How to engage new employees
Coach Dick Vermeil, the legendary NFL coach, once quoted Teddy Roosevelt in a corporate training. He said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” He emphasized how he needed to care about his players as a whole person, not just as a quarterback or a tight end. He would invite his players to family dinners, ask about their own families, and genuinely show an interest in their lives. He understood that to get the most out of his players, he had to give his time, energy, and attention on and off the field. He needed to genuinely care.
New employees are no different. You’ve hired them because they have the ability you need. If they’re a good employee, or even a great one, (and in this market, even an average one) they have options. They’ve been courted by your competitors but joined your organization because they wanted to.
To engage and retain new hires, you must show them that you care.
The foundation of this begins during the pre-boarding and onboarding stages when new employees are most skittish and least sure about their new role (and their decision).
Follow these top 3 tips to engage new employees during onboarding:
1. Help them adapt to the company culture
Every company has different written and unwritten rules, and no one wants to make a gaffe on their first day like showing up to the wrong building or wearing a suit when everyone else is in hoodies. Right after they accept the offer, send them an email or call them. Give them all the information you wish you would have known on your first day.
An easy way to do this is to set up a template and have it automatically delivered to new hires after they’ve accepted the offer.
2. Provide a mentor
Navigating a new role and organization is tricky. Providing a mentor shows thoughtfulness about helping your new employee get integrated and enabling them to grow within the company.
A nice touch is having their mentor reach out before their first day. This step can easily be missed on a busy to do list so automating it is the best way to make sure it happens.
3. Take them to lunch
It can be challenging to break away from a busy day to go to lunch, much less organize a team lunch, but taking this time makes new employees feel genuinely welcomed. You spent a long time looking for the perfect candidate, lunch is an important part of making them feel good on their first day. “Breaking bread” is one of those relationship-building intangibles that just can’t be replicated or faked.
Like the other steps, it’s important to tell the new hire about the lunch during the pre-boarding period. This allows them to anticipate it and feel valued in the weeks leading up to their first day.