Excited for a new employee to join your team? Your new hire is likely to be excited too, but there’s a good chance they’re also feeling anxiety, nervousness, and other emotions that make their palms sweat and their heart pound.
In a recent Monster poll, an overwhelming 87% of candidates said they have experienced “new job jitters,” or the feeling of nervousness or anxiety when starting a new job. These jitters are so bad that about 1 in 2 said starting a new job is scarier than a performance review, visiting the dentist, holding a spider or snake, or even skydiving—yikes.
“There is a lot at stake with a new job, as few people have the luxury of quitting without another role lined up, particularly with the current economic conditions,” says Dr. Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, founder and career coach of caffeinatedkyle.com. “Simply put, candidates need to be successful in their new jobs to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. There is also the added pressure to perform and avoid being laid off in an incredibly competitive job market.”
While it’s completely normal for a new hire to be a little nervous for their first day of work, when those nerves become so great that they start to lose sleep or their personal relationships begin to suffer, employers need to evaluate what they can do to help keep those jitters in check.
How to Ease New Hire Fears
Prioritizing employee mental health should start before the employee’s first day of work even begins. Failure to do so could lead to negative repercussions. In a Monster poll, 22% of workers said they weren’t able to perform to the best of their ability because of their new job jitters.
“It’s important to ensure new hires know they are walking into a psychologically safe environment on day one,” says Shayna Royal, director of recruiting at Paycor. “They need to know it’s okay to ask questions, suggest new ideas, and not know everything. Doing this sets the tone for the onboarding process and ultimately their experience with the company and their willingness to be forthcoming around concerns that may impact them from fully showing up. We want our associates to feel their best and give their best, but if they’re bogged down with the anxiety of new job jitters, that’s not possible and it will be clear we did not do our best to prepare them.”
Addressing mental health and quelling new job jitters starts with having the right employer branding in place. Here are a few ways you can help put new hires at ease ahead of their first day on the job.
Make a Great First Impression Through Your Career Site
Your career site is often one of the first places a candidate or new hire goes to learn more about your company, so it’s important to show them what it’s really like to work for your company. Showcasing company leadership, DE&I programs, and employee resource groups, can help new hires better see themselves fitting into your organization. A great career site should also include testimonials from current employees, giving new hires extra peace of mind.
Clearly Define Job Responsibilities
As much as you would like your new hires to hit the ground running, a Monster poll found that it typically takes most new hires about 1 to 3 months to feel settled into their role. Almost one-third of respondents (65%) said they felt imposter syndrome or the feeling of self-doubt and personal incompetence, during their most recent onboarding process. Trevor Bogan, regional director at Top Employers Institute, says, “The fear of failure can drive people to doubt their skills and capabilities in their new role.”
One way employers can help alleviate any doubts early on is by setting expectations right from the beginning in the job description. “The job descriptions should be clear and detailed so as to accurately describe each role’s requirements, duties, and responsibilities,” Bogan says. “This will let applicants know what to expect from the position.”
Articulate Company Values and Benefits
An employer value proposition (EVP) is a promise of what you, the employer, will give to your employees in return for their time, loyalty, and productivity. This presents a perfect opportunity to set and clarify expectations for new hires before they even decide to join your company.
Your EVP is also a great place to mention any special perks or benefits, such as paid time off, flexible work arrangements, healthcare, and parental leave policies, which will help reassure new hires that wellness is a priority. This is especially important considering that 1 in 4 workers will hold off submitting any PTO requests when they first start a new job. Not to mention, many workers are scared to tell their new boss they’re pregnant or expecting a child.
Showcase Your Brand Through Social Media
Social media channels allow you to show and tell real stories in real-time, which can further help candidates and new hires get a sense of what life will be like when working for your company. “Through social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, employers can post updates about upcoming job openings or showcase happy employee stories,” Bogan says. “This will create a positive image of their brand, which will convince potential candidates that they’ll be joining a great team if they take up the role.”
Humanize Employer Communications
When communicating with a candidate or a new hire, it’s important for employers to remember they are speaking to an actual human being, not an anonymous person behind a computer screen. Royal says, “Employers can add personal touches to humanize their branding and build deeper connections that create a psychologically safe environment to help curb those new job jitters. Breathing life into communications via social media posts, websites, and email communications can help new hires feel more connected. At Paycor, we’ve done this by sending personalized, quick videos from executives welcoming new team members and ensuring that candidates know about our inclusive culture that encourages people to bring their whole selves to work.”
Address Mental Health and Wellness During the Interview Process
A great candidate experience can set the tone for onboarding and often lead to a great experience working at your company. Elliott says, “When recruiting and interviewing candidates, consider how you market and talk about your mental health benefits as well as your philosophy toward time off.” For example, hearing from a hiring manager about being an engaged parent and that the company doesn’t give them any issues ducking out for a bit to pick up their kid from school can be a powerful story.
Create a Roadmap for Day One and Beyond
After the job offer has been accepted, remember to continue communicating with the candidate in the days leading up to their first day of work. Let them know what they can expect on their first day, the first 30 days, the first 90 days, and beyond.
“Recruiters should create a roadmap explaining in detail what day one looks like, who they’ll talk to, and when and where they need to be,” Royal says. “Teams need to think through even the tiniest details like sharing what time to log on (time zones can cause confusion for remote teams), and what to do once they’re online. This can take a huge load off of a new hire’s mind, so they can focus on getting to know people, learning their way around, and soaking in mountains of new information.”
Offer an Orientation for New Hires
A new hire orientation can be a great way to ensure every new hire gets all the information they need to be successful in your company. “Employers can help boost a candidate’s confidence for their first day of work by offering an orientation for new hires,” Bogan says. “An orientation allows the candidate to get to know the team and workplace better as well as receive an in-depth overview of the company, its mission, and expectations. Additionally, it can provide helpful tools, such as an employee handbook or training materials that will give them an understanding of the job from day one.” An orientation also allows new hires to ask any questions about benefits or paid time off policies they may have felt uncomfortable bringing up in the interview process.
Learn More About Employer Branding
From conveying your company’s commitment to employee mental health to perfecting your messaging on work-life balance, Monster’s Employer Branding Guide can answer all of your questions about how to devise a branding strategy to attract today’s top candidates. Download today to learn more.