Whew! After a phlanx of interviews and resumes, late nights, early mornings and lost lunches, you've just hired that new team member. Now you can sit back and focus back on work. Not so fast. It's important as they're new boss to make this transition period in their life bump- and trouble-free. It will not only behoove you, but will also ensure that your new hire is happy, engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated.
What most managers don't realize is that the new team member has been interviewing and they might still be on the market. Any inclination or occurrence to upset the apple-cart might make them flee quickly. So it is in your best interest to keep them happy.
- First Impressions — Have someone greet them when they arrive (either you or your assistant) on their first day. Bring them up to their desk, let them get settled, and have a short, 10-15 minute meeting planned first thing in the morning just to temp-check. Also, make sure that everything (and I mean everything) is in place — their desk, supplies, laptop, passwords, systems, software, phone, and paperwork. One thing that gets the new hire to question the efficiency of the company is to drop the ball at this time.
- Plan Their Day — If your company has an orientation process, great. If not, have an itinerary on their desk with meetings, paperwork to fill out, and time for them to learn the basic communication platforms. Make sure that you schedule a lunch with them to discuss three things — their current responsibilities, what you expect of them in the next week/two weeks/month and get their feedback. After lunch, when you return to the office, send them home at around 2-3 PM. Why? Most people are pent-up with anxiety and nervousness the first day — show them that you care by letting them leave early, regroup, and come back fresh the next day.
- Plan Their Week — Schedule a series of meetings with their peers, subordinates, and any other superiors. Tell everyone these are introductory meetings — 'getting to know you'. This will give them a better lay of the land, understand what everyone is doing, and how they fit in. It also makes them feel part of the family. And it gives the people a chance to meet 'the new person'.
- Eliminate Obstacles Quickly — Inform them if anything is in their way (people, processes, things) or if they have any questions, stop by and let you know ASAP. It shows that you care and are willing to work with them. If it's something you can't do, help them get around the obstacle. If they are unreasonable, listen to them. but be firm about their objection. Also, let them know that you encourage mistakes, so they are not hesitant to try something without constantly bothering you.
- Get Their Feedback — At the end of the week, set aside some time to get their impressions, ideas, and feedback. Having someone who listens is critical at this juncture — the weekend is the decision-point for most executives — whether to stay or flee. So your job is to get them to open up, deal with any objections, and help them acclimate to their new environment.
Years ago, at one of my new positions, I contemplated leaving the company at the end of the first week — what they advertised in the position was nowhere near what I encountered. So I met with my boss and let him know. He said, "Rich, I like you and feel that you are perfect for this position. Come back to me with a plan to change your position and we can discuss it." I came back Monday with a new plan and he embraced it immediately. I stayed for six years.
What do you do to make your new hires feel more comfortable during their first week on the job?