Employee onboarding

New employee welcome day: how to greet a new team member well

Anita Wojtaś-Jakubowska
New employee welcome day: how to greet a new team member well

Loss of employment usually ranks at the top in the rankings of the most stressful experiences. However, starting a new job also comes with specific challenges and tension. No matter how much experience and skills a new hire has when he or she crosses the company's door for the first time, it is always a stressful event. It is usually accompanied by doubts about how to find one's way in an unfamiliar environment. The first day at work is the moment when these doubts will either increase or slightly reduce. We are, of course, interested in the latter scenario.

What is a welcome day, and what definitely is it not?

Signing a contract, handing over the necessary documents to HR team, health and safety training or picking up equipment from the IT department and getting to know other team members - sound familiar? This is a common scenario for the start date at a new job. These activities are sometimes confused with onboarding. A study in which we looked at how long employee onboarding takes showed that as many as 21% of employees have only one day to get acquainted with their surroundings in their new workplace.

What if most of these things were already formalized when an new hire starts a new job? In the text, "Preboarding - how to use its potential" we argued that by using the time before day one properly, we gain back this very precious moment. We create space for the first day at work to focus less on administrative issues and more on soft and communication aspects, getting accustomed to the new job.

Let's save this time to the warmest welcome of the new team member in a way that doesn't overwhelm him or her. On the first day of work, it is worth communicating only the most important information to the new person. The entire effort should rather be put into warm welcome, building good first impressions, making new hires feel comfortable and creating friendly onboarding experience.

In order to make it work, it takes commitment on several levels. Welcoming new hires is not just the responsibility and privilege of the HR department. It's definitely a whole team game, with an important role played by the immediate supervisor, the buddy, as well as entire team members who can also be involved in the onboarding program from the very beginning.

First day at work: how to welcome a new employee well? - GIF | Blog Gamfi

The role of the welcome day in the context of the entire onboarding

The role of the welcome day in the context of the entire employee onboarding process should not be underestimated. Properly planned and consistent with the company culture, the welcome day allows the organization to make good first impressions on the new hires. Such an opportunity will not be repeated! The first day is a great opportunity to break the ice and have less formal conversations with other employees. In the long term, it is also one of the elements that build trust and a sense of belonging to the current employees team/company. The less stressful the beginning, the greater the chance of an effective implementation process. At this stage, let's leave the employer's expectations aside. Let's put the employee's expectations in the foreground.

How should a welcome day at a new company go?

Let's emphasize it again - a welcome day is not onboarding! The purpose of onboarding is to introduce the new employee to the organization's structures and the resulting responsibilities of the new position. With onboarding, the new hires should be able to perform their tasks independently, without external support, at 80-90%. Is it possible to achieve productivity at this level on the first day of work? On the contrary! The welcome day is only an introduction to the welcome week and theoretical implementation in the new job (which includes deeper understanding of the company culture, basic and onboarding training, e-learning), followed by practical implementation.

Welcome day is an important caesura that separates the time of preboarding from the actual implementation.

Welcome on board, so the first day in the new team

If day one is held stationary, it is worth ensuring that the new team member is greeted by a dedicated person. Buddy, manager or HR team should be waiting for the new hires already at the reception desk.

The first day at work is also a great opportunity to introduce the new recruit to the existing employees team and invite him or her to meet the direct manager. A conversation without the stress of recruitment will make a new employee feel comfortable. Already at this stage, it can also lay the foundation for long and successful journey and further communication with the immediate supervisor.

A welcome email sent to the entire team or organization stating who has just joined the company's structures and in what capacity is also a nice custom. Such welcome messages can also include information about the employee's previous experience, which will be valuable in his or her new position. A bit of general private information (e.g., about a love of Thai cuisine, regular marathon races or another passion) doesn't hurt either, if you know it and the employee agrees to share it in a wider circle. Such less formal communications act a bit like an ice breaker. They can facilitate the first conversations in a team, especially when working remotely, when there is no opportunity for spontaneous conversation over the coffee machine or during a group lunch.

The first day on the job is conducive to employee warm welcome to the team | Gamfi Blog [gif].

The biggest organizational mistakes during a new hire welcome day and how to guard against them

We don't live in a perfect world, so the first day at work doesn't always follow the scenario dreamed up by the employee either. According to our survey of a sample of 1,052 employees, some problems are recurrent.

To the question "What problems did you face on your first day on the job?" we got responses like this, among others:

  • I did not receive work equipment on time, e.g., computer, phone, etc. (8%)
  • The company did not have time to prepare the paperwork (10%)
  • No one took care of me that day (8%)
  • I received too much information about the company on the first day (15%)
  • My new team did not know I was joining them (8%)

The problems listed come down to two biggest mistakes on the employer's part - failure to communicate information and lack of organization in the implementation process.

On top of that, there is the issue of relations with new colleagues. Newcomers may experience the situation when entire office welcomes them, but this may just as well be accompanied by distance and even a sense of threat.

First day at work: how to welcome a new employee well - GIF | Gamfi Blog

A 2016 study (S. S. Nifadker, T.N. Bauer, "Breach of belongingness: newcomer relationship conflict, information and task-related outcomes during organizational socialization," 2016) proves that conflicts between new team members and existing employees are a common phenomenon. Possible misunderstandings at the beginning of cooperation can make a new employee less likely to seek support from experienced existing team members. Consequently, this will increase their stress and accelerate the burnout process.

