The transition to a brick & mortar workplace will be challenging for many employees who have worked from home for two years, but there are special challenges for those employees who started their jobs during this highly unusual time. Recent job reports indicate that workforce activity has increased for the first time since the pandemic started.
Being a new employee is always an adjustment but starting a new job during a pandemic is unprecedented and requires extra attention. Recently hired employees may know the names of their immediate colleagues but they don’t know where to find the bathrooms, supply closet or lunchroom. They may have full have access to financial data but they have no idea where to park or how to enter the building. Giving a little extra thought to this valuable population will help jump start their feeling of connection to the organization. Since many people report that they do not feel a strong sense of belonging in their organizations, these strategies may have a bonus impact beyond fast tracking connection for new employees.
Here are 3 no-cost strategies that you can implement starting today.
Anyone can use Google Maps but how about a custom-made map with insider information such as “breakroom with best view,” says Sahill from Sales. Simply drawn maps can be used to explain a floor plan and where people sit. Adding names to the map will make it more user friendly. To make it even more useful, add photos or images of fellow employees.
Creating a company-specific map of the local area is another way to support new employees who may be unfamiliar with the neighborhood. Create a curated a list with local information. Include comments referencing long-time employees to add more character. For example, “Best pizza in town” says Janice from accounting. These documents can provide a friendly and useful short-cut to a process of knowing the organization and the neighborhood.
Consider offering a group tour for new employees with attention to both the workplace and surrounding area. In addition to highlighting safety information like emergency exits, share information about favorite lunch locations, a convenient gas station or gym nearby. Asking specific employees to address the tour by introducing themselves and their departments is another way to make the tour more engaging.
Creating an informal directory for new employees could be as simple as a list of names and jobs. Given the high number of people who report changing jobs during the past two years, this simple document will be as useful to veteran employees as it is to newcomers. Adding more information such as professional background and number of years at the organization will provide useful data. And if you want to add a lighthearted touch, it’s easy to add fun information like favorite dessert or favorite song to the directory. If employees are comfortable, share a photo or image that will increase value.
Fast tracking connection for new employees can be fun and inexpensive. Asking veteran employees to make suggestions is a good way to be inclusive and foster connection. With a little bit of attention, everyone can participate in fast tracking connection for all.