As I was planting my garden this weekend, I started thinking about how much prep work I did before placing the budding plants into the ground. I pulled weeds that crept up after the snow melted. I turned soil over to loosen up the dirt, spread manure and peat moss and mixed it in with the loose dirt. Then I carefully spaced the plants, placing them next to other plants that support their growth. As I placed each one into the ground I welcomed them, giving them words of encouragement, “welcome – I’m so happy to have you here and look forward to watching you grow. I’m going to give you everything you need.”
Why take time to create an optimal environment to thrive?
Why did I do all of this? I wanted the plants to have the optimal environment to thrive, grow and produce for me. To make the most of my investment, I took the time to prep.
Do you create an environment for your new employees to thrive?
It got me thinking. What if employers and leaders treated new employees the same way I was treating my plants? If employers took a step back from traditional onboarding processes and thought about what the best environment would be for the new employee – not just the standard process, what would that look like? If they took the time to prep the space and put them around people that will encourage their growth. Most of all, what if they plucked the weeds that will challenge them for precious resources they need to grow? What would happen if they took a little time to prep to set them up for success?
4 tips to prep for your new employees
1. Make them feel welcomed
Send your new employee a welcome note before they start. This could be via email but you have their address so consider sending a handwritten card that says something like – we look forward to you joining our team. A simple note goes a long way and sets the tone for the first day and helps with employee engagement.
2. Chose the optimal spot
Think about where the person is sitting. This is a harder one as I know space is often at a premium but it is also a good excuse to mix things up and move people around. Having people sit next to those they interact with the most or those that will benefit the most from sitting close to each other is the best. For example, having a person who will constantly be on the phone sitting next to a person who is critically analyzing data all day might not create the optimal environment. Think about what the best mix is for your team.
3. Prep the space
Make sure their space is ready. I’ve witnessed too many times when employees show up for their first day and people are scrambling to find a computer, a phone, even a decent chair for the new employee. Not being ready for them with the basics really drains the energy a new person brings to the table and inadvertently sends the wrong message. Make sure their desk is set up, they have the supplies, it’s clean and if you didn’t send that welcome note put one on their desk.
4. Pluck the weeds
Sometimes on teams you might have that one person who brings a bit too much negativity to the group. Letting that fester too long often spreads to other teammates bringing the overall productivity and energy down. It might be painful to address in the short-term and you may feel like you don’t have time to coach or replace the person. In the long run, it is always worth it to take the time to address. Give your team the best chance to be productive. Adding a new team member might be the ideal time to address the negativity and set expectations for creating a positive welcoming environment.