How to Make New Hires Feel Welcome

If you’ve stepped into any workplace in the past few years, you’ll notice a stark difference from the office space of last century. It used to be nose to the grindstone, all work and no play. But the office scene today is the new social scene.

That’s not to say that employees aren’t working any harder. In fact, they’re more productive and innovative today than ever. And the faster your office embraces a company culture that is more social in nature, the better you’ll be able to capitalize on employee retention.

And there’s no better way to start than to make your new hires feel welcome.

Greeting. Before a new hire’s start date, designate someone on the team to take them under their wing the first day. That may be you, their counterpart or the office manager. Whoever it is, this person is dedicated to making sure new hires know how to dress, find the bathroom and what is expected from them on both a professional and social level.

Team lunch. Obviously, you should make team introductions earlier in the day, but take time to welcome new hires with a team lunch the first day too. This provides a glimpse into personalities and people types outside of the office. With a laid back lunch, new hires can identify with whom on the team they can develop relationships.

Happy hour. Later in the week, take the team out for a happy hour or bowling or coffee. This time together outside of the office, and outside of regular working hours, enables everyone to “cut loose.” It’s during this time that the relationships at the workplace are strengthened, leading to better teamwork in the office.

You may be wondering why the emphasis on relationships and creating a social workplace. This is work after all, isn’t it?

Today, new hires are looking for the typical benefits that a job provides: 401K contributions, a health care plan and vacation days. But one of the newer benefits of the 21st century workplace is more of a social workplace.

Employees want to work somewhere that they feel welcome and valued, not just as an employee but as a person too. A company culture that makes individuals feel that they are important leads to a business that can boast in high numbers of employee retention. That’s because these employees have more than just professional ties to a business; there are those social ties as well, which are undoubtedly more important.

Once you’ve made new hires feel welcome, don’t stop there. TIME explored some businesses that put an emphasis on a social workplace, and they have some great ideas for your business. Try in-house poker, kickball or trivia like Booz Allen Hamilton. Create a mentorship program between more experienced and younger staff members like KPMG. Or provide incentives to young workers that includes participation in senior management strategic sessions like Infosys.

A more social workplace is a better place to work; and when your new hires see that in your workplace, you’ll be able to hold on to them longer.

How else can you create a social workplace to make new hires feel more welcome? Share now in our comments!