How to Give New Teammates a Warm Welcome

ED FRAUENHEIM

Author

Nancy Ceseña

Author

ED FRAUENHEIM & NANCY CESENA

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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

Ed Frauenheim is a former Senior Director of Content at Great Place to Work®. He provides insights and shares stories about how great workplaces are better for business, better for people and better for the world. Ed has spoken at numerous events, published articles in FortuneWired and Inc. and co-written three books, including A Great Place to Work For All.

Nancy Ceseña

Nancy Ceseña is a Data Scientist at Great Place to Work®. She leads the algorithm development for the Best Workplaces lists and co-authored the Innovation By All whitepapers. Nancy is dedicated to elevating the voice of traditionally underrepresented groups of employees. She attended UC Berkeley, earning her B.A. in Statistics and a minor in Demography. Her love for data is rivaled only by her love of Pizza Hut.

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

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

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. 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. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

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

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. 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. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

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

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

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

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. 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. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

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

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. 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. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.