How to Ease New Hire Day-One Jitters
May 4, 2022
Think about how you felt when you started a new job. Were you anxious about who you’d be working with? Unsure about what your first day would look like? Stressed about what to wear?
First-day jitters are common in a new job — a place where first impressions count.
Making your new hires’ first day as comfortable as possible is your responsibility as a manager. It can help them feel like they made the right decision to join your team, ease their nerves, make them more confident to tackle their job responsibilities, and set them up for long-term success.
In this article, we share nine ways to ease day-one jitters and get the very best from your new hire from the start.
- Reach out before their first day
- Share an induction checklist
- Send them some company swag
- Have the admin side ready to go
- Introduce them to the team
- Assign a mentor
- Invite them to your learning management system
- Do something fun
- Check-in with new hires regularly
1. Reach out before their first day
When you were a new starter, what details would have eased your nerves before walking into the office? Make your new hire feel prepared and confident by answering these questions prior to their first day.
Take it from Wendy Makinson, HR manager at Joloda Hydraroll, who says, “Rather than waiting for their ‘official’ day one, we try to get new team members involved in a team meeting or activity ahead of starting. This way, they get to meet their new colleagues in a more relaxed and less pressured way.
“Rather than having to be walked around and introduced to everyone on their first working day, they can meet fellow team members in advance,” Wendy adds. “Using this approach, new staff members are generally more comfortable on their first official day; this makes it easier for them to focus on the onboarding process.”
2. Share an induction checklist
From dress code to working hours, bring new hires up to speed on company policies. Sharing an induction checklist can help to alleviate the anxiety they may feel ahead of their first day.
This document details everything they’ll need to know, including:
- What time to arrive. Sounds simple, but especially important if you have arranged for another manager to meet them to carry out their induction. Make sure they both know what time to meet on the first day.
- Equipment needed. If they need any special equipment (including software), communicate this clearly. Ask if your new hire has any problems or issues with what they need to bring.
- Your company dress code. Jeans and a t-shirt? Or smart casual? Either way, make your new hire aware. There’s nothing worse than the fear of arriving under-dressed, overdressed, or wearing something inappropriate.
- Lunch and break times. Hunger affects concentration and promotes anxiety. Let your recruits know when their break is, the kitchen facilities available, and local spots to grab lunch.
- Parking information or specifics about public transport. Provide details on convenient parking spots, the cost of parking, and how long it’ll take to get to work.
Don’t assume you’ve provided all the details. Ask your new hire what other information they need.
As Steven McConnell, director at Exceptional Resume Writers says, “New job jitters are often rooted in uncertainty and a lack of knowledge. Without knowing what to expect, a new hire may feel more anxious about the job; therefore, the best way to ease the jitters is by providing necessary information about the company, the team, and the job to the employee even before their official first day at work.”
3. Send them some company swag
It can be difficult for a new employee to get a “feel” for a company and understand its values. Help them by providing some company swag before their first day—something to help employees feel appreciated. (Interestingly, some 69 percent would work harder if they saw this recognition.)
Take it from Brent Barnhart, who received a company swag parcel when he joined Status. Packed with items customers would use, Brent was able to replicate the same experience he was helping the company’s target audience enjoy.
4. Have the admin side ready to go
Did you know that 36 percent of managers spend 3 to 4 hours per day on administrative tasks, such as responding to emails and submitting expense claims? Onboarding tasks are tedious and menial for managers, but extremely important for your new starter.
Don’t make your new hire wait days for your IT team to create a profile or hang around while you set them up on your team’s communication platform. Create a strong first impression and ease their nerves by onboarding them before their first day.
- Inviting them to your project management tool
- Adding them to your communications platform (with access to the right channels)
- Creating their email account, with up-to-date email addresses of team members they’ll communicate with
- Including them on your “team” page
Similarly, make sure your HR managers have accurate personal information for your new hires. Your new recruits will expect to be paid exactly when you said they will. Prevent any speed bumps by collecting this information and preparing a contract to sign on their first day.
5. Introduce them to the team
New job anxiety typically festers in uncertainty about who they’ll be working with. Introduce new starters to co-workers without overwhelming them with formal and informal activities, such as:
- Inviting new hires to your next team meeting
- Giving them a tour of the building, show them around your workplace, and introduce them to your team
- Organizing small group tasks with your new hire and existing staff
- Holding a team quiz
- Crafting a fun welcome post on your company’s social media channel
“A helpful method of helping new hires get rid of the first-day jitters is to give them a warm welcome by providing a full workplace tour,” says Kathryn McDavid, founder and CEO of Editor’s Pick.
“Along the way, introduce the employees to them. Don’t let the new hire figure out the whole process by themselves. If you, as an executive, are too busy to handle their onboarding, then designate a buddy for them.”
6. Assign a mentor
Mentoring pairs a confident co-worker with a new starter and can help your new hire meet someone who has already been in their shoes. Both can agree on targets and review progress, supporting your new hire to become a happy member of the team as quickly as possible.
Nunzio Ross, CEO at Majesty Coffee, does this with a workplace buddy—someone “who can teach them the ins and outs of the company, introduce them to the workplace culture, and help them acclimate with their colleagues is a great way to eliminate first-day jitters.
“This approach also helps establish trust in the workplace, creating a more welcoming environment for new hires,” Nunzio says. “It translates positively into the employee experience and the workplace culture the company fosters for its workforce.”
It’s no wonder 67 percent of businesses report an increase in productivity due to mentoring, with one report even concluding “there is a positive impact of mentoring on the creative performance of mentors.”
7. Invite them to your learning management system
Employees who say they have a clear plan for their professional development are 3.5x more likely to agree that their onboarding process was exceptional.
Introducing skills-based learning—where future training is geared towards improving their existing skillset—is a foolproof way to build motivation. After all, we all find it easier to do things we’re good at.
To reduce first-day jitters, let your new hire dig through your learning management system (LMS) before their first day. Invite new colleagues to WorkRamp as soon as their job offer is accepted and prevent them from feeling like they’re entering the unknown on their first day.
8. Do something fun
Finishing the first day at a new job is a relief. Celebrate together by organizing an after-work social event or midday lunch at a nearby restaurant.
Show your new hire what’s important–from having great working relationships to planning quality time away from work. Reinforce the philosophy of being human first, and professional second.
9. Check in with new hires regularly
The first few weeks in a new role can be especially challenging. Checking in on a regular basis is a great opportunity to ask questions, ease jitters, and resolve any unmet needs (for both parties).
Allow time in your schedule to check in with new hires at the end of their first day, week, and month. Delve into how things are going, learn more about their performance, and review any necessary items together. It’s a simple way to build trust, get to know each other better, and ease their anxiety.
Make your new hires feel welcome
Leaders and managers have a responsibility to ensure new hires feel safe and comfortable. Easing first-day jitters is possible with careful planning.
Whether you’re onboarding virtually or inviting them to the office, new hires are likely to settle into their role quickly, become an asset to your team, and stay for the long run — especially if their first few months are a positive experience.
Make learning and development a priority for your new hires with WorkRamp’s All-in-One Learning Platform. Contact us to schedule a free demo.
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