When a new person enters your workplace, it can change the social dynamic and put you on edge. But it can also be an amazing opportunity for new ideas, new energy, and even a new friend. Though your natural response to a new coworker might be defensiveness and competitiveness, welcoming your coworker will make you not only feel better but also work better and appear like more of a team player. And resolving to be a kind and welcoming coworker just might be the choice that gets you noticed and gets you one step closer to your own goals. So here are 10 easy things you can do to make a new colleague feel welcome.
1. Ask questions
Whenever I enter a new workplace, I find that some of the most awkward situations actually come up months into the job—when my coworkers realize that they never asked any questions about me, so they don’t know key aspects of my life. Asking simple questions like “Where did you work before you came here?” and “Where did you grow up?” can go a long way towards building relationships and making everyone comfortable.
2. Introduce yourself
If you’re not formally introduced but happen to spot a new colleague at their desk or in the hallway, be sure to go up to them, shake their hand, and welcome them to the team. Then you won’t be stuck in haven’t-quite-met-yet awkward social purgatory.
3. Leave a note
If you won’t be in the office on your colleague’s first day, leave a short note/card on their desk. It can say something as simple as “Welcome! So glad you’re here!” to let them know that her colleagues are excited to meet her.
4. Give your new coworker a tour
If a workplace tour isn’t written into her first week schedule, your colleague might be a little lost. Take ten minutes to walk her around the building. Show her where the best bathrooms are. Teach her how to use the copier. She’ll thank you.
5. Loop your new coworker in
Are you sending a silly email to your work friends, sending out an invite for happy hour, or reminding people about the free cookies in the break room? CC the new person. This is incredibly easy and will make her feel like a part of the team.
6. Say “Thank you”
It feels good to be appreciated. If you want to set the standard for a warm, welcoming, appreciative office culture, you can start by treating new colleagues exactly the way you would want to be treated. Friendly emails, smiles, thank yous, and pleases are simple gesture that go a long way towards a culture of kindness and mutual support.
7. Ask about something in your new coworker's office or cube
If your new colleague brought photographs, plants, a calendar, or other mementos to decorate her new work space, be sure to ask her about them. You’ll learn new things about her and show her that you’re interested in her life.
8. Compliment your new coworker on something (other than their appearance)
It can feel like an easy and friendly gesture to tell your new coworker that her dress is super cute or her haircut is great. But it will make her feel even more seen, known, and appreciated if you can find something unique to notice about her. Does she always have energy in the morning? Is she awesome at motivating others, organizing calendars, or writing? If you can focus your compliments on her personhood, rather than her physical appearance, you can help build up her real confidence, rather than making her even more aware of how she looks.
9. Invite your new worker to eat lunch with you
If you and your work friends have a consistent time and place that you eat lunch, let your colleague know. That way, they won’t be shyly having Sad Desk Lunch on her first day.
10. Take you new coworker out for coffee
This is not only a great opportunity to show your new colleague where to get the best coffee near the office but will also give you a chance to ask questions, learn about your new colleague, and get them out of that brand-new work environment, which can be a little stressful at first. Put yourself in your new coworker's shoes and ask, "How would I want my new colleagues to treat me?"
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, which helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
Want to be found by top employers? Upload Your Resume
Join Gold to Unlock Company Reviews