According to Peter Singer, an Australian moral philosopher, an Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne,” I believe that in this new world that we live in, we often have a responsibility, you know, to actually go beyond the thou shalt nots – that is, the not harming others – and say we can help others and we should be helping others.”
Welcoming new employees and colleagues, if you’ll dwell upon it, is just a form of helping a new person brimming with anxiety, nervousness, and apprehension to adjust to new surroundings, a new world, a new chapter in life. We have all known the feeling of helplessness and sense of loss during our first few days at work and it is precisely because of this experience that we ought to get out of our way to welcome new hires. However, we should do it in style and with finesse. Let’s face it, the first day on the job is stressful for the new employee but it is also hectic for those charged with bringing the new person onboard. As much as we want to make everything to go smoothly, the combination of these factors of stress and hectic preparations makes it easy for some things to “fall through the cracks.” As a boss or HR personnel, bear in mind that the first day is a great chance showcase the company culture. Make things interesting, memorable, and fun for the new employees while highlighting the company values and strengthening the belief that they joined the right organization. With a little creativity and a bit of flair, you can welcome new hires like a boss.
Give meaningful introductions.
It is common practice to parade around the new employee in the office to introduce such employee to other employees. It is also common for the other employees to shake the new employee’s hands, say hi, or give simple welcome gestures for a minute or two before they turn around and go back to what they were doing before they were interrupted. As a manager or an HR personnel, you can give your new employees a more meaningful welcome but simply spending a little more time than usual in the introductions. The typical introduction will be like this, “Marco, this is Vito, the new employee. Vito this is Marco.” The meaningful introduction will go like this, “Marco, this is Vito, the new employee. Vito is our new business analyst. He’s amazing with Salesforce reports, so he’ll be a huge help with analyzing our current marketing strategy. In the meantime, he’ll be available to help put together reports for any of your current projects so to let her know what you need.” With this, you’ve acknowledged your new employee’s strengths (and made him or her feel valuable from day one) and given current employees an opening to make first contact to get the new hire immediately involved.
Give “New-Hire Boxes” as welcome kit to new employees.
Giving gifts to new employees is, admittedly, not something new. However, giving meaningful gifts that will reflect the company culture or core values can be really tricky. Give the traditional gifts some personality and swag in order to transform otherwise ordinary items into memorable yet practical gifts. So, instead of just giving a box with a mug and a pen with company logos printed on them, give them a box with a company mug and a pen PLUS a small handbook of the great places to eat around the workplace. You may even give a simple USB flash drive filled with necessary information about all the info or files that they are going to need for them to do their jobs well. A box with company outing pictures or outdoor events showing the camaraderie of the employees in the company might perk up the mood of the employee while giving such employee something to look forward to.
Make the employee undergo an initiation process.
Admittedly, initiations are also common in workplaces and are formally, or informally, applied to new people in the workplace. However, initiation processes that are meaningful are not as common as we want them to be. Oftentimes, the initiation processes are dependent on whimsical, spontaneous, or arbitrary factors that do not reflect the company ideals, or any other ideal for that matter, at all. Make the initiation process be a reflection of what the company’s missions are so that the employee will have a deeper appreciation of the institution that he or she has been admitted to. It is also important that everyone must undergo the same initiation process so that the sense of oneness, of belonging, of camaraderie with all colleagues will be established. If your company is an advertising firm, give the new employee, regardless of the position, flyers about the company that he or she can handout in the entrances of the target company clients. If your company is a service company like a food retailer, make the new employee be a part of service crew for a day. Get your new employee’s hands dirty but make the process meaningful.
Games and activities that will break the ice is ideal.
Make your new employee known to everyone, and vice versa, through activities that will have to be completed on the first few days on the job. Make your new employees go through a “scavenger hunt” in the office, for example, where they will have to get the treasures or tokens from different people in the workplace. Employees will be required to introduce themselves to the old employees and to ask such employees for assistance in accomplishing various tasks. This will not only force the new employees to know the other employees but will also be a refreshing break for everyone in the office. Giving new employees “Signature Sheets” might also be an idea. The new employees will have to go around the office during breaks for them to have their Signature Sheets signed by other employees. The new employees will also have to get some useful tidbits or personal information from the other employees that the former will need to write down beside the name and signature.
The bottomline is that you must think out of the box in welcoming your new employee.
Be creative yet practical. Showcase your company and still treat your new hires as ideal candidates that you have been wooing to work for you for the first few weeks. Put your best foot forward and avoid leaving them hanging after you have hired them. Remember, they can still resign during the probationary period if they would have the impression that they have made a mistake applying for your company. Keep in mind that hiring and retaining are two different ideas that need different approaches.