Adapting to a new job is a big challenge for many new employees. According to recruitment consultant company Hays, it can take a new employee anywhere from three to six months to adjust to a new role. This can be an even greater challenge for organizations that have to onboard employees remotely due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
While onboarding new employees can be difficult, equipping newcomers with the right skills and mentorship opportunities is vital to ensure high efficiency, productivity, and low turnover rates. Below, we’ll go over 5 tried and tested tips to help new employees adjust to their job, whether that’s in the workplace or from their own homes.
How People Adapt to New Jobs
For new employees, landing a new job can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. While there are many new opportunities, it can be difficult being the newcomer confronted with a new working environment, unfamiliar colleagues, and unknown expectations.
New employees tend to prioritize their learning, focusing on understanding the business’s strategic priorities and their role in the organization. This learning includes understanding who their key team members are and which tasks they are responsible for on a daily basis. As for interpersonal relationships, it takes time for new employees to gain rapport with colleagues and team managers. Employees tend to note their boss and team members’ communication styles and expectations to see how they can work effectively together.
Why it’s Your Company’s Responsibility to Help Employees Adapt
If your organization doesn’t have a proper onboarding program and expects new employees to achieve spectacular results within 3 months, then you’re losing out on money and talent. According to a study from the Society of Human Resource Management, the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129. It also takes approximately 42 days to fill the position.
According to Forbes, there are also costs associated with employees that are unproductive because of a poor onboarding experience.
5 Tips to Help New Hires Settle in Quickly
I. Have a 90-day Onboarding Process
A good 90-day onboarding process can help new employees build trust and alignment with their team members and the organization, engage employees early on, and decrease turnover rates. Adequate onboarding programs are rare and those that do exist are usually insufficient. Common 2-day onboarding efforts tend to leave new employees ill-prepared in their first 3 months when it comes to understanding their role, building key relationships, and adjusting to the company culture.
For your 90-day onboarding process, it’s important to prepare your existing staff members for the new employee, ensure their workstation is ready to go, and make sure they have access to all the necessary tools and programs. You should also schedule a time for the new employee to meet with key people and departments. Also consider arranging a lunch gathering so the new employee and team can bond and build rapport.
If you’re onboarding remote employees you can use a similar framework. For example, you can send them a warm welcome via email and encourage other team members to reach out via Slack, Zoom, Telegram, etc. I recommend having a friendly Zoom introduction call the first week so your new employee becomes familiar with other people in the company and their roles.
When it comes to their workstation, you may need to budget additional money for your new hire to set up their home office and provide them with an ongoing stipend every month for office supplies, internet, and utility bills.
II. Encourage Leaders to Connect with New Employees
According to Amy Fox, President, CEO, and founder of Accelerated Business Results, “When [leaders] engage with employees on a personal level, they feel like you care about them, value their contributions and understand their point of view. When that happens, employee commitment and engagement increases. In essence, people will want to work more for you when they know you are invested in them and care about all the things that impact their world and workplace.”
This effect is enhanced with new employees since they’re in the process of understanding their place in the company. Encouraging leaders to connect with new employees is a great way to help them build relationships and make them feel like they’re part of the team.
The same can be said for remote hires. Leaders can reach out and welcome the new hire into the company. A simple email, slack message, or Zoom call is a great way to build rapport. If you want to take this a step further, managers can assign leaders in every group. These leaders can help remote hires understand questions that are more specific to their role, like how to share key documents, how to handle disruptions in the home, or how to install and setup a VPN.
III. Expose New Hires to the Company Culture
It can be challenging to learn the company culture and integrate successfully within a few months. That’s why your organization needs to take active steps to help new hires assimilate effectively.
Ron Carucci, co-founder and managing partner of Navalent, believes that “Organizations must be intentional about helping new hires adapt to organizational values and norms, especially during that first year. At key intervals – three, six, and nine months – hiring managers should formally engage them in conversations about the organization’s history and brand, how performance is measured and rewarded, and how growth opportunities arise.”
While exposing remote hires to the company’s culture can be difficult, there are many activities you can do to unify a workforce that’s not in the same physical space. During the pre-boarding process, provide them with the typical information they need such as details about their role and responsibilities in the company, but take extra care to provide information about the company’s values, ethos, and culture. Once the employee has a good understanding of their new work environment, you should encourage coworkers to connect with new employees and pair them up with a buddy or mentor to help them transition and adjust.
I also recommend giving new hires a welcome package that reflects your organization. Examples include branded merchandise, a welcome letter from the company’s leader, and cool personalized gifts like a book, headphones, or gift cards to a popular online store.
IV. Encourage Open Communication
If your organization has a culture of honest and open communication, it’s vital you share this with your new employees during the onboarding process. However, encouraging open communication is more than just mentioning its importance in your company’s mission and values statement.
You need to take active measures like ensuring that managers and leaders engage with employees on a personal level. They also need to show respect to all employees. Ask employees for their input and opinions, and actively listen to them regarding problems or suggestions.
V. Use the Right Tools to Get Them Started
It’s always important to plan ahead and ensure new hires have the right workspace and equipment to get started. To equip them with the right tools, you can put together a new employee checklist to make sure you have these ready.
On your checklist, you can include compliance pre-boarding documents, briefing papers, workstation equipment, a guide to the software they’ll be using, a guide to the financial and health benefits they gain, and a guide to the company culture.
If your employee is working remotely, you’ll need to confirm that they have all the necessary equipment required. Provide manuals on how to use primary communication tools like the company email, group messaging and video tools like Slack, Zoom, and Skype, and any project management applications you use. You should also set up regular meetings with your new hire to see how they’re doing and whether they need any assistance with the new tools.
Adapting to new jobs and work environments is generally a difficult, nerve-wracking, and challenging process for many, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Your organization can welcome new employees in-person and remotely with extended onboarding processes, showing them that your company is well prepared and glad to have them on board. During the onboarding process, we recommend having leaders connect with new hires, exposing new hires to the company culture, encouraging open communication, and ensuring that they have all the tools they need to get started. By helping new employees transition into a new working environment your company is effectively reducing employee turnover, boosting talent retention and acquisition rate, and saving significant time and money.
Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 9,000 companies all around the world track time.
Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.
When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family, friends and finding ways to make the world just a little better. You can find Dean on LinkedIn.