15 Ways to Help Your New Team Members Feel Welcome

As you add new members to your team, making them feel welcome can go a long way in helping the onboarding process go easier and more quickly. Your employees will appreciate the effort and will remember how you treated them as new hires.

That’s why we asked 15 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

Q. When onboarding new team members, what is the best way to make them feel genuinely welcome?

1. Empower them to speak the truth

In our all-hands meetings, I make it a point that everyone witnesses an intern or new employee correcting a C-level person’s error. I make a clear and obvious error (like a spelling or mental math error) on purpose, and allow a new hire to speak up and correct me. All too often in the corporate world, speaking truth to power is a scary proposition, and doing this shows that our company isn’t like that. —Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve

2. Offer them independence

I’ve found the best way to make new team members feel welcome is to establish expectations from the beginning, while also trusting them to do their job and giving them the independence they need to be productive and meet deadlines. —Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC


3. Get them some cake

Adding a personal touch can make a world of difference. For new hires, we’ve made a tradition out of bringing in a homemade cake (with a fondant company logo) to surprise them with when they walk in their first day. It not only shows that you care about them joining the team, but that you’re willing to spend your most valuable resource on them—your time. —Tim ChavesZipBooks Accounting Software

4. Eliminate first-day jitters

We implemented a full-day interview where candidates work alongside their prospective teams for a real “day in the life” experience. It’s an invaluable way to help us find people who are a best fit and a way for candidates to see if our company is a good fit for them. Most who’ve been through the process say that it eliminates first-day jitters—they already know the team! —David GreenbergUpdater


5. Offer flexibility

In my experience, if from the start you are able to genuinely communicate that you’re flexible and open to communication, while at the same time being firm in your expectations, you’ll be able to create respect in your new hires, as well as make them feel they are joining the right company. —Julian MontoyaJM11 Investments


6. Assign them a welcome buddy

Assign another employee to take a new hire out to lunch and be their unofficial “buddy” for the first few weeks of work. This is different from a manager who will do the more formal onboarding and training. A buddy can answer small but important questions about team culture, communication norms, where to find good coffee, etc., that will help the new hire feel comfortable and welcome. —Roger Lee, Human Interest

7. Spend some one-on-one time

I think it’s super important for new hires to have one-on-one chats with everyone in the company. Each person on my team is supposed to talk with new hires for a few minutes within the first week they arrive. Big groups can sometimes intimidate new people, but one-on-one time allows team members to find unusual hobbies or interests that they have in common. —Jessica Gonzalez, InCharged

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8. Show you care about their happiness

Showing we care about members’ happiness is a crucial way of making them feel welcome. One thing we do is ask them to share personal and professional dreams. We then create dream boards to display and help make those dreams come true. We periodically surprise them with “dreams-come-true” based on their dream boards—from trips to classes. This shows we care about them professionally and personally. —Adam Witty, Advantage Media Group

9. Ask them some funny questions

When onboarding new team members, have them get a little vulnerable in front of and with the team. It is a great way for people to learn about them and find commonalities. We ask a bunch of funny questions, some personal, but always respectful. It gets people connected beyond “where’d you work” and “where’d you grow up.” It’s easier to work together when you know each other’s most embarrassing moments! —Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

10. Offer in-depth training

Better training helps new team members get comfortable with their job quicker, and allows current team members to stay focused on their own work without having to worry about the new team member slowing their day down. This also helps new members feel more confident in their abilities to get over the learning curve and less like an annoyance to the current employees, asking for help only when needed. —Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

11. Create a personalized video and guide

Give them a personalized video and guide for their job that includes what you know about them already. Also offer ways to connect with others, and create a small event to host their welcome if they are local. —Angela Ruth, Calendar


12. Coordinate a meet-and-greet

Making the effort to coordinate a meet-and-greet in a new employee’s honor will definitely ease up any tension he or she might have about starting a new job. The quicker the employee is at feeling comfortable and settling in, the faster they can get to work! —Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.


13. Let them open up

A way I’ve found to effectively integrate a new hire into our team is to encourage them to open up about themselves through casual conversation. Allow them to take some time to meet the other team members, and may motivate them to share their passions. This will help them feel more comfortable in their work environment and can lead to fascinating insights that might inform future decisions. —Bryce WelkerCrush The PM Exam

14. Take them out to lunch or coffee

Taking a new employee out of the office and away from the work environment helps establish a trusting working relationship that can make all the difference in how dedicated that employee will be to your company’s vision. —Chris Quiocho, Offland Media


15. Build an animated GIF

As we’re rapidly expanding our team, we’ve become adept at welcoming new hires into the fold. As part of their initiation, we spotlight them in a welcome email, our monthly newsletter, and across our social media. And, to showcase their playful side, we capture their personality by turning them into an animated GIF! This helps break the ice, and hopefully, makes them feel genuinely welcome! —Stephen Ufford, Trulioo

RELATED: Square Pegs: 10 Things to Try When New Hires Don’t Fit In


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