Every organization experiences turnovers in their staff contingent as part of their natural aging process. People retire, take leave, are fired, have their hours reduced or positions eliminated. Similarly new applicants are hired, temps fill in on short assignments, positions are created, expansion plans are implemented, new locations needing staffing spring up.
Once upon a time you yourself were the newest hire; the fresh blood, the one people wondered about and made a point of welcoming on board and getting to know. You yourself in those early days hoped you’d be accepted and welcomed; you’d survive the first few awkward days and then make it past probation until you were eventually hired on permanently and became a fixture.
I’ve worked in both unionized and non-unionized environments and in both scenarios a common practice is for the newly hired to breathe a little easier when others are hired after them. When others are hired later, it means there’s a little more perceived job security if things got slow and someone had to be cut loose. The faster you made it up the seniority ladder, the faster you could stop worrying and stressing about the possibility of having your job taken away as it would usually fall to someone hired after you.
Do you remember what it was like when you were hired? How about your first day or first week? What was going through your head as you headed out your front door on those earliest of days?
It’s likely that any new employee is wondering about much the same things as you did. Will they like me? Where will I sit? What kind of boss will I have? Will anyone invite me to lunch this week? Should I brown bag it or take along some lunch money just in case? Will the job be what they said it would be or turn into something I didn’t expect?
Yes, new employees often think about the same kind of issues, have the same concerns and hope the same kind of good things happen to them. A new job is a brand new chapter to write; a fresh start where you can put any past problems behind you. Sure there’s new stresses and challenges but this is what drives many of us to excel and grow.
Now move ahead to the present day. Here you are with your reputation established and no longer one of the new employees by a longshot. You’ve carved out your place, forged those relationships and know your environment and how to thrive in it. New employees pop up from time to time of course; some staying for the long haul and some gone before you really get to know them.
There’s a lot of upside in taking the time to warmly greet and welcome new staff to the organization in general and your department specifically. Your reputation is closely aligned with the reputation of the company you work for, and so it follows that employees – all employees – impact on that company reputation by default and on you by association. As a seasoned or senior employee, you can influence new staff in how they think and act when they are relatively new.
Even when a new employee comes in with a wealth of knowledge and experience gathered elsewhere, you can impact how they settle in and what they learn and need to know about how to act while working in your workplace. Could be that how you and your fellow employees go about their work is unique and different from what the new employee has experienced. Changing their mindset, ensuring their practices match those of your organization could be critical before they make mistakes or do things the way they’ve always done them elsewhere.
Another benefit of speaking with someone early in their new jobs could be sharing your own philosophy in the hopes that they may adopt yours completely or at least accept your philosophy as yours and respect it when interacting with you. Now I don’t mean you scheduled a time to talk and tell them you’re going to lay out your philosophy; you might do this in fact or you may just lead by example.
When I have had new staff start where I work, I make a point of setting aside some time to work together with them; offering to share some of my resources and my time should they need any advice, direction or support. Sometimes I like to ask new employees what their philosophy of service is. The most common reaction I get is an initially stunned look; as though they’ve never pondered the question or articulated an answer. That’s a good thing because now they’re thinking big picture.
You see to me, how I and my colleagues deliver services is important. I like knowing who among those on my team thinks like me, who has a different take on things and how small or large is the difference in approach between us. I encourage new employees to listen to the opinions of others, watch, learn and soak up all the various ways we each do our jobs. The new person brings their own skills, ideas and philosophy with them of course, and this is always interesting for me working to learn from them too.
Make you new employees welcome and embrace what they bring as the chemistry changes on your team or in your workplace.