By Shiela Mie Legaspi, President — Cyberbacker
As anyone who has ever started a new job can tell you, being the new kid in town can be nerve-wracking. After all, when you are entering unfamiliar territory, you want to put your best foot forward, and you want your new manager to remember why they hired you.
When they are still fairly new in their role, unfamiliar processes, people, and guidelines can make new employees feel like fish out of water, but people who feel anxiety when stepping into a new job are not alone. Calming the new job jitters is part of the role managers play, and doing so effectively is the hallmark of a great leader.
For this reason, managers should approach the anxiety their new employees might feel with a focus on empathy and a desire to serve. Taking this approach to onboarding processes can help alleviate some of the typical nervousness employees will feel about their new job.
However, calming new job anxiety must go beyond the onboarding process to be truly effective. With a thoughtful pre- and post-onboarding experience, new employees can ease into their new position and integrate seamlessly into their new job’s culture.
Below, I outline some of the most valuable tips and tricks managers can lean on to help their new employees begin their roles confident and anxiety-free.
1. Information galore
When it comes to a new job, there is no such thing as too much information for the new employee. As such, managers should offer up as much information about the company, the position, the team they are joining, and the environment or culture of the business as they can.
The more information the new employee has during the first few days of their new position, the more prepared they will feel moving forward and the more comfortable they will feel in their role. The information given will help quell some of the new employee’s nervousness, which can often be a result of simply not knowing what to expect from the job.
2. Have a pre-onboarding plan
Before the new employee shows up for their first day of work, a plan should be in place for pre-onboarding. The lines of communication should be open before the first day which allows for the new employee to ask questions. The manager should organize information for the new employee that includes a list of topics that will be covered in onboarding, the schedule for onboarding, and the key people or teams that they will meet and interact with.
Remember: there is no such thing as too much information. Any business that offers an organized and comprehensive onboarding experience should have all of this information at hand to give to the new employee.
3. Have a comprehensive onboarding process
No matter their position or experience level, the actual onboarding experience for any new employee should be well-organized and role-specific. New employees should not feel lost or confused during the onboarding process, but be well-directed and well-informed.
Throughout the onboarding process, the manager should conduct post-topic assessments to make sure the new employee is understanding the process and the topics at hand. Managers should discuss correct answers to questions at length with the new employee to ensure full understanding.
The onboarding process is something that should not be rushed. Rather, managers should approach it as a period of time for the new employee to settle into their position and calm their own jitters by asking questions and getting complete answers.
4. Have an after-onboarding plan
Once onboarding is complete, the new employee should not feel like they are simply thrown to the wolves. Supporting a new employee goes beyond onboarding and their anxiety can be eased if they feel like they will continue to be supported even as they begin their positions and integrate with their team.
For example, the new employee’s senior manager should give a “handshake endorsement” of the new employee to the person they will be directly reporting to. It’s up to the manager to ensure the employee is ready to start and has all of the information and initial training they need to begin their position. A failure to launch is not necessarily the fault of the new employee, but could be the result of a failed onboarding process.
Part of the after-onboarding plan can be assigning a mentor to the new employee that will help them in their transition from onboarding to working going forward. This mentor can help the new employee familiarize themselves with the day-to-day culture of the company and be a go-to help so the manager isn’t alone in supporting the new employee.
5. An open-door policy
New employees should feel comfortable coming to their leaders with questions, concerns, and direction, even after onboarding. They should be given the contact information of their managers and managers should have an open-door policy for their reports.
New employees who know they do not have to fear asking questions will be much less anxious about their new jobs. As a result, they will be more comfortable asking questions or for help when needed as they settle into their new role with the company.
6. Give feedback and have fun
One of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of a new job is not knowing where you stand in the eyes of your managers. After the onboarding process is completed, managers should still provide feedback to the new employee about their performance. Managers can resolve any persistent jitters by checking in with new hires on a regular basis and scheduling time to dive into any concerns or questions the new employee may have.
It can also help to plan something fun for the team that the new employee is joining, ideally within the first few weeks of the new employee’s start date. This will allow for some relaxed team building and personalized connection between team members.
The role of the manager is multifaceted, but putting new hires at ease is a significant part of the manager’s job. With a solid plan in place and an empathetic approach, managers can help new hires feel less anxiety and more optimistic excitement as they embark on their new career adventure.
— Shiela Mie Legaspi is the President of Cyberbacker, the leading provider of virtual assistance and administrative support services from anywhere in the world to anyone in the world. She empowers growth-minded business owners with world-class economic leverage to fill their greatest purpose. Legaspi is an expert on career coaching in the remote workplace, and she leads the company to organizational excellence through her work centered around workforce experience. She excels in people management and teaches others how to lead with integrity, purpose, and passion.