Most commonly, first impressions in business refer to how employees are initially viewed by owners and co-workers during job interviews and their first days of work. But new employees’ first impressions of their workplace are also very important.
In job interviews, applicants know they need to impress, but it’s important for those interviewing to know that they, too, are on the spot. Luring great employees is challenging, and it’s critical for those interviewing to create a very favorable impression. A positive impression, just like a negative one, can stay with an employee for years, and affect their overall perception of the company or organization.
Similarly, a new employee’s first impression of co-workers is important. New workers need to feel welcomed, engaged and offered assistance whenever they need it.
Here are four basic ways to help meetings industry companies and organizations retain new employees.
Prepare for their arrival: Be sure that new employees have all the resources they need—including all necessary software and office supplies—as soon as they start working. This enables them to dive right in and be productive, and makes your business or organization seem very professional to them. If you need to scurry around to set things up for them, this creates a bad impression and makes them wonder if this reflects an overall lack of organization at your workplace.
Engage them: New workers typically are required to fill out plenty of forms. This can be very tedious, so first sit down with them for a light breakfast or a beverage. This helps them feel welcome and engaged before dealing with all the paperwork. Sometimes it’s also best to give them a break from filling out forms by showing them around the office, introducing them to employees, etc. If the paperwork is extensive, split it up over two or more days.
Don’t just throw them into the fray: One of the most frustrating experiences for a new employee is to be expected to perform without training and guidance. The amount required varies depending on the employee and the work involved, but at least at first, it’s best to be on the conservative side, and assume that new employees will need many hours of direct attention.
So, either the supervisor or a highly skilled worker will need to block out large chunks of time to spend with the employee during the first week or so, with as few interruptions as possible. A good trainer is able to have a beginner’s mind—one that can clearly, patiently explain processes and procedures. New workers have widely varying skill levels in many areas and some learn more quickly than others, so it’s important that the trainer be able to adjust training accordingly.
Set them up to succeed: It’s best to ease new employees into the workplace so that they won’t feel overwhelmed and can gain a sense of what is expected. But highly skilled new workers often are able to quickly move on challenging tasks. It’s important for both entry-level and experienced workers to be able to succeed at whatever they’re expected to do—and give them plenty of positive feedback, as well as helpful tips. Also, remember that they will feel much more engaged if they’re given interesting assignments.
Don’t forget about them: Don’t assume that after training ends, new employees will be totally up to speed and in command of all their responsibilities. Remember that they still are learning; they will have plenty of questions and will make mistakes. Supervisors need to check in with them regularly and be patient. This enables supervisors to be aware of how much attention each employee needs.