A Simple Way To Engage New Employees

Congratulations!  It’s the first day of your new job.  You’re given an employee handbook from Human Resources with information about policies, benefits, injuries on the job, sexual harassment, and other legal information.  Then you begin to wonder…Did I park in the right place?  Are there special events during the year I need to be aware of?  What is the history of the department? Who are all these people and what exactly do they do?

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The first day can be overwhelming.  The faster an employee feels like part of the team the better.  They will be filled with a sense of purpose and ready to engage with their new organization.

An easy way to create employee engagement on the very first day is to welcome them with a packet of information not covered in the handbook.

Helpful information for a new hire could include… 

Brief overview of the organization.

Mission and vision
Brief history
Plans for the future
Organizational chart (also a sentence or two describing each department)
Annual events
Map of office building

Tips For Making Your First Day Successful

Where to park
Frequently called numbers
Where to find coffee! (Do you bring your own or is there a coffee fund?)
Dress code expectations

Other Important Information

Employee programs specific to the department
Lunch times, arrangements, and other expectations

Does it take time and resources to create this type of information packet?  Yes.  Will it help build a symbiotic relationship with the employee from the very beginning ?  YES!  The packet does not need to be a novel of never ending information.  A few pages in a thin folder works great.

Employee engagement is crucial to the culture of a workplace.  Employees can be your greatest recruiter or your worst critic.  The best way to create an engaged employee is to make them feel like family the very first day.
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What other information would be beneficial on the first day of the job?  Let me know in the comments!

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Creating A Fantastic Email Signature

I love to show my personal style in every aspect of my life.  Personal branding has become a goal of mine the past few years in an effort to learn more about myself.  Work has a big impact on how I style myself.  I’m getting further in my career and want to stand out as a professional in my field.

There are many ways to brand yourself but I want to share one simple thing that will make you stand out at work…a stylish, professional email signature.  Here is the one I use…

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I added my work information underneath this image in the fun, yet professional, font Glacial Indifference (free download here) in black.

I have received so many compliments about the signature on my email and questions about how to create their own.  I’m always thrilled to tell them creating the image is free and easy!

Watch the video to see how you can create your very own unique email signature.

 

 

Looking Forward to Lunch

I have a love/hate relationship with my lunch breaks during the week.  I love it because I get the time to get away from my desk and be free to do what I want for an hour.  I hate it because I don’t have the luxury of having many people to eat lunch with very often.

I’m fortunate to live close to my workplace so I have the option of going home during my break.  This past year I took advantage of going home during my hour of solitude and getting a few things done while grabbing something out of my refrigerator.  

The past few months, however, I’ve grown tired of it.  I enjoy the opportunity to go home but I found that I would sit at my dining room table, eat the same thing every day, and have my head bent over my phone until it was time to go back to work.

This year I’ve made a commitment to myself to look at my lunch break in a new way.  I want that hour to be a time of taking care of myself mentally.

Visit A New Restaurant

I hate eating by myself.  I don’t judge others who do it but I always feel judged in my head if I go into a restaurant and sit at a table by myself.  During my year of being fearless I decided that I would tackle this self-initiated fear.  A new coffee bar opened up last year right in historic downtown Perry called Bodega Brew.  It’s a small bistro that offer small plates for lunch and a variety of coffee and pastries.  It looked cozy so I went one day for lunch all by myself.

It was fantastic.  I sat at a high top table near the front window and ordered the most delicious ham and swiss sandwich.  Even though I did spend a few minutes scrolling on my phone I made myself look around at the decor and people watch through the window.  I didn’t experienced the fear of being judged for being alone. In fact, there were two other women there by themselves working on their laptops.  I felt right at home. I bought a chocolate latte (so yummy!) after I finished my lunch and walked back to my car.  I realized how relaxed I felt. It was a great feeling just taking the time to be by myself and try something new.  And now I found a favorite new spot to grab lunch or a coffee!

Learn a New Skill

Learning a new skill during your lunch break is easy.  I found a new app a few years ago called Skillshareh. It has online classes for anything you can imagine.  You can watch demonstrations on anything from leadership to flower arranging. They even have classes that are specifically designed to last a “lunch hour.”  You can view many classes for free or pay a small monthly fee to view some of the more intense classes. I’ve watched classes on photography, graphic design, and personal branding.  Learning a new skill with these creative workshops is definitely more fun than scrolling through Facebook for an hour.

YouTube is also a great source to learn something new!  Everything I know how to do in Photoshop, Illustrator, and video editing I learned through YouTube tutorials!  Best of all…they’re free 🙂


Go Outside – Like For Real

I often see the articles that say you should step outside at least once during your workday to get fresh air and clear your mind.  Yeah, I don’t do that. I either feel guilty about leaving my desk or get caught up in a project where I don’t want to leave my workspace until I get to a stopping point.  Your lunch break is a perfect time to do this. I have a colleague that has her own personal table and chair and eats outside when the weather is nice. We have picnic tables outside at work but her setup is the cutest and definitely inviting.  If I do go home for lunch I try to take it outside on my back porch when the weather permits. Fresh air is a great stress reliever and the sounds of chirping birds can be a mood booster.

