On behalf of everyone here at Independence Incorporated, we wish you a very happy new year! And yes, we know 2015 is now a week old. Please forgive us for being a tad late on the well wishes. But as you can imagine, we keep pretty busy. As do the many great business owners that exist all over Canada. And this is especially true for those who have started the new year off by hiring new staff. “Growing the company” is likely a New Year’s Resolution for many.
With our many years of experience assisting individuals back to the workplace after long layoffs due to illness or injury, we have learned quite a bit about the importance of making the transition a smooth one. Often, it’s not at all unlike starting a job all over again from scratch. If you’re in the position of hiring new staff or welcoming back an employee who has been away, you may want to consider some important steps in making the process as comfortable as possible. Here are six tips.
1. Offer a welcoming treat. Making your new staff member’s first day on the job a pleasant one will definitely go a long way. To really make a new or returning employee feel right at home, you may want to offer a kind gesture of some sort. On Inc.com, Lou Dubois writes that you should engage your new employee “by communicating and asking how things are going and by taking them to lunch or coffee, even if it’s just in the office.”
2. Present a comfortable working environment. Remember that there is only one opportunity to give a great first impression. The more comfortable you make your new hire or returning worker, the more productive he or she will be in the long run. Katie White of AssociationAdviser.com suggests that you “treat the training room/building as if it’s your home and you are welcoming out-of-town visitors.”
3. Be accessible and approachable. One of the top reasons that employees will find their work difficult is because of their inability to communicate effectively with their managers. Too often, they are intimidated to do so. To avoid this, Dubois recommends that you maintain “an open-door policy as a manager and ensure that this is communicated to every employee, not just the new hire. This exudes that if they have questions, you’ll be there for them.”
4. Pace their entry on to your team. You may really be eager to get your new employee or returning worker to engage with the rest of your staff members. These relationships, however, will take time. Try not to rush things. Creating a comfortable environment means not doing too much too early. White advises that you “introduce new employees to just a few people each day so they are not overwhelmed with new names and faces.”
5. Define job requirements early. Naturally, it’s all well and good to make your employees feel comfortable at work. But you’ll also need to be firm about what you expect from them. “Include both short- and long-term projects for the new hire from an early stage,” writes Dubois, “New employees feel an inherent desire to contribute to the business right away. You don’t want them working on the big projects, though, until they’re really up to speed on the way your company works.”
6. Keep them informed. Employees like to be in the know about what’s happening with the business they work for. But this goes double for those who are new and still trying to get a grasp of the lay of the land. You’ll want to make sure they are aware of who they can speak to for help. To assist with this, White recommends that you “provide a management contact sheet with details on who does what. It can be overwhelming at first to know who does what.”