Once a new employee joins an organisation, it is normal for the leader to meet the new employee. However, the reason that most such meetings do not result in a fruitful discussion or indeed happen at all, is because of a lack of clarity about when a leader should meet a new employee and what they ought to talk about.
This is why, in this article, we give you a point-by-point guide on when to meet your new employee and what to talk about.
When to Meet
The decision of when to meet a new employee is guided by several factors
Which Day of the Week?
Ideally, you should schedule the first meeting with your new employee towards the middle of the week. Try to keep a time slot on Tuesdays or Wednesday to accommodate these meetings.
Mondays, being the beginning of the week, tend to be packed with follow-up meetings and planning and reviews. Fridays, on the other hand, can often be too lethargic to have a fruitful meeting.
Know Each Other Before You Meet
You should give some time to the new employee to settle in and get to know the workplace, colleagues, and processes a little, first., before you have the meeting. It bodes for a better and more relaxed meeting once the employee has time to settle.
Hence, you should ideally target the middle of the second week after the employee joins your organisation.
Meet Without Distractions
Schedule the meeting on a day that is not too cramped with other commitments and distractions.
We feel the hour before lunch is the ideal time for these meetings. This way, even if the meeting gets extended, you can have an informal discussion over lunch.
Don’t get too formal, though. Keep it light and relaxed. It is best to make them feel at ease and avoid anything too taxing.
Be the Best You
The first meeting is useful to set an impression about yourself and the organisation in the mind of the new employee. Be the best version of yourself!
Ensure you are punctual, perhaps you could even get there early? After all, this meeting is about the employee. Try not make them wait.
Even though it is an informal meeting, you should look your best, be sharp and attentive and present the best picture of your organisation.
Let the employee know about the meeting well in advance. For instance, if the meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning, you should convey the same to the employee at least by Monday morning.
Now that you have zeroed in on the timing…
What do you Talk About?
The first meeting between a leader and a new employee is meant to be an ice-breaker. It is aimed at both of them getting to know each other, so that:
- The employee gets to learn more about the organisation
- The leader gets to learn about the employee – his/her areas of interest, values, capabilities, goals and ambitions, expectations and mindset.
This helps the leader in the long run by helping their employee find the future job position that best fits the employee. Finding the perfect match between an employee and role is instrumental in the growth and development of both the employee as well as the organisation.
Keeping this in mind, and the fact that these are typically short meetings where you cannot cover a lot of ground, we have curated a list of 7 things that you can talk about in your first meeting with a new employee.
1. Get to Know Them as a Person
You have recruited someone for your organisation based on their professional capabilities. But how well do you know them personally? This first meeting is the best way for you to gain insight into the type of person they are.
Engage in small talk about their home and family. Talk about their ideals and their sources of motivation in life.
You can also talk about individual likes and dislikes. In this case, share your own likes and dislikes in order to prompt the new employee to confide in you.
Discussing childhood memories tend to put people into a certain comfort zone and help them open up further about themselves. You can use this as a conversation starter, too.
All this will help you know your employee as a person, beyond the confines of their professional life. In the process, your employee gives you significant insights about their emotional setup and personal values.
After all, the first meeting is all about building a lasting relationship with your employee. How do you build a successful relationship unless you know the person out of their professional role?
An effective way to do this is to get to know each other over lunch, outside of the business.
2. Learn About Their Hobbies
You can use probing questions like
“Tell me something that you love to do in your free time.”
“Where can one find you when you are not at work?”
Knowing about the hobbies and interests of your employees can help you become a more employee friendly organisation.
For example, at company get-togethers, you could think of innovative activities and prizes that cater to the hobbies of your employees.
While these are small gestures, they help to build your value among the employees. And it’s the small detailed things that really make a big impact.
3. Learn About Their Previous Experiences
You may well have come across this information during the selection process, but discussing it at length in a one-on-one meeting is certainly different from an interview scenario.
Ask them about the previous job position they have held before joining your organisation or any specific memorable project that may have worked upon.
You can build upon this, probing them to share the details of the challenges faced and how it was resolved. This will give you important information about their problem solving capability and will add to your understanding of how far they can develop and what positions would suit them in the future.
You can also ask the employee to share their achievements. This will give them a sense of pride and make them feel valued, too.
4. What Excites Them About the New Job?
You can also talk about why they joined your organisation- what do they know about the work that you do? How do they see themselves contributing to the organisation? What aspects of the job excites them the most?
Also, since the meeting is held after one week of getting to know the workplace, you can also discuss what they like or dislike about the workplace, so far?
This is a good way to get to know the reason behind them joining your organisation and it also serves as feedback for your organisational culture and the observations that only an outsider would see.
5. Understand their Preferences, Goals and Ambitions
This line of conversation helps you, as a leader, to gauge the preferences of your new employees and helps you guide them effectively towards achieving their goals.
After all, if you can develop your employees, your team capabilities as a collective, improve too. Being on the ball by knowing what each employee wants in their career is good to know, as you can help develop them to achieve it over time.
Ask them about their preferences regarding:
- The type of team they would like to work with
- Whether they would like to be appreciated privately or in public
- What type of projects they would like to work on
You should also ask your employee about their vision for themselves – where they see themselves in the short term (1 year), medium term (3-5 years) and long term (5-10 years or more). Knowing this can help you chart a path for growth and development of the employees whom you can see creating the most value for your organisation in the days to come.
6. Expectations From you, the Team, or the Organisation
As you move towards the end of your meeting, talk about what the employee expects from the Organisation.
Some people might expect a good work-life balance while others may expect a rapid career growth. This will help you determine the most appropriate role for your new employee.
The expectations from their team also plays a major role in determining their job satisfaction. Hence, this should also feature in your first meeting with a new employee.
And finally you should also ask if you, in your capacity as a leader, can help in any way, to make this new job a better experience for them.
7. Anything you Want to Know About Me?
As a means to conclude the meeting, you can implore the employee to ask you about something that they would like to know.
This can be about
- How you manage your time
- Your visions for the organisation as a leader
- Your own experience with the organisation
- Some tips to excel in the organisation and so on
The idea is to give them a head start by sharing the experiences that you gained during your time with the organisation.
However, remember that this meeting is about the employee. So rather than launching a monologue about your achievements, you should keep your stories short and rather bring the focus back to the employee.
In addition to this, the first meeting with a new employee, like any other meeting, should be meticulously planned and executed. You can refer to our article on how to lead meetings effectively for a ready reference on how you can plan and conduct a meeting to perfection.
But keep it formal and conversational. Perhaps, even, take them out for lunch to get to know them in a relaxed and open setting?