Landing a job after a rigorous selection process could be quite fulfilling and comforting. However, these feelings could soon turn into that of despair as you settle in for the job proper. So many things could go wrong; from a shabby induction programme to unwelcoming colleagues. It is then important for HR practitioners to put in place programmes that will make new employees feel welcomed.
While it is easier for employees to forget the apprehensions and fear they went through at the recruitment stage, it is a lot difficult to put behind experiences of the first week in a job. Arguably, the experiences could go on to shape employees’ performance and attrition. Companies do espouse friendly employment practices when searching for talents and it is important to know that most employees opt to work for companies with the best friendly practices. It then becomes pertinent for employers to walk the talk.
After the customary documentation and paper works, new employees should be officially welcomed into the organisation. Let me sound a note of caution here, there is no single or best way of doing it but I am of the opinion that CEOs should get to meet newly employed personnel irrespective of their grade; whether they are senior executives, midlevel managers or graduate trainees. A rare chance of listening to a CEO talking about his organisation’s culture often ignites zeal and passion from new employees.
Speakers can also be invited from within and even outside the company to deliver keynote addresses which are intended to motivate and inspire employees to delivering the goods. They can be drawn from various departments that make up the company. This aids familiarisation with the works of every department and the key people behind it. It also paves way for cross-learning and lays the foundation for career progression.
The bits and pieces of employee handbooks also need to be explained during the induction sessions with all the grey areas clarified. Policies on issues like maternity and sick leave, internal job vacancies, career development and others are dear to the hearts of every employee and time should be taken to elaborate on them. This could prevent avoidable acrimonies and possible litigations that might arise in employment relationships.
Another thing that I feel is necessary to unbundling new employees is for them to be taken on a tour within the company. They need to be shown the various offices and introduced to the people manning them. It paves way for subsequent interactions with other employees and enables easy flow of work across units. Asking for direction to the toilet could be humbling to some people or not quickly locating the first-aid box in case of an accident could be fatal. Hence the need for a tour!
It won’t be out-of-place to treat new employees to a buffet as part of an induction programme or any other form of entertainment. It creates an informal setting where staffs can bond together and share similar interests. If the HR team is working with a tight budget, a game of cards or Bingo can serve. The bottom line is to create a relaxed atmosphere.
Distinct organisational culture is an essential element of every company which makes it important for new employees to learn and imbibe its values. While I do understand that culture cannot be taught but lived and experienced, I always advocate for training on organisational culture for new employees. The training could mostly be prescriptive though, it still spells out the driving values of the company. Every action of employees should reflect these core values.
New employees also have a role to play in their own unbundling as it is not a company – only thing. People who have worked elsewhere should realise that what obtained in their former place of work might not be tolerated in a new company. No two organisations are the same; each one is distinct in its own rights. Workers should get this into their psyche and stop expecting company A to be the same as company B. Once they disabuse this from their minds, the task of settling into a new job becomes a lot easier.
Bashir Mudi Baba can be reached on Twitter handle @El_De_Bash