Embracing the ‘New Guy’ (or Gal)

Teams build a unique culture after working together for months or years. Here’s how to welcome a new person to the club.

It's not necessarily much fun being the new guy or gal on the job site. Everyone else knows each other and the routine, and they've had time to develop the personal relationships that create trust and make each team member feel like someone has their back.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to make new employees feel like they're part of the team from day one.

Establish a buddy system

Create a system that pairs new hires with people who have been working on the site for a while. This way, newcomers can learn the ins and outs of the job and not have to search for someone who can answer questions, both large and small, about how the job and company operate. An accessible point person can reduce anxiety and make the transition to a new job much easier.

The “buddy” should introduce the new person around and encourage communication between him and existing team members. Taking breaks in the same area and eating lunch together gives everyone a chance to get to know each other.

Roll out the welcome wagon

New employees typically get handed employee policy and procedure manuals. But don’t be afraid to get a little more personal, too. For example, include photos of employees in the company directory and maybe a bit of information on each one, such as hobbies they enjoy (with their permission and cooperation, of course). Also share info on any clubs, events or social activities the company sponsors with the new employee and encourage participation.

Put the kibosh on hazing

Construction crews might see pranks like asking the new guy to search out an imaginary "sky hook" or "rock stretcher" as harmless bonding rituals, but in reality, hazing is counterproductive and just makes the worker look and feel foolish. Some pranks that involve a physical task can actually put the employee in danger.

Schedule check-ins

Finally, the company should invite a new employee to give input starting a week or two after beginning work. How is he or she adjusting to the job? Are there any glaring problems in the company's safety or work practices they've noticed?  

Make employees feel as if they and their ideas are truly welcomed, and they should fit right in as happy and loyal additions to the company.   

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