Brainstorm and Write it Down

This is one of my favorite things to do.  I bought a unicorn notebook that I carry around in my purse for the random thoughts that come into my head during the day.  If you’re like me you have a ton going on in your mind at once. It helps me to write my ideas in my special notebook to clear them out of my head.  I jot down anything that inspires me. Blog post ideas, quotes that have meaning to me, gratitude lists, and anything else that I feel is important. It’s not a calendar.  I have a separate planner for things I have to get done. This notebook is specifically for my creative ideas and things I want to do someday. It’s nice to have this space to empty my mind out so I can make room for the things I need to be focused on during the day.  

Explore Your City

I did this during a recent outing in historic downtown Perry which is only a few streets over from my workplace.  I love it there. I was feeling especially down one day and a slow stroll through Carroll Street was a great way to refocus my mind and enjoy my surroundings.  Is there a specific place you’ve always heard about nearby your work? Maybe it’s a park or a visitor center that you’ve always drove past and never stopped at.  Experiencing the town your work or live in as a tourist can give you a new perspective and appreciation for a place you grind day after day.

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Making My Office A Happy Place

We spend a lot of time at work.  Some would argue we spend more time at work than we do at home.  This time of the year my work gears up for a busy few months as the end of the school year approaches.

I’ve been lucky enough to have an office space in both my “big girl” jobs.  I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have a space of my own until I really sat down to think about how many of my peers either had small cubicles or an open office environment.  Up until recently I did not decorate my offices.  I’m not sure why I didn’t.  When I look back I can recall that I felt trapped in them.  Nothing was inviting.  I often joked that one of my office spaces felt like a prison cell.  No windows and blank walls.  Whose fault was that?  Completely mine!

I was grateful when my boss allowed me to move into an office space with a window a few months ago.  It originally belonged to a beloved coworker who moved on for a fantastic new job.  I was so sad to see her leave. I did, however, look at it as a new opportunity to re-energize myself and create the perfect workspace for me.

Aromatherapy
I recently became interested in essential oils for aromatherapy.  I’m still not convinced they have healing powers but a lot can be said about how certain smells can sustain a positive mood.

I purchased a small essential oil diffusers from a local bohemian bath and body gift shop in the small town where I work.  It is small enough to cover my office but not be overwhelming for my coworkers and their space.  It is battery operated and can also be plugged into the wall (this is the option I choose).  The other great thing about this diffuser is that it doesn’t require water to work.

I also bought a simple essential oil set from Amazon.  This $15 kit has lasted me several months and has a good assortment of scents to choose form.  Right now I’m using “Lemon Grass.”  I put a few drops into the diffuser and it’s good for the day.  The scent is inviting and seems to help my mood during the work day.  I also use “Sweet Orange” in my office when I want to change it up.

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Wall Art
Wall art can be expensive!  I knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I went on a search expedition through the Amazon wormhole.

Purple is my favorite color.  It reminds me of my mom since it was her favorite color as well.  I found a beautiful three panel purple tulip item on Amazon for $15!  I was so pleased with the quality of the item and it fit perfectly above the two off-white colored chairs in front of my desk.

Need something that fills up a space that doesn’t cost a fortune?  The secret?  Vinyl wall decals!  They fill up a wall and can easily be removed.  It does not create holes in the wall and is easy to change out if you get bored with the look later on down the road.  Through a “purple flower wall vinyl” search I found the perfect set that complimented my purple tulip wall art.  The kicker – only $14!  I bought two sets and placed them around my office.  I receive SO many compliments.  Everyone thinks they are painted on but I proudly tell them they are vinyl decals.  They are the best addition to my office!

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Inspirational Quotes
The older I get the more I love short, inspirational quotes all around.  I also like them to be displayed in a creative way.  When I come across a meaningful quote I print it out and place it where I can see it everyday.  I have them taped at the bottom of my computer screen and on an inexpensive bulletin board on my office wall. I found the “Good and Great” pictures at Target for $5.  I was so happy!

I look at the quotes when I’m feeling stressed.  It doesn’t make the stress go away completely but it’s a nice kick in the butt when I need to focus my mind on the positive things in my life.

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Novelties
The small novelties that really show my personality is the most fun!  I bought myself an unicorn coffee cup for Christmas last year.  I absolutely love unicorns and flamingos.  They are quirky and I like to think of myself as a little quirky too 🙂 It really throws people off when they find out about it and I love it!  It’s aways nice to surprise people and let them there is more to me than what meets the eye.

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Overall, I have noticed a big change in my work ethic since putting in the effort of creating a workspace that fits my personality and is inviting to others.  It did not take a lot of money and makes all the difference in creating my happy place at work.

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