I think we can all agree that starting a new job is one of those strange experiences in life. It’s like starting school but everyone already knows each other and there aren’t only friendship groups but also hierarchies and reporting structures. When we were discussing what starting a new role meant to communications, HR and wellbeing few came up with a shared belief. We believe there are stages to our experiences and the emotions we go through.
Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald is passionate about improving employee wellbeing in organisations she believes that a company can effect a potential employees wellbeing long before they start in their new role:
“When I think about the stages of joining a new company, something that I feel quite passionate about, there’s something that no-one really talks about and that is that a company’s effect on health and wellbeing starts long before the employee does.
If you think about it, the way that people are treated pre-recruitment, how their application is handled, how transparent and useful companies are at keeping in contact following interview, and the level of feedback offered to both successful and unsuccessful candidates all contribute to how employees feel about a company. It also effects how engaged they become from the start of their time with a company and how much they respect the company values. For me this is a really valuable part of engagement and the recruitment cycle that is often overlooked.”
Any communications in this recruitment phase must include all of the above touchpoints and provide clear and considered messages to both unsuccessful and successful candidates.
When an employee does eventually start with a company, the induction they receive to the company and their teammates is key. If they are assigned a buddy who can show them the ropes and take them through the day to day running of the company as well as introducing them to other people really helps people feel more comfortable in new surroundings. This could be a virtual cuppa if working remotely and supplying a way to make contact with people other than their manager. Regular team meetings, 121’s and catch ups are crucial parts of the cycle when it comes to health and wellbeing.
An introduction to policies and procedures is important and should be completed by someone who understands them and why they are in place.
In COVID19 times of uncertainty and remote working, it is more important to check in with new employees more than you would typically and don’t ask them ‘what are you working on right now?’ as they may not be working on anything, but in an office they would be sitting in or shadowing people and they may not be doing that virtually. Invite them to shadow as many calls as possible, give them tasks which will help them get to know the organisation, the role and their colleagues and, encourage them into the culture of good wellbeing from the get-go by promoting self-care e.g. regular screen breaks, taking a lunch hour etc. When you are new it is hard to say no and so you need to clearly outline work practices. This is true whether in person or when work is remote but is easier to observe in person so care should be taken to check in regularly when working virtually.
As we go through the processes of joining an organisation there are also important emotional stages. We don’t experience these in order, we will move through them and back fluidly and may revisit them along the way. We have listed some of the key stages below:
- When you spot an advert for a role you like the look of and can’t wait to apply
- Feeling that you have achieved something by getting a new job
- It may be the start of new chapter in your career/life
- Enthusiasm for what is coming next, learning something new and working with new people.
- Leaving your current role has meant you may have left something you were familiar/comfortable with and the unease of change may occur.
- Nerves will build in the lead up to applying, interviews and starting, not to mention social nerves when you start to meet new people.
- After weeks of waiting you are about to start something new and thoughts may occur as to whether you have made the right decision.
- Maybe the company or role is not exactly what was expected.
- The company may/will be different to where you used to work and that may make you feel uncomfortable.
- Maybe you’ve been out of work and you’re worried you made the wrong choice.
- Feeling secure in the decision to change jobs can hinge on a good induction to the company as well as the acceptance of others that you work with.
- You may regret leaving friends or family behind.
- Surroundings become more familiar e.g. the office environment, how everything works, regular meetings.
- Co-workers become more recognisable i.e. you know their names, you understand who does what, you may know a few things about your colleagues private lives.
- You start to be able to do more with the role as activities and responsibilities become clearer.
- You start to make an impact and add value.
- There are more opportunities to be involved as you are more familiar with the company and what you’re there to achieve.
- Maybe more training and development opportunities have been highlighted as part of your probation.
- You get to know the team better and you can begin to build personal and professional relationships.
Ensuring that an employee can settle into your organisation can be a tricky task. That’s why we created our ‘New Starter’ toolkit, which provides you with the guides, policies and checklists required to help new employees settle in and thrive. Find out more on our website.