How to introduce yourself when you are a new hire
As of last week, I am a new hire. I have mentioned in the last few posts, I recently started a new job. I have the good fortune of leading an HR department for a technology company with a little over 200 employees and I am pretty excited. The team is technically super strong, passionate about culture and HR has a voice.
Like all new hires, I face the same challenges we all face when we start a new job. To continue the theme of posting real life job search experiences, I thought I would continue with my real life on-boarding process.
There are a few things that any new hire needs to do during their on-boarding process:
- Learn the company’s main product / service
- Learn about the product that your individual department is working on
- Learn how to work effectively with your new team and new manager
Beyond the above, from an HR perspective, I feel I need to do a couple of additional things:
- Understand and add to the culture of the company
- Learn what departments are located where in the building
- Learn employees’ names, what they do and where they sit
The last item for me is the toughest and the most important. I am not going to build any relationships if I do not know anyone in the company. If I do not know anyone in the company, no one is going to feel comfortable enough to approach me and ask for help. And lets face it, 200 plus employees is a lot names, seats and positions to remember.
I blogged about how to be successful your first 30 days as a new hire a few years ago and thought I would take a page out of the HRNasty book.
My first day was last Wednesday and I spent the majority of the time getting my shiny new laptop and various systems set up and log in’s organized.
Thursday night, I put together the following email in preparation for the next morning:
Subject Line: Free Top Pot Donuts in the lunchroom
My name is HRNasty and I am the newest member of Tribe HR here at AcmePublishing. They haven’t kicked me off the island and to celebrate, I brought in 5 – dozen Top Pot donuts. This translates to a dozen donuts for each person on the HR team and 1 donut for the first 12 employees who swing by and introduce themselves. I am temporarily sitting with the typesetters on floor 10 but to make it easy on everyone, this morning I will be working in the lunchroom on floor 11 with open boxes of gluten and sugar.
I realize there are more than 12 employees here at AcmePublishing, but I figured I could only remember a few names a week. Next Friday we are working on pony rides for the next 12 introductions.
In all seriousness, plenty of donuts. Don’t be bashful. We want to meet you.
(I obviously changed the names and departments to protect the innocent for this post)
My goal with the above email was 3 fold:
- Let everyone know that HR is in the house!
- Let everyone know that I am NOT going to sit in my office, worrying about my stapler. I am going to pound the pavement and build relationships. I held this in the lunchroom near the coffee machine because we are on neutral territory. When was the last time you said “hey, I am going to visit the HR guy in his office”.
- Use a little humor so the reader knows that this is not your traditional HR practitioner from Office Space.
This donut party was my ice-breaker and I was planning on making introductions at scale.
Moving forward, when I see someone in the hall, I will be able to give them the chin nod of acknowledgement or strike up a conversation.
On Friday morning, I got up early, hit up TopPot and picked up 5-dozen donuts. For those of you not familiar, TopPot is our local “hand forged” hipster donut chain and I have to admit, they make a damm good apple fritter.
By 8:00 AM, my email went out to the employees at AcmePublishing and I had a cup of coffee, laptop and 5 boxes of carbs in the lunchroom. I was ready to sip my morning coffee, chow on an apple fritter, and check email. I was also was praying a few faces would show up and not leave me hanging. I didn’t know what to expect or what type of reception I would receive.
My fear was that I would be pushing a cart around the halls of the company later that morning like an airline steward asking employees “Apple fritter? Maple bar?”
The role of Donut Boy roaming the halls was what I really feared (I didn’t want to bother anyone while they were working). Well, I didn’t get to open my laptop and I didn’t have time for a donut. It was a success. From 8 to 10:00 AM, I had a pretty constant stream of customers. A lot of folks only had half a donut so I probably met close to 7-dozen employees. Most were there for the donut and the introduction but a good number of folks just came by to introduce themselves.
It has only been a few days since the donut introductions So far, I have been able to recognize and acknowledge employees, solidify my initial introduction with short chats in the hallway and strike up conversations with a ton of fellow co-workers. I am really glad I didn’t sit in my cave Friday morning taking inventory on staplers. Even folks that were out-of-town that day have come by to say hello and say they wished they were there.
If you are a manager of a department and have a new hire, bring in a box of donuts for the new hire to hold at their desk to facilitate introductions. If you are the new hire, edit the introduction above and bring in your own box of donuts. And if you are a new HR person that does need to eventually meet everyone, be bold, be forceful, be pro active and let them know that HR is in the house!
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