Introductions can be an awkward interaction. You don’t know what to say when you meet someone, so you stumble through some small talk, mention something about the weather, shake hands to say goodbye, and as you walk away, you realize that you have already forgotten their name. You know what’s awkward times 2? A new employee’s first day on the job that is filled with those introductions to the rest of the team.
SO…WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?
Let’s face it, the first day for a new employee is both exciting, and nerve-racking. Often fueled with a sleepless night prior, and an extra early wake-up as not to sleep through the alarm, the new employee shows up running on adrenaline, ready to start a new job, with no idea what he or she will do for lunch. “I’ll bring my lunch and just leave it in the car, depending on what everyone else does,” is the common thought. With a new hire not even sure what happens at lunch hour, and may not even know where the bathroom is, it stands to reason that the other unknowns that have to do with actual job performance, culture, fitting-in, and expectations carry a much greater weight of concern in the unknown. And to top it off, “what was his name again?”
With a purposeful plan, you can turn a potentially awkward interaction, into a meaningful and uplifting experience as you introduce your new hire to the rest of the office staff.
Here’s how to use the power of affirmation in introductions, and build unity and culture at the same time, without all the awkwardness:
With a new hire, one of the first things you can do is send an email to the current staff, introducing the newbie. Don’t just send a message that says, “Hey everybody, Heather is starting today. Let’s make her feel welcome.” Consider the power of affirmation, and include some of her strengths and detail some of her characteristics that you think will be a great addition to the team. Discuss any appropriate information about her personally. For example, maybe she likes to sing, is an artist, or loves to read. It’s also prudent to point out her positive work experience and something she’s known to “bring to the table.” In other words, make her look good, and build her up to her new team. It doesn’t have to be a novel, but some information that builds up Heather can help “break the ice” when the staff meets her face-to-face, as well as set her up as someone who is already an important member of the team.
Additionally, when introducing Heather to the staff, incorporate the power of affirmation for the one you’re introducing. “Heather, I want to introduce you to Emma. Emma is our VP of marketing, and she’s been with us for 5 years. She’s a brilliant marketer and a powerful woman. She’s also a great skier, and you’re going to love working with her. If you have any questions regarding marketing, Emma is our go-to person.”
Then return the favor to Heather in this personal meet-and-greet: “Emma, Heather is a fantastic addition to our team. She’s incredibly organized, and has a great analytical mind to help us streamline our systems. She’s really innovative and I’m so excited to have her with us. By-the-way, she’s also an incredible painter, you need to see some of her work.” Make an introduction that builds up and affirms both Heather and Emma.
When you purposefully engage in this nuanced introduction, you are truly connecting people, building their confidence, and showing each one of them that you recognize their greatness and impact on the team, and even their contribution to life as a whole. At the same time, it teaches your staff to look for and value the strengths of co-workers, and to verbally encourage one other in the further development of those strengths.
Consider this: 4% of new employees quit after a disastrous first day. 31% of people quit a new job within the first 6 months. HR personnel believe that most people need only about 3 weeks to determine if they will remain in that job long-term. These are numbers that lead to big loses, for companies financially and culturally, and for employees financially and personally.
While there are many things that need to happen in the onboarding process for a new employee, one of the most powerful things you can do the very first day, is introduce your new hire and staff in a way that affirms each individual, recognizes the value of your staff, and builds a culture of affirmation and encouragement for one another. Relationships and a sense of belonging are the bedrock of long-term retention, and this type of introduction allows people the opportunity to see each other for more than just someone else who works here. If a new hire catches wind of this affirmation and recognition from day one, don’t you think that first impression will go a long way in helping her to stick around long-term?
I WANT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO…
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See what I did there? Of course you did, because you have a great eye for smart business!…