“There’s no 'I' in team.” The saying has been repeated during school projects and gym class since the beginning of time, but it’s also a great professional lesson as well. Strong relationships in the workplace are essential to employee engagement and morale, which translate into a more motivated workforce and better performance.
While HR professionals and team managers aren’t usually charged with helping their subordinates make friends at the office, you may just choose to undertake these employee onboarding responsibilities in order to create an extraordinary workplace—one that is better for talent as well as company finances—after reading this article. Time to start treating your new hires like you would a new kid at school (but better)!
Employee Engagement Starts With Emotional Intelligence
Definition: the ability to be aware of and control your emotions, as well as the emotions of others, in order to build positive and empathetic interpersonal relationships. Whew, what a mouthful! As scientific as it sounds, you probably already employ emotional intelligenceon a daily basis without thinking about it.
Let’s say that your newest team member Jean is about to take her lunch break during day numero uno at the office. She doesn’t really know anyone, nor is she familiar with typical lunch protocol at your organization. Do people typically eat alone at their desks or flock to a specific haunt? How long is the lunch break?
Seeing her discomfort, you pair her up with two of your most approachable team members for a friendly welcome lunch. If we were betting people, we would bet that Jean leaves day one much more engaged than if she’d lunched by herself. (It’s just science! According to a 2012 MIT study, social ties at work lead to higher-performing teams that can buoy their organizations.)
You’ve most likely taken similar action before for new employees like Jean, or even new classmates during your student days. Now, all you have to do to experience increased employee performance and morale is make these emotionally intelligent behaviors a consistent part of your employee onboarding program. Try the following strategies when welcoming the “new kids” to the office.
Tip: Employees will decide whether to stay at your organization very quickly—within their first few days. Be sure to make their first week amazing using these 15 steps.
1. Staff Them On Projects Immediately
How can you avoid giving new hires more than they can chew while also involving them in your organization? Group projects, especially companywide projects that put them side-by-side with employees from other departments. Working in a team forces close contact that results in, if not friendship, at least increased familiarity and greater respect for other colleagues. Plus, allowing the entire group to work toward objectives takes direct pressure off of your new hire.
A good employee onboarding program lasts longer than the first week or month. L’Oreal, for instance, conducts a two-year, multi-phase onboarding process to ensure maximum culture fit and productivity! At any given moment, you should have at least a small group of employees coursing through onboarding together.
Use this opportunity to create a cohesive onboarding group, sort of like a graduating class. (Talmundo’s customized employee onboarding software makes it easier than ever to create tailored content for each phase of onboarding.) Let them create a team name, host events just for the group, and consider hosting a graduation ceremony. The shared experience will naturally bring your new hires closer together!