7 Ways to Inspire First Year Workers (and Show Them The Big Picture, Too)

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Mar 21, 2014

The first years an employee is working can be challenging, but rich with growth and opportunity.

I’ve always loved starting with a fresh recruit who was eager to learn the ropes, discovering their talents, and helping guide them to success.

Sometimes an employee’s first year is spent being overwhelmed with all the details they have to know to succeed in a workplace, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make a difference with specific, concrete actions that will inspire your first year workers.

1. Give them all the tools they need to succeed

Make sure your first year worker is completely trained and supported for their position.

Whether it’s the right office set up, the right office supplies, or a detailed breakdown of their duties, it’s your responsibility to give them the tools they need. They may not know enough to call attention to tools they are missing, so make sure you’re monitoring their workflow to catch gaps.

2. Give them a wider view

Start with introducing a new employee to the departments and teams they’ll come into contact with, making sure other employees know their name. Explain different career paths and introduce them to people who used to do what they do.

It’s such a simple step, but placing their department and duties into a company-wide context helps first year workers understand how they contribute and where they could go.

3. Demonstrate why adding value is awesome

Your first year worker may need you to describe what “adding value” means. After that, show them how their contributions can add value to your organization.

Explain that adding value isn’t just about ticking off their to-do list, it’s finding ways to make a difference. Challenge them to find new ways to add value.

4. Share how figuring out hard stuff is what makes work worthwhile

A new worker might be intimidated by all that they do not know and become overwhelmed with the level of difficulty their job may present.

It’s your job to share how figuring out the hard, difficult stuff is what will bring them a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Celebrate when they successfully tackle tasks.

5. Show how collaboration and cooperation yield incredible benefits

After years spent as a student, measured and graded on their own merits, a first year worker may have to collaborate and cooperate on a daily basis for the first time.

Include your first year in collaborative efforts, encourage them to cooperate with other team members to reach their goals. Understanding that they’ll do better work when they learn as part of a team will help your employee grow.

6. Give them a reason to love their work

You can inspire a first year worker to do their best by underlining how critical their piece of the company is to the success of the enterprise.

They want purpose, to know that they’re working for something bigger than themselves, so give it to them. A first year worker who knows how the work they do every day builds the company is a happier employee.

7. Take time to give constructive feedback and genuine appreciation

Your first year worker may feel overwhelmed or lost at the enormity of their workload. Your positive, gentle, constructive feedback can help your employee focus back on the work at hand.

It doesn’t take a lot to note their accomplishments and contributions, so make it a point to publicly pass along your appreciation of a job well done. When your first year worker is supported, appreciated, and coached, they turn into second, third, fourth and beyond year workers.

What are the actions you’ve taken in your organization to inspire first year workers?

This was originally published on the OC Tanner blog.

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