Support of a digital tool

It's important to remember that a thoughtful onboarding plan organizes the activities you need to keep an eye on, so that 'day one' is free from overwhelming information or catching up on paperwork. Specific digital tools will help in this regard. Those that offer pre-developed best practices that are useful to both a new employee and managers or HR. Such a tool could be an onboarding app. In the Gamfi Onboarding app, for example, there is a separate process dedicated specifically to welcome day issues (although we recommend starting the onboarding process itself right after the recruitment is closed).

Stress on the first day at a new job - how to help new team members cope with it?

Is it possible to avoid stress during the first day at a new job? Probably not, but it's worth considering how to minimize it and, eventually, even turn it into amazing things such as excitement over a new professional challenge. To achieve this goal, first of all, you need to look at a new employee from his or her fresh perspective. A new role, a new team, a new work culture or industry - any of these can be associated with stress, regardless of the employee's seniority or previous professional success. It's worth keeping this in mind and simply thinking about the needs of the new hire with empathy. Preboarding itself will be the first step to take care of them, and it can be done on many levels.

Communication in the first days at a new job

When creating a welcome day plan, let's not forget about the space to talk to the new hire. Let's focus on his or her impressions and give the opportunity to ask questions.

First day at work: how to welcome a new employee well | Gamfi Blog

All doubts are worth clarifying and resolving on an ongoing basis. With every new day, the intensity of the onboarding process in a particular company may change. Seemingly trivial issues, such as the new company's values or structure, may remain unresolved or unclear for a long time, making it difficult for the employee to work effectively and present herself/himself at her/his best.

Buddy's support invaluable

Buddy's role throughout the onboarding process is invaluable. His/her support during the first day in a new work environment makes the new hire feel comfortable. It's about seemingly prosaic things like picking up from the reception desk, sharing coffee or a "welcome call," or introducing new co-workers. These are kind gestures that help eliminate stress, break the ice, open up space for further conversations and make new employees feel confident. The feeling of being " looked after" from the first day is a valuable resource that will definitely pay off in the future, already in everyday work.

Preboarding as a guarantee of a successful welcome day at work

Let's take a step back, however. Is a successful recruitment process and a candidate's signature on a preboarding letter a sufficient guarantee that a new employee will show up on the first day at a new job? Not necessarily. When thinking about organizing 'a day one', let's take into account the fact that silence on the part of the employer after the candidate has accepted the offer of employment increases the risk that the new employee will refuse to join the organization just before the formal start of work.

Pre-onboarding allows you to keep in touch with your employees even before their first day on the job. I Gamfi Blog [gif].

Let's make sure that where the "candidate experience" ends, the effective process of creating an "employee experience" begins. Both experiences should be compatible with the company culture and values. The key word is preboarding, which should be the beginning of the implementation process. It's a virtual handshake with the new employee and addressing many of their needs. All of this contributes to the quality and success of the first day at the new job. Actions worth taking as part of preboarding include:

  • ordering equipment and having it delivered on time to your home in the case of remote work, or information on where the equipment will be available for pickup if the welcome day is stationary,
  • completing the formalities for employment (medical examinations, completing the necessary data, preparing the contract),
  • providing the future employee with a digital tool to support onboarding,
  • sending the agenda for the first day of work,
  • providing information on the team structure, introducing the immediate supervisor and buddy,
  • providing access to necessary tools and applications.

In short, preboarding conducted effectively will ensure that 'day one' does not overwhelm new employees with an overload of information. At the same time, it can be a great start to theoretical implementation as part of the entire onboarding process. Instead of a race between HR department, IT or, in the worst-case scenario, wandering around the office looking for their workstation, we provide the new employee with greater comfort and less stress at the beginning of a new professional challenge.

A "to do" list for the new employee welcome day

A good practice checklist on the employer's side will be helpful in preparing for the start date. These are tasks that will create a framework for the welcome day and structure the necessary activities. They will help to avoid overwhelming new employees with a load of information, and those involved in welcoming new hires will know what tasks are on their side. What should be on such a list?

The first day on the job: a to-do list for the manager and HR I Gamfi Blog

Preparation of a plan for the first day of work (what meetings and with whom, what training).

It's a good idea to give it to the new employee a few days in advance to discuss issues that may be unclear. It should necessarily include what time the day one will start, how to get to the office, whether there is a parking nearby, who will be waiting at the reception desk, etc. All this information will help the new employee come on time and make a good impression.

Discuss the day one plan with the existing team members.

This is especially true if you plan to involve someone else apart from the Buddy in welcoming the new employee.

Workstation organization.

Make sure equipment, tools and any accesses are ready on time. The welcome day should be free of computer problems or.... its absence.

Provide a remote onboarding tool.

This point is crucial, especially if you work remotely or in hybrid mode. The onboarding application can usually be perfectly adjusted to the organization's needs and configured with other tools and systems the company uses. Its purpose is to support the manager, buddy and HR staff in guiding the new employee through the onboarding process. In the Gamfi Onboarding app, the whole adventure starts as soon as the HR employee clicks "hired" in the ATS system.

Completing a welcome pack.

A welcome kit usually consists of a few welcome gifts and occasionally books coherent with the company culture. Ensure that such a gift awaits each new employee on his or her desk during the day. If the implementation is done remotely, let's send a package to the address indicated earlier.

The first day at work is a challenge for everyone, not just the new hires themselves. Properly organized, however, it is like the successful launch of a manned mission embarking on an exciting interplanetary journey. We'd love to help you prepare your crew for such a trip and help them make a good impression on your new crew member. How do you feel about it?

Create onboarding that your employee will remember for a long time.

Test the Gamfi Onboarding app for free!

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