How to welcome new employees

Summer is here, which means you’ll be seeing an influx of recent college graduates enter the job market. When organizations hire employees during this time, they are taking in new hires that not only have to adjust to the unique company culture, but many of these employees are entering a full-time job for the first time. Therefore, having an effective welcome policy will be more important than ever in the next few months.

A successful welcome approach goes beyond giving a tour of the building and flipping through HR presentations. Organizations must create a friendly atmosphere during the onboarding process to maintain retention and keep employees happy. Here are a few strategies to get you started on developing your welcome policy:

Give a welcome card
This welcome card is separate from the letter that explains when the new employees start and what the dress code is. Rather, it should serve as a friendly greeting that allows you to say “welcome” on a more personal level. A fun, creative greeting card is a great medium for this salutation. It demonstrates both your company’s thoughtfulness and professionalism.

Send it right after the job offer, or have it waiting on the new hire’s desk on his or her first day. This card should either come from the hiring manager or the employer so the new staff member knows who to report to. Be creative with how you deliver this card. If you have it on the person’s desk, decorate the whole cubicle or office with welcome signs or streamers. This is the perfect way to reflect your organization’s culture, and you can even have a designated welcome committee do the job. Company swag is always appreciated by new employees trying to get acclimated with the swing of things, too.

Consider using a photo card instead of the typical greeting card. A photograph gives a more personal touch, and it shows the more human side to your organization. Plus, your new employee will appreciate being able to recognize some of the faces around the office from the welcome card.

Provide a mentor
There are few routes you can take when pairing mentors with new employees. Depending on the culture of your organization and employee preferences, you may want to assign someone who has no reporting relationship with the new employee. By having just your average-Joe co-worker partner up with a rookie staff member, that new person can ask questions he or she may feel too intimidated to ask a superior. You can either have someone who is designated to do this job, or you can rotate between volunteers.

As another route, you can extend the hiring manager’s responsibilities to helping new employees get acclimated with the job. This person should set up weekly or bi-weekly check-in meetings to see how recent hires are doing. This effectively relieves some of the anxiety that comes with starting a new job because you provide a specific opportunity for the new staff member to ask questions.

Make an introduction
Part of adjusting to a fresh start is getting to know more people. You can walk your rookie employee around the office and expect them to memorize everyone’s name, but that’s not very practical. It’s easier for everyone to memorize that one person’s name than the other way around.

While you should still have that initial tour and quick meet and greets, you can also make a formal introduction of your new employee. One of the most effective ways to do this is to send out a company-wide email. Include the staff member’s name, job title, contact information and some background on his or her education and work experience. Better yet, have new hires fill out a goofy questionnaire and include the answers in the email (with their permission, of course). This more personal approach will provide opportunities for other employees to relate or strike up a conversation.