by Nicole Zdeb
The first few weeks at a new job can be among the most stressful experiences anyone will have to endure. The workplace itself shouldn’t add to that anxiety.
The multifamily industry, naturally, prides itself on warm-and-welcoming first impressions. It’s the key to attracting residents and keeping them in the building. So, if any industry should be innately adept at creating a comfortable environment for new associates, it’s ours.
A new hire’s uneasiness can spike if they arrive at their new job, only receive a lukewarm acknowledgement of their presence and are expected to get right to work without truly knowing the specifics of what their duty entails. Thankfully, operators can take several steps to avoid these pitfalls and ensure new associates ease into their new team comfortably.
A congenial welcome
Put yourself in the shoes of new associates and understand that the experience can be at once exciting and nerve-wracking. Tensions can be eased by a warm welcome that includes team member introductions, small welcome-aboard gifts— think team-branded materials such as T-shirts, travel mugs, sunglasses, beanie hats, etc.—and a meal with the team. Utilizing your talent acquisition team can help tremendously by acquainting new associates with any resources they might need for their role. They can remain in close contact throughout the onboarding process to ensure things progress in smooth fashion. Immediate supervisors can assist by creating a valuable, yet not overwhelming, work agenda for the first 30 days.
Be ready to match the sterling first impression an employee aims to make when they arrive for their first day. It is important to avoid running into a situation in which they’re not exactly sure what they are supposed to be doing. Providing proper training, particularly at the outset, can greatly increase the odds of whether a new hire will be a longtime fit for the organization. Assigning a mentor to the new associate is always a solid practice, as it enables the new hire to both operate independently while having a personal resource for any questions they might have. The mentor, typically a peer associate, can minimize anxiety and provide continuous training for the new associate’s role and for their desired career path.
To add a further layer, the mentor can report any specifics of the new hire’s onboarding process to an organization’s people support team, and that team can provide advice, guidance and help to implement any needed improvements.
Create an onboarding checklist
Even if it feels like you’ve thought of everything, it’s best to double- and triple-check when it concerns someone who might morph into a longtime contributor for the company. Supplying a digital checklist with relevant employee forms and the company handbook ensures the new hire can quickly find answers to any company-at-large questions. Teams also can furnish a detailed onboarding schedule that includes a guide of what associates can expect in their first week. Some companies also pass along a quick “getting to know you” survey, which enables the new hire to pass along some personal affects that will help acquaint them with the team.
Even in an industry as people centric as multifamily, apprehension can certainly exist for new associates. By implementing the steps above, operators can help quell anxieties and ensure new hires have the resources they need to succeed. It doesn’t have to stop there, as companies sometimes extend the warm greeting to the new hire’s family—including welcome bouquets for spouses, pet treats, edible arrangements for kids and more.
The primary idea, particularly in a competitive employment environment in which attracting and retaining new associates is immeasurably valuable, is to make certain your new associates are comfortable and taken care of. After all, they could be a primary driving force for your company in the not-too-distant future.
Nicole Zdeb is the Director of People Support for Birchstone Residential.