as they walk in the door. Let your new hire breathe. In all likelihood, they won’t retain most of the information you teach them on the first day anyway.
Set up a week-long or month-long orientation plan that helps your new team member become acquainted with your brand and culture slowly. Don’t throw them straight into the fire either; that’s a recipe for burnout. The mentor you assign to them can also help tremendously by teaching them as issues come up, which will feel more organic.
5. Prepare an activity to do with the whole office.
It may take awhile for a new hire to feel like they are part of the team. Instead of running around the office to introduce them to the whole office while people are busy working, set aside half an hour to bring everyone together.
Share stories or break out a team building activity that requires the entire office to interact. Bringing in a pizza or a cake never hurts, either. Make sure you celebrate the arrival of your newest hire; after all, they are filling a gap on your team, and you will be working with them closely.
Starting off with a new agency can be stressful and overwhelming. Between memorizing names and learning the office rules, a new hire can feel anything but welcome in their new workspace. Make sure to set aside a specific time and place to celebrate and appreciate their arrival. You want all your employees to feel fulfilled and supported in their roles. Strive toward that goal from the very first day.