Newbies don’t know what they don’t know

23 Apr, 2024
Newbies don’t know what they don’t know

The first three months on the job can be stressful for new employees. But AUT Business School Professor Helena Cooper-Thomas, an expert on employees’ experiences and behaviours at work, says there are practical ways for employers to help ensure newcomers feel supported to thrive in the workplace.

Writing for NZ Business + Management magazine, Helena says that seemingly obvious things, like sharing specific information about break schedules, health and safety protocols, and job roles and responsibilities, ensure employees understand what is expected of them.

Helena also encourages employers to give fast feedback to new staff, to avoid the risk of bad habits “bedding in” and becoming the norm. Helena’s research shows newcomers value such feedback, reporting they “felt acknowledged and respected when their new colleagues commented on the quality of their work”.

Building collegial connections on the job is key to settling in. Helena notes that when established employees share “shortcuts” – knowledge that comes from experience in the workplace – the act of offering such information goes a long way to developing relationships on the job. Similarly, simple gestures such as participating in workplace small talk are linked with positive emotions and-day wellbeing.

Taking the time to work with new employees to understand what they uniquely bring to the job helps new employees to feel valued, says Helena. This, in turn, means the organisation can fully benefit from the new hire.

Investing the time to get newbies on the right path from the outset builds a solid foundation to develop employees who are committed and productive, and who contribute to, and stay, with the organisation.

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