Learning & Development

3 Tips for Employers to Curb New Job Jitters

When onboarding new employees, employers know how important it is to provide support so that fresh team members succeed in their jobs. Yet it’s still natural for new staff members to have “new job jitters” — anxiety about their new roles and their own abilities to fulfill them. The faster supervisors can get their recent hires over these unpleasant emotions, the happier and more productive these workers are likely to be.

Employers can help new hires weather this difficult time best by following a few simple tips.

Tip 1: Give them instructions in advance.

New job jitters begin even before the scheduled start date, and when employees don’t know what to expect on their first day, they naturally develop feelings of uncertainty and nervousness. According to an article on Real Simple, 80 percent of respondents admitted to getting nervous about starting a new job, and 67 percent of that group reported suffering from them right before the new job starts.

That’s why it’s important to let new employees know beforehand how their first day will unfold in as much detail as possible. For instance, provide them with a schedule to follow, as well as a list of the people and divisions they will meet.

This is particularly important for remote employees. By definition, these folks can’t just walk into an office, wave hello, and know their presence has been noted. How should they signal their presence on the company’s various platforms? Are they expected to log on to certain software at a certain time? Who’s the right person to reach out to with technical difficulties? Who should they avoid addressing if anyone?

Giving answers to these questions in advance will help employees feel secure from day one. In general, I advise providing this information at least 24 hours before the employee is expected to start. Two days or more would be even better.

In addition, keep in mind that being expected to master a mountain of information can make new employees feel overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to ensure their schedule isn’t unduly onerous for the first week. If they need to do routine tasks, like acquiring an ID badge or creating accounts for various pieces of software, either build time into their first day for doing this, or else set a reasonable deadline.

Tip 2: Ensure understanding.

For many people who suffer from new job jitters, the top reasons have to do with establishing their competence. According to the aforementioned Real Simple article, “The most nerve-wracking concern, according to 55 percent of professionals, is that they won’t be good at their job quickly enough. Second is the more general worry that they won’t succeed (48 percent) — not just quickly, but ever.”

To enable new employees to shake off these concerns, managers should help them grow confident in their own abilities. Toward this end, onboarding processes should include educational modules that cover the knowledge, skills, and expectations of the new hires in their particular roles. These trainings should be interactive, enabling the worker to demonstrate their capacities to themselves as well as others.

It’s also important to conduct assessments after each topic in the training program. Employees who demonstrate their mastery and understanding should be allowed to advance to other modules, while those who don’t should be given the chance to redo them. Discussing the correct answers with them can also ensure the correctness of the new workers’ understanding.

Tip 3: Keep lines of communication open.

New job jitters can last well after the onboarding process finishes. Many recent hires continue to experience them weeks and even months after their first day. Ongoing support is necessary.

For this reason, don’t just pass new hires off to their direct supervisor and walk away. Instead, after giving their manager a warm endorsement, assure the new employee that they can talk to the leadership team directly. Give them your contact information, as well as other relevant executives.

This will serve to keep the door open in case the employee needs to escalate issues. Perhaps the situation is urgent, and their supervisor is temporarily unavailable. Perhaps they want to ask for advice about how to work best with their supervisor. Even if the employee never actually uses the contact information, just having it will make them feel more integrated into the team and valued as a member.

We Can All Relate

We’ve all started new jobs, and most of us have experienced new job jitters ourselves. These emotions are normal, and they may even be a good sign – employees who experience anxiety at the beginning of a new job are taking their responsibilities seriously and showing they care.

In turn, taking your responsibilities seriously as a supervisor and showing you care about new hires means relating to their concerns and providing the information they need before, during, and after the onboarding process. By following these three simple tips, you can ensure your new employees settle in smoothly and perform at their highest levels as quickly as possible.

Shiela Mie Legaspi is the President of Cyberbacker, the leading provider of world-class administrative support and virtual assistant services from anywhere in the world to anyone in the world. Legaspi is an expert on career coaching in the remote workplace, and she leads the company to organizational excellence through her work centered around workforce experience. She is an expert in people management and teaches others how to lead with integrity, purpose, and passion.

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