Saturday, October 3, 2009

First day of a new job - name overload!

A challenging time for remembering names is when a new employee, contractor or consultant joins an organisation. In my company I meet new employees being given a tour of the floor and being introduced to many people in a short space of time.

How can this process be improved for the new starter? In this article I write about some resources can you use when settling in to a new environment?

The new person may be overloaded with an abundance of new names, but often the reverse situation can occur. Managers can help pave the way for new staff introductions by sending an introductory email BEFORE the start date. Information to include should include the name, role and some useful background information.

Name plates. Usually you can find name plates on partitions next to the desks. These are particularly useful to reinforce the name when you meet people.

Office Floor Plans. This is useful for finding people as well as building up a mental picture of where people work. You can also use it a checklist to tick off the names once you have been introduced.

Phone List. The office phone list is another useful checklist of names and spellings. Challenge yourself to meet everyone on the list, or at least to associate the face with the name.

Organization Chart. This document shows reporting structures and team members. Usually known as "org-charts" they are usually out of date when published but still a useful resource. Ideally these charts should be annotated with photos of the people as this would be a great way to memorise names and faces.

Newsletters and Annual Reports. Look for publications that include labelled photos of staff. Annual Reports are particularly useful to help you identify members of the management team and board of directors. Imagine what an impression you can make when you greet a director by name and you have yet to be introduced!

Intranet. Does your company have an intranet or online directory? Some organisations have an online directory with a photo. The intranet is often a source of new staff announcements and you should read these carefully. In my company, these announcements are often published a week after the person has started. This is a pity as the power of the introductory article has been lost.

Use all these resources and you will become a corporate name guru. This skill will help you in the work place and your career.

Good luck! Do you have some stories to share? Please add these to the comments.

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