Think about the last time you started a new job. Do you remember how your new coworkers made you feel on day one? You probably do remember, because, as it turns out, people don't often forget their first day at a new job.
Right now, in Michigan, construction employees are needed and wanted like never before. But obtaining them isn't the only challenge. If our industry is going to thrive, we need to obtain and retain top talent. So on the first day, it's critical that new employees feel part of the team and a valued asset.
Here are six tips that can help your construction company create an environment of appreciation and camaraderie, two things that also minimize turnover. With just a little effort and sincerity, you can have a team, not just a staff.
Tip 1: Extend an Additional Verbal Welcome
As soon as the job is accepted, contact the new employee and verbally welcome them. Ask if they have any questions about their first day and do your best to answer them. Next, tell them how it works at your company. Do your workers drive their own vehicles or company vehicles to work sites? If they take company vehicles, let the new hire know which vehicle they will be riding in and what time it will leave. If the new hire is a first-time construction worker, make sure they know ahead of time the dress code and safety requirements and dress accordingly. Also fill them in on any meetings or other activities they will be expected to attend on their first day such as orientation or filling out forms for human resources. This attention to detail will help them feel less stressed about the new job and more inclined to jump right in!
Tip 2: Assign Your New Hire a "Buddy"
Designate a veteran employee to be the new hire’s mentor for year. This should be someone who will be on the same site and working with or near the new employee. Even well-seasoned construction workers need to ask questions when new on a job and will appreciate knowing there’s someone nearby who is ready and willing. Be sure to fill in the chosen mentor about the new hire and their experience and capabilities. Let mentors know what you expect of them, including introducing themselves to the new hire as soon as possible.
Tip 3: Provide a Welcome Kit
Things you might include are company swag, like pens or mechanical pencils, ball caps, and a travel coffee mug or water bottle. Also, include branded personal protective equipment (PPE) like a hard hat, safety vest and gloves, and safety T-shirts in their size. Make sure human resources provides all of the required information including your company employee handbook.
Tip 4: Notify Current Employees
Prior to the new hire’s first day, send an email to everyone on your staff letting them know the new employee’s name, area of expertise and experience. At smaller companies you might also ask employees to take a moment to introduce themselves and say “Welcome!” over the next few days. This gives everyone the chance to make a visual connection and create recognition, and will make the new hire feel like everyone is glad to have them on the team.
Tip 5: Give New Hires the Lay of the Land
Depending upon the new employee’s job duties, give them a tour of the building, and show them their office or where they have personal space, such as the locker room or other area for site workers. Also, be sure to let them know where your office is, where human resources is located, the restrooms and lunchroom, and areas where vehicles, tools and equipment are kept. It is also important that they know who to contact if/when they need new or replacement PPE required for job sites. If your new hire is from out-of-town, it's also considerate to provide some details on local dining options and other attractions.
Tip 6: Continue to Follow-Up
Let all new hires know that your door, and that of human resources is always open. If they have questions or concerns, they don’t have to guess or suffer in silence. It’s always better to address concerns as soon as possible, and employees will appreciate knowing management cares enough to listen and act before a concern becomes a problem.
The reality of construction today is there simply are not enough workers to go around so if you are able to hire quality people, you will want to keep them. Michigan Construction wanted to share a few tips of things that can be done to show your new hires they made the right decision when they accepted your job offer. Long term, management should continue to show they care, that they want happy employees and they will do what needs doing to keep them that way. We are in the business of building a better Michigan!