When’s the last time you started a new job? It may have been a while since you’ve been the newbie in an organization, and it’s easy to forget what that feels like. If you’ve been in your current position for a long time, the chaos of those first months may have faded from memory and been replaced by comfortable routines and relationships.
Being the new face in an organization can be struggle. You’re contending with a new physical environment, new coworkers, new job duties, new rules, and a new set of unwritten expectations – all that “newness” can be stressful! Add to that stress the looming uncertainty of the 3-month probationary period, and it’s no wonder new hires often jump ship during their first few months. With today’s current low unemployment rates and tough competition for strong candidates, retaining the new hires you’ve worked so hard to recruit is essential.
Keeping your probationary employees from running for the door can be a challenge, but there are some simple things you can do to promote a positive new employee experience.
Put yourself in your new hire’s shoes. They’re excited to have landed their dream job, they’re not sure what to expect, and they’re anxious not to mess it up. So, extend some empathy and patience if they stumble a bit in the beginning – remember that those first few days are nerve-wracking and exhausting, and cut your new employee some slack. Make sure you’ve left time in their schedules for them to get their bearings, navigate new systems and technology, and start establishing relationships with coworkers.
Don’t drown them in work. We get it. You’ve been recruiting for ages, and your existing employees have been picking up the slack as you search for the perfect fit. Now that you’ve found them, it can be tempting to celebrate by throwing them into the deep end and piling the backlog of work on top of them. Word of caution: Don’t. New employee burn out is real, and the short-term gain is not worth the long-term pain of losing a new hire because you burned them out in the few first weeks on the job.
Set the stage for conversations. Word to the wise: sending out cryptic calendar invites for mysterious 1-1 meetings in an employee’s first weeks can be a big stress trigger. Though it might be totally normal in your organization to have frequent meetings, unless they’re a mind reader, you could be unknowingly setting off alarm bells. Make sure new employees know what to expect in terms of check-ins, and set them at ease before conversations happen by telling them what to expect so that they’re not immediately jumping to “Are you going to fire me?”
Give them the tools to succeed. If new employees don’t know where the bar is set, chances are good they’re going to fall short. Set expectations from the get-go by creating clarity around your policies, procedures, and performance expectations, and by cluing them in to your organization’s unique culture. Sometimes the things that aren’t written down are just as important as your formal policies, and a quick debrief on things like team social rituals, lunchtime culture, and casual Friday dress code can make the transition to a new position much smoother!
Your Engaged HR Assignment:
Bringing a new hire on board? Get your ducks in a row before they start – remind yourself of what it’s like to be a new employee, and set them up for long-term success by using the guidelines above.
Don’t have a solid and streamlined onboarding process in place yet? We’re happy to help make the process painless!