Starting a new job can be scary.
It is in your interests as a manager to help new starters settle in and feel at ease as quickly as possible - then they will be able to add the value you hired them for.
There is a lot you can do during someone’s first week to help them.
But one of the most important things you can do is to build rapport and trust with them.
You are going to have a close working relationship.
And in my experience as a coach, for most of my clients, the relationship with their boss has a massive impact in how they feel about work.
And of course, they will spend more time with their co-workers than with their family.
So helping them build rapport with their team quickly will pay dividends later, in having a happy and productive team member.
Here are some tips to help you support a new starter, and a build a positive relationship with you.
Helping them settle into the team
1. Make sure your people are ready for them.
Let your team know in good time that a new person will be starting.
Ideally do this in a team meeting, rather than over an email (which can be more easily ignored).
Remind them of their purpose in the team.
Talk about them as a person, and how they came across when you recruited them.
Send round a photo if you can.
Give them a potted history of their background, and encourage them to identify similar past experiences as a starting point for connections.
And then the day before, remind them again - particularly of their name!
And ask them to introduce themselves as soon as they meet them, explain their role on the team, and when appropriate mention any shared or similar past experiences.
Ask the people sitting near them to be particularly welcoming.
Help your staff understand that helping a new person feel welcome is part of what makes the kind of high-performing team that you all want to be part of.
And by familiarising your team with the new person in advance, you are already creating a situation where the new person fits in.
2. Create more organised opportunities for building connection
There will be specific people that the new team member will work with most often.
So set up some introductory meetings and/or coffees with these people (scattered throughout the first week, to avoid overwhelm!).
This is a chance to have a 1:1 conversation, to deepen relationships and understanding.
It is also a great idea to nominate a buddy, so they have someone to ask the “silly” questions that always occur when you’re new.
If possible, nominate or ask for a volunteer that is a similar grade, role and age, which will again help build rapport more quickly.
You can also consider whether nominating people for them to have lunch with is helpful.
Some people might find having an hour to themselves to absorb and process all the new information might be exactly what they want.
Others might like the opportunity to have an informal chat with more people.
So you could consider arranging volunteers, and offering it as an option.
3. Have all the logistical stuff prepared
There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere to feel unwelcome, or unexpected.
So do make sure all the practical stuff is ready for them: workstation, logins, all the usual HR requirements.
(And please never arrange for a new member of staff to start work when you are on holiday or away travelling…)
Helping them build rapport with you
1. Prepare for their arrival
There are so many areas of unknown, and opportunities for confusion, when you first start somewhere new!
As their boss, you are their main signpost, dictionary and Wikipedia.
Think about what you would like to know from a boss when you start somewhere new:
what are your main objectives in the job?
what are your boss’ priorities for now?
who are the best people to get to know first?
what short-term requirements do you have to meet (if any)?