After recently beginning my position as a graphic designer in the TKO Graphix marketing department, I came to realize the genuine welcome I received was like none I’d experienced before. With previous positions, my first days of employment were filled with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, but the positive approach used by my new employer made me realize the way a new employee is welcomed and treated during their first few weeks could mold the way they feel about the organization for years to come.
While interacting with my new coworkers, terms and jargon were used, provoking tons of questions. My questions resulted from my having yet to learn the everyday inner-workings and terms used by my new employer, or as some state, the “tribal knowledge” of the company. This acquisition of tribal knowledge, for me, is always one of the most stressful things about starting a new job.
You Can Only Be the “New Girl” For So Long…
On my first day, I was briefed on company policies, read my new handbook, and met many wonderful people — but I had no clue where the water fountain was, where I threw away my trash, or if there was any way I could turn down the intercom volume on my phone. You know, the simple things.
The typical solution to my problem would be to know this knowledge would come eventually as I gain more experience within the company. There will come a time, however, when I’m no longer the new girl and there will be someone else wondering the same tribal-related questions as I had during my first few days. That made me think – if employers have handbooks for policies, benefits, and retirement packages, would it be crazy to include a “Getting Started Kit?”
I’m aware that many large companies have long-term mentorship programs in place to assist newer employees by placing them with more experienced ones, or detailed introductions to the company and policies, but that’s not what I am proposing with this idea. Despite the issue that it may have to be updated frequently, I believe having a light-hearted, short informational brochure (or online PDF) for new hires with the following may be helpful:
- • List of employees, including names, positions, a brief job description, phone extension, and email. Also, an organizational chart would be helpful.
- • Brief tips from supervisors, other recent hires, or experienced co-workers on how to be a successful member of the team.
- • A map of the building and premises, which could be marked for each new employee showing appropriate parking, bathrooms, and emergency exits.
- • A FAQ answering questions new hires may have that employers don’t think to mention during training (e.g. where do I throw away my trash?)
Luckily, I’ve been given an outstanding team to work with, but other new hires at different organizations may not be as fortunate. I am finally feeling confident in my abilities to find the trash bags, the bathrooms, and the way to the interstate from the parking lot and am slowly, but surely, becoming acclimated with the TKO tribe. My first few days of excitement and learning, as well as the positive welcome I received, set the precedent for the future and I look forward to growing into a valuable member of this team.