Help New Hires Break the Ice

If you’ve looked around and noticed a lot of new employees lately, you’re not alone. During 2018, the nation’s workforce grew by roughly 211,000 jobs or more per month, and inched closer to 250,000 new jobs/month by year’s end. Those numbers translated to an unemployment rate of 3.7%, one of the lowest rates ever seen.

How are your new hires acclimating to the workplace?

Help new hires get comfortable

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to starting a new job. Bad first impressions are a big reason why nearly a quarter of new hires quit within their first half-year of working. But when you’re adding multiple new hires to a busy workplace, it’s easy to overlook the fact that things like culture and connections matter.

What happens when work is so busy that first impressions are little more than a group introduction?

Below, we offer some practical tips to help new hires, management, and existing employees be involved in the process of breaking the ice.

It’s important to have a plan when it comes to onboarding new hires, especially if you’re your employee roster is growing rapidly. Read the report, “Constantly Hiring,” for tips on helping new hires get up and running with their work and your culture.

Read the Report

Get beyond names and faces

There are plenty of ways you can help new hires break the ice—or try to break the ice. But not every approach works for every person, or every situation. Perhaps your extroverted employees will love sharing stories or personal anecdotes, but the introverts might recoil into the nearest corner.

Here are a few practical tips to consider as you help new employees find their footing, get acquainted with their new coworkers, and gain confidence.

1. Gather insight from your seasoned employees.

Onboarding programs can be more successful when they involve other members of your team. But before you even get around to naming a welcoming crew, or following through on your mentoring program, your current employees can play a role in how you help new hires feel at home in the first few days. And one easy way to tap their collective knowledge is through designing a simple survey.

Employee surveys can help with retention. They can also help with how you handle the early days of your newest hire’s tenure. Consider the following questions as guides:

  • When you first started, what made you feel most comfortable about working here?
  • What do you wish we’d done differently in your first few days or weeks?
  • Did the early part of your onboarding experience give you a good sense of our culture?
  • What advice would you give to new hires to help them get comfortable with working here?

You can distribute your survey questions via email or printed handouts. Or you can ask these questions during group or individual check-ins with your seasoned employees and workgroups. With their feedback in hand, you can empower your new hires with tips and insights, and even connect them directly with seasoned employees when questions come up.

2. Use one-on-ones as a way to connect, then encourage new hires to reach out.

When you set time aside to meet with new hires individually, you’re letting them know how much they matter to the workplace. Granted, scheduling multiple one-on-ones can be difficult to do in an already busy workday. One tip: create a block during which you can have back-to-back, or even back-to-back-to-back one-on-ones.

  • Depending on your own workflow, this can be a way to let other employees know that you’re unavailable for a certain stretch on a particular day.
  • You can put another senior employee in charge of the office, workplace, or different work groups until you’ve wrapped up your last one-on-one.

During one-on-ones, you can let new hires know that they can reach out to experienced employees to help work through challenges, or find answers they need. Let your seasoned workers know ahead of time that you’ll be sharing their name. They might even want to circle back to new hires on their own to check in and find out how they can help.

3. Reinforce your company’s culture during group activities.

Talking about culture is one thing. But how does your company’s culture and values fold into the decisions you make every day? And how do they show up when you’re celebrating, or getting together in social settings?

  • Maybe your company prides itself on the way it celebrates birthdays, or acknowledges certain professional milestones. Such events, whether they happen in the workplace, or at an after-hours gathering, can surprise your new hires.
  • When possible, let them know the “why” behind such occasions. Doing so can help eliminate confusion, and show how celebrations are about the company and your people.

Helping new hires get situated with their workplace and their colleagues is about much more than making sure they’ve completed all of their onboarding paperwork. Taking more personalized steps can help jumpstart different types of connections around the workplace.

When you’re adding a number of new faces to your employee roster, it can be easy to overlook some onboarding steps, especially when things are busy. As your dedicated applicant tracking system, myStaffingPro supports managers, HR, and employees during the onboarding experience. Contact one of our representatives today, and find out how we can help you get more out of the hiring process.

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