by Linda Spelling | May 01, 2017
New hires have a lot to learn and remember when joining a new organization. For this reason - or despite it! - many organizations make hiring decisions just before their big annual meeting, and use the gathering as an opportunity to onboard the newbies and introduce them to their new colleagues.

This scenario can be overwhelming, as the new hires attempt to hit the ground running and make a good first impression. Following are several tips for making them feel comfortable at the meeting, and also confident that they made the right decision in joining the organization.


"BUDDY" THEM UP
One of the best ways to help new employees navigate a big company meeting is via the "buddy system," where the novices are paired with seasoned attendees. Such pairings also work well for association annual meetings, where new members can be matched with mentors.

Work with human resources or department heads to connect the recent hires with "buddies" or mentors who can help shepherd them through their first annual meeting. The buddy, who might be from the same department or from a similar role in a different office or company locale, can answer questions, act as a sounding board and introduce the new colleague to other employees.

Alternatively, assigning the new employee to a buddy from a different department affords the newbie the opportunity to see how various departments interact with each other to reach common goals.


MEET THE C-SUITE

Meeting and speaking with top managers can be an intimidating scenario for anyone, but it can be especially trying for new employees or first-time attendees at a corporate meeting. A good way to ease the tension is to incorporate a special reception into the agenda for newcomers and key executives. This provides new participants access to executives and gives them the opportunity to learn more about the company and industry, and fosters relationship- building on a personal level. If the schedule won't permit a separate reception, consider making the first half-hour of the general opening reception a special VIP gathering for newcomers and leadership.

For the remainder of the meeting, newcomers should be immersed in the general agenda so they can maximize face time with colleagues and managers, and become part of the team. Rather than using the big event to schedule human resources sessions or new employee training, consider organizing post-conference calls and/or webcasts to impart this information. In all likelihood, the new staff members will be able to deal with those logistics once they are settled into their workplaces.

Companywide meetings have many objectives; effectively welcoming new employees should be near the top of the list.



Linda Spelling
 is president/owner of Buzz Inc., a full-service corporate meeting planning company based in Northern New Jersey.