The New Job, Part 2: Helping a Colleague Settle In

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Last week, we blogged about the pressures of starting a new job and offered a few tips about putting your best foot forward in an unknown office environment. But what about the best practices when a colleague or employee is the new face in the company?

Those just starting off may feel under stress trying to find their place within the office culture. By offering your support, even through minor gestures, you are working to build solid relationships within your company – and you even may be fostering a connection that could prove strategic in the future.

Here are some methods for building great connections between colleagues, starting from the first day onward:

First Things First: Introductions

This may seem obvious, but if there is no organized introduction of the new staff member to the office, it can be easy to get distracted with work and completely miss a formal introduction! Take two minutes out of your routine to approach a new colleague and introduce yourself and your role within your organization. Learn about his or her work history and interests. Starting with an introduction beyond simply names will help the new colleague to get to know the staff faster.

Be Available to Help – But Don’t Overdo It

Make it clear to the new employee that you are available for questions and assistance if necessary. However, one of the best ways to learn is through experience, and in a new job we all learn from trial and error and on-the-spot training. So, don’t crowd your new colleague or impede on his or her learning process, but even knowing you are there to help will prove comforting to a new employee when an answer or process is not clear.

Extend an Invitation

Do you and your co-workers go out to dinner on Fridays, or do you occasionally leave the office for lunch off-site? If so, invite your new colleague along to one of these outings. Socializing with staff members in a more casual setting will help the new person to feel more comfortable in the office environment. If you don’t go out with colleagues on a regular basis, consider organizing a lunch date and provide an open invitation to the office as an opportunity to get to know your latest employee.

Office Culture and Environment

Helping a new colleague understand the office culture can be immensely useful as they are finding a place within the company. However, be wary of engaging in gossip; don’t share negative information about colleagues or behaviours in the office as a means to explain the office atmosphere.

Providing guidance on the office space will also be beneficial to a new member of the team. Help to orient, not only in the office itself but also in the surrounding area – such as where the best lunch spots are or the nearest bank and post office.

Mentorship: What’s in it for you

Reaching out to a new colleague from day one could develop into a mentor-mentee relationship. There are many benefits to becoming a mentor: as time passes, you could learn new things as your mentee shares his or her own perspective or an alternative generational outlook. This relationship will also allow you to refine and display your management skills, which may help you to advance in your company.

For more information: check out this great blog post from Forbes.com, which advises women in the workplace on how mentorship can boost a career.

Being “the new person” is an experience that everyone must undergo at some point. Make the most of this situation by lending a helping hand to a new colleague – and watch its benefits unfold for the both of you!