Starting a new job is an exciting time — and a stressful one. There are new opportunities, but also new processes, new supervisors, and new co-workers to become familiar with. Entering a place where everyone already knows each other and how to work together is intimidating.
As a business leader, one of your responsibilities is to ease the discomfort new employees experience. They are a part of your team and should feel welcomed and wanted additions. In this article, you’ll discover ways to make a new employees feel like they belong.
How Do You Help New Employees Feel Like They Belong?
We have created an extensive list of tips and tricks that are guaranteed to make any newcomer feel like they belong.
1. Supply a Guide to the Company
Before assigning tasks to your new hire, make sure they understand your workplace. An employee manual or company guide will be a welcome resource. Employees can refer to it for information about policies, company history, and staff structure. Think of it as their orientation materials.
The guide should be able to answer any basic questions that you may not have covered in the hiring process. It could also explain where to find commonly used files or materials. With this resource, new hires can skip the awkward stage of not knowing where anything is.
Your company information could exist in a printed document or an online knowledge base. You may even employ technical writing services to create your manual. Doing so would free up your team’s time to do other things to make new employees more comfortable.
2. Facilitate Introductions
Once you’ve provided a guide to the company, take your newbie around to meet the team. Better yet, arrange a time you can all get together rather than singling people out. Something casual, like a lunch, can be a laid-back way for immediate team members to meet.
Beyond simply making introductions, try to foster ways staff can get to know each other early on. Finding some commonalities with a new group can go a long way to deepening a recent hire’s sense of belonging. It can also help your team work better together as a whole.
After your new staff member has met their immediate co-workers, introduce them to others they may work with. This may include your upper-level managers, contacts from other departments, and clients. Meeting these people upfront will make working with them later less daunting.
3. Create a Welcoming Workspace
Another way to prevent stress is by having an organized workspace. Once your new employee starts, keeping their workspace tidy is their responsibility. However, it’s your job to make sure they are set up for success. You also want to give them enough space to personalize their office and maybe introduce a plant or two. Having a little greenery around is shown to improve workplace productivity.
Whether your rookie is in a private office or shared workspace, ensure they have the basics they’ll need to do their job. In addition to a working computer, mouse, monitor, and keyboard, provide niceties like pens and paper. Including a welcome kit with company swag or additional tools — stapler, scissors, etc. — they can use is a nice touch.
Regardless of how stocked or streamlined you make the new employee’s designated space, make sure it’s clean. Empty workstations often accumulate supply closet overflow or become the unofficial office lost and found. Find a new location for these items, and give the space a good cleaning to provide the best welcome.
4. Extend Invitations
Your new employee should feel welcome in more than just their own office. For their first few weeks, personally invite them to meetings instead of just adding these events to their calendar. This includes any staff, project, or client meetings they’ll be participating in.
It may also be beneficial for them to attend meetings their role normally wouldn’t. They’ll get a chance to learn how the company works from a new perspective. Additionally, they’ll see what their co-workers do and how their roles can collaborate.
Receiving a direct invitation will make your new hire feel like you want them to be included. It can go a long way toward building their sense of belonging. This personal touch can also help build the employee’s confidence as they learn the ins and outs of their new job.
5. Schedule Low-Pressure Follow-Ups
As time goes on, your newbie will settle into their role and responsibilities. Questions will become less frequent, and they’ll be able to focus on their job rather than learning about the company. It’s a good place to arrive at for both the employee and the employer.
To ensure everyone stays happy, schedule regular check-ins with your new team member to see how they are settling in. These meetings are a good place for them to ask lingering questions or share any struggles they are experiencing. Knowing what is still tripping them up can help you adjust the onboarding process and improve it for those you’ll hire in the future.
Encouraging a newer staff member to speak up about what is and is not working for them is powerful. They’ll know their opinion is respected at work, which will create trust and help build their relationships with others. Strong relationships, in turn, build the foundation of a great company.
Creating a Connection
We all spend a lot of time with the people we work with. Feeling like you belong is an important part of your happiness as an employee. No matter how amazing a company is, you won’t want to work there if you don’t establish a connection.
The effort to foster those connections begins before your new employees ever start. Review your current process and find places to implement positive changes. The work you do on that now will create an environment where all your employees feel like they belong.