DairyExcel: Keep new employee’s feelings in mind

Remember the first day on a new job and how you felt? It is even more memorable if you were only 16 when you got your first job.

Keep those feelings in mind when working with new employees on their first few days on the job. Many times the people in farm families may have never had another job thus no experience to draw from on how it feels to be the first day on a new job. In those cases, a little planning and forethought will be necessary to make a new employee’s first few days a positive experience.

The following information offers some simple suggestions to help make the first few days a good experience for managers, co-workers and the like.

The first days. Managers do not have to shoulder all the responsibility of new employee orientation the first few days. Co-workers of the new employee could and should help provide guidance and answer questions for the new employee.

Remember there is only one chance to make a good impression on a new employee, so take advantage of the opportunity. Greet them with enthusiasm and welcome them to the operation.

Co-workers should also help make the employee feel welcome. Do not be afraid to offer positive guidance to new employees when they are struggling with a particular job or doing something wrong. The thought here is the quicker the new employee gets up to speed with his or her duties, the faster the workload on the manager and co-worker will go back to normal.

Avoid negativity. Keep the corrections positive. Comments like, “Hey dummy, that is not the way to do that,” or “The guy before you always did it this way, and did it better,” or “Get out of the way and let me show you how to do it right” do little good.

If comments are made like these the first couple of days on a job they are remembered forever. This is not the way to get a new employee of on the right foot. Someone, manager or co-workers, should always help new employees get acquainted with the day-to-day informal duties, schedules and locations of “things”.

Simple stuff. Ever had a first day on the job where you had to ask something as simple as where the restrooms are? Don’t make people struggle through the simple stuff. It makes a bad first impression.

Think of those things that are routine for everyone like location of the break room, supply locations, keys to equipment, what do people usually do at break time, where do you put your lunch, who is responsible for laundry and when is it done and so on. Many managers have a checklist of those routine items and utilize that list in employee orientation. That is a lot easier than trying to remember all those routine items every time someone new comes on board.

Include new employees in all sessions that are occurring. If, as a manager, you are having a brainstorming session with employees, include everyone. Listen and solicit new ideas from all employees. Many times new employees tend to be quiet so a manager may have to work hard to get participation, but at least make the attempt.

Each new day. One easy trap that managers and co-workers fall into is telling new employees all the bad things that have happened at the farm in the past. A manager and co-workers should keep his or her comments positive. The more negatives you give new employees the less likely they will like the people and the new job.

Some co-workers are especially good at telling all the bad things about an operation. Tell employees if they can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all.

Remember that each day gets easier for new employees, their co-workers and managers. Do not expect miracles on the first day, week or even month. Give new employees time to fit in with others and develop a routine. Doing so will help groom a valuable team member.

(Send comments or questions in care of “Farm and Dairy,” P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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