What New Employees Look for Right Away

Joseph Stubblebine
Posted by in Human Resources

When an employee starts a new job, she often spends the first few days observing the company culture and operations. As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. By understanding what new employees are looking for, you can help control the situation to reduce turnover and increase employee retention.

During the interview process, many job candidates do not have the time to interact heavily with current employees. They may get a general sense of the corporate culture but rarely have the chance for in-depth conversations. Because the culture often has a strong impact on overall job satisfaction, many new employees spend time observing it during the first few weeks on the job. New employees are often hyper-aware of their new colleagues' attitudes towards supervisors, the workplace environment and the general tone of the office atmosphere. A negative experience in the first days of a new job can leave a lasting impression.

For new employees, the first weeks on the job can be a challenge, particularly if they are tossed into the position with no guidance. Many workers are looking for a structured training and orientation program that helps them hit the ground running. According to the New York Times, an effective onboarding process introduces new employees to their colleagues, explains common practices and traditions and creates a welcoming environment. During this period, employees are often looking to meet people, understand their job responsibilities and get a sense of the company as a whole. Without this type of organized introduction, new workers may spend days or weeks feeling lost and alone, which can set the tone for their whole experience with the company.

In addition to the broad overview provided by an orientation program, a new hire also looks for specifics about how to do her job. She looks for clues about daily responsibilities and searches for people who answer questions. In some cases, this process takes weeks to set in, leaving the employee feeling useless and bored. A company that takes a proactive stance by offering a specific list of tasks and a dedicated workplace mentor can help the new worker feel engaged and included. They give her something to do and someone to talk to – invaluable assets for a new hire.

In the beginning, a new hire is usually in the dark about the company's operational style. As a result, she usually searches for immediate feedback from colleagues and supervisors about performance and day-to-day operations. Should she email you or stop in with questions? How does the company handle collaborative documents? Is she using the correct programming language for each task? Without this information, she may feel uncertain or directionless. By staying in close communication during the first few weeks, you can provide the employee with a better sense of your company's working style and production cycle.

If your company is concerned with retaining top talent, it pays to spend time and effort helping new employees get started. By ensuring that the first few weeks are directed and supervised, you can increase retention and reduce expensive turnover.

(Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


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