How and why to be welcoming a new colleague

Posted on May 28, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Do you remember your first week at your job? It probably wasn't easy, but you got through it. When you have new people join your company, you can use that experience to help make their onboarding go more smoothly. Here's how you can make your new coworkers feel welcome.

  1. Have a welcome strategy in place

    From management down, everyone directly involved with a new colleague has a role in making the new person feel welcome. Everyone should be asked, “What was it like for you on your first day and week?” and “What could others have done to make you feel more comfortable, accepted, and appreciated?” Use these questions to brainstorm and come up with a detailed plan for bringing a new person into your organization. Once the plan is developed, have everyone involved implement the plan whenever a new employee arrives.

  2. Make time for informal conversation

    To build a strong working relationship, you want to get to know your colleague on a more informal and personal level. During their first week invite them to coffee or lunch. This makes them feel welcome and also gives you a chance to find out more about who they are as a person. By finding out more about their background and interests, you can also get a better idea of their skills and how you might work together in the future. You can also use this as an opportunity to ask for feedback on the onboarding process to the company and to your team. If you find out anything that would help future hires, encourage them to mention it to whoever is in charge of the orientation process at your work.

  3. Let them know you are willing to help

    Tell your new colleague that they can ask you if they have questions, or you show them through your actions (like checking in to see if they need help). You should let them know that you're a resource they can use during their transition time. Of course, this is to a point. You don't want to get distracted from your own work to help them too much. Don't be afraid to sometimes say “no” to their requests for your help. You can always follow-up with a suggestion about who else they can ask. Remind them that it's okay to ask for help or make mistakes when they're starting out, especially when it comes to tools your team or company uses.

  4. Remember the small gestures

    Your small gestures can make a big difference when someone is getting settled at a new workplace. Some things you can do include: Saying hello to them in the morning and goodbye before you leave (if you sit near each other); Greeting them (even with just a smile or nod) if you pass them in the hall; Inviting them to lunch every once in a while. Of course, you can't keep this up forever, but the benefits can be great for both you and your colleague. You're not obligated to make a new best friend, but there's nothing wrong with at least establishing a sense of open communication.