A new person will bring new ideas, new energy, and things you may not find out about for a few months. Engaging this new person is critical, getting them to feel welcome, to take ownership and, to be part of the team as soon as possible.
What this means, is that they and the business, can move forward. But how do you do this? Well, here are a few top tips and exciting ideas on how to engage new hires!
Taking on new team members is always a positive process. Regardless of whether it’s because your business is growing or because you are replacing someone who left, a new hire should always be viewed as a step forward. So, the first step to engaging a new hire is to feel positive about their arrival.
Getting to know them
This is so important and there are two key reasons. The first reason is simply that getting to know anyone who works in your business is critical to a healthy happy team. It’s not just about knowing a new hires’ name and being able to say hello when you pass their desk.
It’s also not just about knowing they have 2 kids and like cycling. It’s about having some level of understanding about what makes them tick and this comes from good communication. Are they driven by the carrot or the stick? What does motivate them? Is it praise or cash?
Getting to know them will help understand if they like teamwork or work better alone. They may be shy or introverted, they may struggle with anxiety but be incredibly driven when they are in the right environment. Basically, take some time to chat more than once, ask around, and be aware you may not get the full story straight away.
The second reason for the why and how to engage new hires, is to avoid creating the tension that almost always exists between managers and teams. Owners, managers, CEOs, and other senior people all feel like team members should think and act like them, it’s common and quite natural.
This creates a tension that isn’t very productive. By getting to know all new staff from the outset you can reduce this and help to engage them sooner and more deeply over a long period of time.
Teach new hires something they don’t know and let them teach you
New team members will no doubt have skills and experience that other people in the organisation don’t. But they may also be lacking in some areas the existing staff or managers can help with. A great way to engage new staff is to work this both ways. Give them a choice about what they would like to learn and make it happen.
Pay for a course or spend some time training them one to one. At the same time, go through their skill set with them and find something others could enjoy. If they are comfortable, ask them to share their knowledge. It may be a one-to-one session or they may want to do a small group training session. Nothing makes people feel more welcome than being asked to
share their knowledge as well as being given new skills to add to their existing set. Sarah Bull from The Hideout Says
“Teaching someone a new skill is a great way to engage them and really bring them into the team. But getting them to share something others want to know about can really get things moving!”
Engagement is contagious
Just like many other things in the workplace, how to engage new hires and lessons on engagement is something that can be passed between staff. If someone who has been on board for 12 months is excited and still feeling part of the company then someone who has only been there for 2 months will pick up on this.
Not only will the newer hire feel positive about their role but they will be looking at the other person and positively viewing of their future. It can spread across teams too; it can spread from location to location and right through a company if processes are in place to make sure each person is treated in a positive way.
A company that gets to know it’s staff properly and acts on that will be well thought of by anyone who works there. But take engagement further and people will actively talk about it long after they leave.
Get onboarding and preparation right
So much can be done before the person even enters the building on their first day. Laying the foundations for them so that “first day” isn’t awkward and stressful can make a huge difference. Bring them in for a few hours a couple of times before they start, allow them to say hi to a few people, and generally get comfortable.
Also, it allows them to engage in the company culture before they start and that is very important. Make sure they have seen their desk, they know where things are and who people are. Provide them with uniforms, stationery, passes, or anything else they may need before they arrive.
The aim here is that they arrive already engaged, they already feel at home and the first day is just an extension of the previous efforts. Taking away those new job barriers will help get them involved sooner and that means more engaged and more productive sooner too.
Sarah Wetzel – HR Consultant from BBSI says “I truly believe that onboarding is an art. Each new employee brings with them the potential to achieve and succeed. To lose the energy of a new hire through poor onboarding is an opportunity lost.”
Get it right and engage them from the start!
But why is engagement important?
It is worth taking some time to simply ask “why bother with all of this?” At its core, the process of engaging new hires is about getting the best out of them but also making sure they stay.
Staff churn can sometimes be acceptable but generally, it’s costly and often businesses simply don’t understand why employees are leaving. They no doubt look at salary and perks, office space and equipment but often forget it may simply be due to the fact staff just don’t feel part of the business.
What if the hire isn’t very good?
You may put everything in place to excite, engage and support your new hire but what if they simply aren’t cut out for the job? Being the right person for a job is not always a cut and dried affair. In some cases, an employee can grow into a role, in others they can move to a different role or simply get better with time and training.
However, there are some situations where they just aren’t meant to be there. This is where employee engagement won’t make a difference. In fact throwing time, money, and resources at engaging someone who may already be thinking they should leave is a costly process.
Engaging a new hire is a powerful tool in any employer’s armoury of success but it has it’s limits. The individual may be so utterly uninterested that they just hope they can somehow avoid detection and still get paid.
Other people may have a very high opinion of themselves and feel that any effort to teach them how to engage new hires or to offer training and other things is insulting. These people certainly aren’t going to last and speaking to HR would be advisable.
Diversity as engagement
All workplaces should have an effective diversity plan in place as a matter, of course, these days and there can be a range of benefits. By having a representative workforce you will, by default, be able to engage almost anyone in terms of diversity.
For example the, now very old-fashioned, idea of an all-male “locker room talk” workforce perhaps isn’t going to feel very welcoming to someone from the LGBTQ+ community. They may not feel engaged and part of the company even if the team are all very welcoming.
By having a diverse workforce you are allowing a subconscious and more overt engagement. This creates a place where people feel they are welcome and represented without having to think about any potential ignorance or lack of awareness.
Engagement stays with people
Sadly, in some cases, an individual may just not be cut out for a role and if there is no scope for changing roles or more training then they may still have to leave. Or someone may feel it’s time to move on to another role. These people will remember your efforts to offer training, welcoming them into the company, and more.
Even if things don’t work out they may speak to others who could work for you and a good employee engagement process can make those discussions very positive. Treating staff well is always important but making people feel part of something can really have a long lasting effect which reflects very well on the wider business and the owner.
While these tips are great there is so much more that can be done. Small things like welcome packs for staff, group lunches and training days outside of the office where everyone is learning something new can make new hires feel welcome.
Other ways on how to engage new hires include assigning a mentor or buddy to help integrate new staff can really help with engagement too. But getting the right people matched up can be a challenge and this should be planned carefully.
The key is not to leave them to engage themselves, it will happen over time but negative feelings and empathy may creep in. Work hard to bring new hires into the fold, share company successes, share knowledge and ultimately share the company with them.
About the Author
Aaron James is a freelance writer from Sussex working in a range of business verticals from eCommerce to Staffing and HR. As well as business writing Aaron also works on content in other areas including mental health, science, and marketing. When he isn’t writing Aaron spends his time trying to find good waves to ride in the South of England…which isn’t very easy!