“Don’t let them steal your lunch!” This popular farewell in some homes (OK, mine) when setting out for a new job speaks to the excitement and nerve-rattling emotions of that special first day. That’s why, as we welcome a string of new folks here at LiquidPlanner, we like to remind ourselves how important it is to make a new coworker feel welcome on that very first day.
Here’s a primer on five easy ways to reach out and welcome a new colleague.
1. Go up and introduce yourself, duh. Sounds simple, and it is, but here’s the trick: Not tomorrow, not when you run into the person in the lunchroom or when the time is right–but right now! It’s easy to put this off but remember when you started? And how great it felt when a friendly stranger walked up to you with a warm welcoming smile, gave you a handshake and said a simple, Hi, my name’s Pat, welcome! Five words can make a big difference to someone’s first day.
I put this on my daily task list because A) it reminds me that it’s important, B) it’s fun to see a social task at the top of my to-do’s and C) I always feel happier after a little social interaction.
2. Dive into a work-related conversation. Small talk’s not for everyone, so if you like to dive in to real conversation but don’t know where to start, start with work. Invite the new gal over to have a look at a project you’re working on. Or, stop by her workspace for a visit to ask about the kind of projects she’s been involved in over the past few years. And as we know, from one simple conversation springs other conversations, and goodness knows what cool fields of discourse you’ll stumble into.
If you’re shy you can ask the new person for some feedback on a project in your planning tool.
3. Grab a coffee or go out for lunch. This can be as involved as sitting down and having a café klatch or walking to the cafe nearest you, treating the new person to a coffee-to-go—and it’s quick and easy. Getting the team together for lunch is always a no-brainer and fun time. Here at LiquidPlanner, we just happen to adore our morning coffees.
4. Make simple, idle—even cliché—chit chat. “How was your weekend?” “Are you having a good day?” “Wow, that’s some rain out there!” Yes, that kind of fluffy stuff. Nurturing rapport among teammates creates a feeling of camaraderie, which means sometimes it’s better to say something than nothing (it’s the effort that people appreciate). These tiny little chatty nuances can also build a gentle bridge that decreases stress for someone new to the job. Plus, we all want to feel part of a group, so do your part in bringing in the new person—just like someone probably did for you.
5. Apply the Golden Rule. Ask yourself what made you feel most welcome when you were new, and then go and do that. Of course, we’re all a bit different in our social habits, but it’s a place to start—as is a friendly smile.
What kind of welcoming tips do you have? Tell us in our comments box—we know we didn’t cover everything!