It was a busy week at Consult last week, with seven people starting all at the same time - it was a hive of excitement (and nerves!). It was a week with a lot of meetings and learnings and we are so excited to have more expert recruitment knowledge join the Consult team.
But it did get me reflecting on how hard the first week in a new job is. When you work in recruitment for a long time, you sometimes become a bit blasé with what people go through when they start a new role. So, this week, I think it is important to celebrate employees everywhere starting new roles and actually reflect on what they are going through!
Here is how it feels to be the new person at work:
I am nervous.
Like your typical kiwi bloke at a dance - most new people are keen to be there but nervously stand on the sidelines. They want to be a part of things - but aren’t too sure how to get in amongst it all. It is nerve wracking being ‘that new person’ - you’re not yet in the inner circle, and everything is new.
Employer tip: Make sure your new person is assigned a buddy. Their buddy needs to be empathic and have time to spend with the new person on their first day. The buddy can give them basic info and be the person to go to if they have dumb questions to ask (which is totally normal!).
I am having to form new habits.
From getting to work, to where to park or which bus route to take - everything is new. Even the coffee shop - and frankly for some of us - this is huge! Sometimes a change in jobs means a new gym to join and a different schedule (maybe you have to travel longer to get to work). Forming new habits is hard at the best of times, let alone when you’re in a new job.
Employer tip: Prior to the person starting - send them information on parking buildings, good places for coffee and lunch, and local gyms to get them started.
I feel a tad useless (and that’s frustrating).
How annoying is it when systems don’t work? Or when you can’t get the scanner to scan? When you’re in a new job - everything is new and you’re likely frustrated because the IT gear is different. You might not know how to use it and you feel a bit useless compared to your normal self.
Employer tip: Make sure you are checking in with new people - how is their computer set up? Are they having trouble with any tech?
I’m on alert because I don’t know the office vibe (and if I’ve made the right decision!).
Within every organisation - there is an understanding of each other that is formed over time and by spending time with each other. Organisations are work homes to all kinds of people - the over-worker, the diligent worker, the drama queen, the drifter, the ego maniac, plus a lot of nice people too! When you are new, you’re frantically trying to work out people - observing interactions and conversations to understand everyone. This is emotionally taxing, so often new people will be exhausted in their first couple of weeks.
Employer tip: Talk through the background of people in the team with your new person. Obviously, you won’t be commenting on performance or your personal impression of people, but just giving a new person a bit of background about the team makes it easier to remember names and gives an opportunity for a connection (for example - realising you were born in the same home town or like the same sport makes it easier to form a connection).
My brain is working overtime - so I’m not really operating at my ‘normal’ capability.
Often, we find that when people start in a new role, there is so much to absorb and get to grips with that they don’t operate at their normal capacity. Which is totally understandable when you consider what they have going on in their brains! As an employer, it's important to give new hires a bit of space, understanding and time to allow them to get up to their normal speed.
Employer tip: Back off with the prejudgement and expectations in the first month. How effective people are in the first couple of weeks is not always a measure of how good they are in the role in the long term. Make sure you aren’t putting the pressure on from day one. Normally a ramp up training and results plan will get the best out of people.
You’ve worked so hard to find, attract and successfully hire your new person - make sure you start the new employment relationship on a good note, by being aware of how hard it is sometimes being the new person, and having measures in place to support them.