How to Give New Teammates a Warm Welcome

ED FRAUENHEIM & NANCY CESENA

Author

Warm receptions are a secret weapon to thrive across a recession

Hospitality isn’t usually considered a critical business capability, at least not beyond the hotel and restaurant industries.

But it turns out that making people feel at home is a key to surviving and thriving amid downturns.

Great Place to Work® research into the Great Recession of 2007-2009 discovered that how welcomed employees felt when changing jobs and teams is a predictor of company performance.

Feeling welcomed to new work units was one of five areas of the employee experience that distinguished companies that outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 4x before, during and after the Great Recession.

 

Why is a warm reception for new members crucial in a downturn?

Our finding about the link between welcoming teams and financial performance reflects the growing importance of team effectiveness to business success as well as the crucial role of psychological safety in a workgroup.

What’s more, teams often are volatile in a recession. Their make-up and purpose can change rapidly as strategies and company structures shift amid uncertainty. Whether hiring new people or shifting existing employees onto new teams, the tone is set early.

An inviting team climate cultivates engagement and best efforts. A cold greeting fosters indifference or worse.

Here’s what an employee from a company that fared poorly in the Great Recession told us:

“Don’t bully people into changing jobs or positions without consideration of what they want to do. Give the employee input on whether they want to change jobs or positions. You come back from vacation or time away from work and they’ve changed your job ‘for you.’”

How willing do you think that employee is to give their all for the new team or organization?

When possible, people ought to be joining new teams on a purely voluntary basis. Or they ought to have a say in the decision-making around where they land in the organization. Such approaches provide a foundation for a warm welcome to a new group.

Especially in a crisis, organizations may have to assign people to different teams quickly and without their input. But as the frustration in the employee quote above indicates, involuntary moves make it doubly important for teams and leaders to make new members feel at home as much as possible.

 

How to make new team members feel welcome

Recognize the impact of a new member

When a team takes on a new member, it’s said that it becomes a new team entirely. The first step in warmly welcoming people to new job roles and work units is to acknowledge they are changing the group dynamic—and viewing that shift positively.

New teammates will sniff out if their arrival is met with grudging acceptance —or worse— active hostility. Senior leaders can help set a tone of organizational agility, one that embraces ongoing change and prepares people to reset team norms and responsibilities frequently.

One way to do this is to have an introductory meeting that spotlights the skills and experience of the new teammate, the talents and contribution of each continuing team member and reframes the group’s capabilities overall.

Another is with a quarterly team “summits,” where everyone revisits the group’s purpose, takes stock of progress towards goals and the newest members are invited to share their “beginner’s mind” observations on what’s working and what could be better.

Adjust your welcoming efforts for the virtual world

As companies continue to embrace remote work, the transition of onboarding employees and integrating existing staff into new teams is becoming a common practice. Take the same, if not more, level of care and intentionality around connecting people to each other and to the business.

For instance, consider organizing a virtual version of the classic welcome lunch. Have everyone gather on a video call for that introductory meal.

This is an opportune time to highlight new and continuing members’ professional strengths and encourage individuals to share a bit about their interests and talents beyond work. Building personal connections remains essential, and although it’s different in a virtual setting, it’s equally important.

Furthermore, in a remote work environment, it remains crucial for leaders to check in regularly with new team members. Team leaders can also proactively facilitate one-on-one meetings between the newcomer and existing team members, fostering a sense of connection and collaboration.

Don’t tie all your perks to tenure

It sends a powerful message of inclusion when new employees get to enjoy many or all of a company’s perks and benefits the day they join the company.

Some of the Best Workplaces™, like hotel giants Marriott and Hilton, convey that all employees are equally valued and welcome by getting rid of separate dining rooms for executives or elevating the quality of break rooms for everyone.

Great Place to Work itself signals its hospitality to all new employees with what we call the “Get a Life Fund.” This is an annual gift of several hundred dollars designed to help staffers pursue a passion outside of work. Every employee gets the same amount of money, including new hires, who get the check on their first day of work.

Actively seek their ideas and involvement in decision-making

Perhaps the most powerful way you can show a new teammate that they are welcome is by sharing power with them from the get-go. Instead of making newbies “prove” themselves, trust them to make positive contributions beginning on day one.

A willingness to seek ideas from, and share power with, new teammates is a skill shown by what we call “For All” leaders. These leaders tend to cultivate the most innovative teams. That’s partly because they are often bringing in the ideas of new team members.

Be mindful of diversity, inclusion and equity
The Black Lives Matter movement, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, has highlighted the racism people of color often face in organizations. In fact, the death of George and many other Black, Latinx and Native American men and women at the hands of police has amplified the pain and unique burdens experienced by people of color.

Leaders ought to be sensitive of the needs of people of color joining teams—as well as of the power of having more than one person from an underrepresented group.

Welcoming leaders focus on building trusting relationships with everyone—largely through listening and learning about different experiences.

 

The power of welcoming teams

Earlier, we heard from an employee who described moving to a new team as a form of bullying. By contrast, consider this quote from an employee at a company that thrived during the last recession:

“When I joined the company, I was very impressed with how my entire department, and people from other departments, went out of their way to welcome me. The whole onboarding process was very well put together and very informative for a new employee. I hope to be here for many, many years.”

That’s the effect of a warm reception. An energized, devoted employee.

The kind of employee who can help their team and your organization succeed even in today’s tough climate.

ED FRAUENHEIM & NANCY CESENA

Author

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from