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Welcome Aboard: How To Treat A New Hire On The Job To Make Them Feel Valued

A New Hire

When your company hires someone new, you can take it as a threat that maybe they’ll eventually replace you – or you can say, “Thank God, I’m gonna get some help!” If you take the second tack, (and it’s to your extreme benefit to do so,) your task is to get the new hire up to speed and being productive as fast as possible.

Show The New Hire Around

That covers a huge area, ranging from the trivial, “here’s where the bathroom, break room, and first aid supplies are located,” to not only helping them learn their jobs, but to also learn the company and how they can do well as part of it. It’s to both your advantage and the company’s to do that job as well as possible, to act as a guide, a resource, and a mentor and champion.

The first impression they get is of paramount importance as it will last them for their entire employment. If it’s negative, not only will they suffer, but so will you as a supervisor and the company as a whole – missing out on developing all their skills, capabilities, and efforts. It’s not an easy task because if nothing else, it takes your time – and time is the rarest commodity in most companies.

Creativity Is Key

That being said, you get creative.

I was in my office at a large construction company with the door open. I looked up at the sound of a tiny, very hesitant little tap on the door to find an early twenty-ish young lady peeking in with a look of “maybe I shouldn’t be doing this” written all over her face.

“Hi, can I help you?”

“Uh, yes sir, uh, Mr. Motal.  I’m Jennifer and – uh – I’m going to be working in payroll. The lady in HR – ”

“That’s Denise.”

“Uh yes, she sent me to see you about getting started – that my supervisor was out sick today – and that – uh – maybe you could help me, sir.”

“Whoa boy. OK, Jennifer. First, it’s Reeves, not Mr. Motal. Second, as you will learn, this company thrives on chaos – and today is more chaotic than most.” I glanced at my watch. “I’m suppose to be downtown at the new baseball stadium site about ten minutes ago.  So I – ”

“Oh, I’m so sorry, sir!  I didn’t know you were so busy – uh – I’ll – ”

“So grab your coat, make a stop in the restroom if needed, and then meet me back here. You’re going downtown with me. You’ll find out what really goes on in this company – and why you’ll be printing all those payroll checks.”

First little smile I’d seen, “OK, I’ll be right back.”

“And bring your purse – you might have to buy lunch.”

You’ve Got To Dress The Part

new hire

I walked down to the supply room, printed out “Jennifer” on the label maker, then stuck in on the front of a hardhat and grabbed her a pair of safety glasses.

We both got to my office at the same time. “Here, you’ll need these.  If you’re gonna be working in construction, you’ve got to dress the part.”

On the way into town, I took the freeway and pointed out some projects we had built along the way. I took the tollway back to show her some other examples. I found out she’d done two years in the local community college and had recently gotten married. At the stadium site, I introduced her to everyone we met, made sure she shadowed me at every step, pointed out, “that’s a tower crane,” “that’s a cherry picker,” “those are floats the guys use for finishing concrete,” and a hundred other things. At lunch (and yes, I paid) I learned a little more about her plans – and her hopes.

Making The New Hire Feel Like Part Of The Family

When we got back to the office, our CFO, her boss’ boss, (super smart lady even if she did go to Texas A&M – hey, wait a minute, I was there for a while, too,) had returned, so I took her over there to introduce her. While we were talking, our CEO showed up looking for me. Since he and I were both on the United Way board, I invited him in while we discussed some upcoming joint projects while simultaneously explaining to Jennifer some of the non-work things the company did.

I don’t know what she expected on her first day at work, but I truly feel it had “exceeded expectations” and that she didn’t feel she was just a new entry level hire, but a highly valued member of our corporate family.

Over the next few months, she knew that I (as well as everyone else) was available to help. We also convinced her, paid the tuition, and encouraged her at every step to finish up her degree. I can’t help but think that the trip to the stadium had something to do with her choice. She graduated with a degree in Construction Management.

When I retired, she still had the same hard hat I gave her that first day. The only thing different was that below her name, it now said, “Senior Project Manager.” She wasn’t printing paychecks anymore – she was the guiding force behind completing $30 million projects on time and in budget.

The Perks Of Investing Wisely

A new hire is like a little nest egg. You can put that money in an old coffee can, bury it in the back yard under a full moon, and in ten years it’s worth exactly the same thing – or less, if inflation has eaten into the value. Or you can take that same nest egg, invest it wisely, nurture it along at every step, and in ten years reap the benefits of its amazing growth.

It’s all up to you.

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Reeves Motal
Reeves Motal
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