Welcome on board
We continue to discuss pertinent topics in our series associated with the candidate / employee experience. I am sharing one of the most shocking but equally easy to rectify situations we get to hear about as recruiters, the way new employees are welcomed to their new business, or not as the case may be.
I have always found going on holiday a bit stressful because I am usually the one who has chosen the holiday destination, booked the flight and hotel, I am therefore the one to blame if it isn’t as described in the brochure. Upon arrival at the Hotel reception I tend to feel a bit ‘on edge’ crossing my fingers in anticipation of what kind of welcome we will receive. Is it time to breathe a sigh of relief and feel a little smug or time to panic?
I will get to the point shortly, please bear with me….… so, you survived the exhausting long-haul flight and have arrived at the hotel reception desk a little anxious and a tad excited much like you would feel on your first day in a new business. This is it, D Day, too late to turn back now. Rightly or wrongly, you did your research, you weighed up the short list of options and you made your choice, you committed. You discover after a long wait due to a lack of staff on reception that your room isn’t ready, the 2 rooms you had booked with interconnecting doors are no longer available and that lovely sea view is now a balcony facing the back of the Kids club. What is worse is your beloveds are a little tired and hungry and the restaurant closed 10 minutes ago, your stomach sinks, have you made a mistake? Admittedly, none of this is the end of the world but it isn’t the best of starts either and it has most definitely taken the edge off your excitement and has unsettled you, you’re left thinking if this is the best first impression, what else is will go wrong?
Now getting back to the relevance of this blog, unfortunately some people experience the ‘Not so welcome’ feeling during their first few days / weeks in their new role, unfortunately extending beyond the reception desk. We get to hear many experiences of the first impressions i.e. the start of the ‘onboarding’ process. This is of course the time that key impressions and judgements are made, it is a time that can be quite unsettling.
IMPROVE the WELCOME
- Prepare for the new arrival
- Decide who the best person is to meet them at reception
- Plan a familiarisation tour of the department / building
- Organise relevant meetings (face to face where possible) in the first day / week / weeks and the format these meetings will take (casual coffee or formal agenda, likely a mixture)
- Who will take them to lunch on their first day?
- Where are they sitting – do they have a desk?
- Does their equipment work, is it in good condition and clean?
Some businesses just do not prepare well enough with a ‘’we’ll sort it on the day’’ attitude that does not always set the right tone. We talked before about emotions being particularly heightened at key milestones and life changing times. Starting a new job is one of the top 10 life changing events, in line with getting married, divorced, moving to a new house, and having a baby. How your new employees feel when they go home in their first few weeks is very important.
Of course, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised, and the reality is so much better than we ever anticipated, and with a bit of foresight, empathy, and planning there is no reason why this can’t be achieved. A nice gesture is a company welcome pack, small touches are often the things people talk about and remember the most, a mug, company chocolates, pen set, anything really it doesn’t have to cost much but does show some thought went into their arrival.
The more ‘virtual’ welcome we are experiencing in current times is just as / if not more important, bearing in mind the new employee may have never set foot inside your building before or physically met any of the team or stakeholders apart from via their laptop screen. Approach this in the same way you would if they were in the office, schedule in meetings with those key stakeholders, organise a team lunch over Zoom, ensure the necessary equipment has been delivered ahead of time with those all-important chocolates, card, stationery, mini hamper, whatever you think shows them you care and are delighted to have them as part of the team.
Do not let your new employee question their choice of destination, get it right first time, go the extra mile and give them a warm welcome.