Do you remember your first day on the job? Even if it was a long time ago, you probably do—it’s always a memorable experience. Walking into a new office to do a new job among new people is a very exciting—and intimidating. It’s important to make a good impression when you’re just joining a team, so your new employees will likely be nervous and on their best behavior. Of course, it takes more than a day and a welcome handshake to feel comfortable in a new job—and it can take a while before your new team members are confident enough to really feel like part of the team.
As a manager, you can help speed up this process. By making an effort to develop rapport with your new employees, you can make the integration process easier for everyone. Here are some tips for building lasting rapport that will benefit everyone on the team.
- Have an Orientation Procedure in Place
Looking disorganized doesn’t help you build rapport with new employees. Make sure you have a clear orientation procedure in place, and lead it yourself if possible. To make orientation more fun and welcoming, consider introducing your new employee to the whole team over a treat, like donuts and coffee in the office. This will help take the pressure off of meeting everyone, and make your new hire feel welcome and relaxed. You can crowdsource from current employees to see what “tradition” would make orientation more fun and welcoming.
- Personally Show Them Around
Even if you can’t lead the whole orientation process, make a point to show new employees around personally and introduce them to their peers. Introducing yourself when you’re new can be very intimidating, so take that pressure off right away! You can even take this a step further and ask for staff contributions to a collage of personal photos and names to make the overwhelming number of introductions less stressful.
- Get to Know Them
While it’s important to stay professional and avoid prying into your new employee’s private information, you’ll want to get to know them on a more personal level. Ask questions about who they are—what their hobbies are, their families, and take an interest in their lives beyond the office. This will help break the ice and build trust from day one.
- Facilitate Integration
Easing into company culture isn’t easy when you’re starting a new job, so make an effort to integrate your new employee into professional and social events right away. Invite them to sit in on meetings and give input (they’re likely to have fresh ideas!) and bring them along to office happy hours and company lunches. Make them feel welcome and encourage them to be a part of all aspects of the company culture. This will help them connect with their new team members as well!
- Establish Transparency Right Away
Project managers and leaders know that communication is essential for a good working relationship, so start the relationship by emphasizing transparency immediately. Don’t just give information on what they’ll need to fill their role, give information on the team and company as a whole. Encourage them to ask questions, and let them know that feedback is welcome.
- Assign a Mentor/Buddy
Everyone on the team is likely to be welcoming to your new employee, but unless you assign a buddy, your new team member might not be sure where to turn with questions. Give them a lifeline for when the information overload becomes overwhelming. You’ll also give your more senior team member a fun project, and they’ll likely be pleased to be entrusted with the education of a new employee.
- Be Friendly and Open
The first impressions your new employee gets can be hard to change. With that in mind, present the image you want your team to have of you right off the bat. Aloof or authoritarian leadership won’t make new hires feel welcome and develop rapport. Instead, be friendly, open, and clear that you are ready and willing to help in any way you can. Many toxic situations arise in the workplace due to lack of communication, so it’s important to open up those channels right away with each new team member.