Welcoming newbies

Several times in the past year, we’ve been at a place or in a group where we’re new. We walk in, looking kind of lost.

While someone usually will help us to get to where we need to be to get started, it seems that that’s the end of it.

As I’ve talked to other people about this, I’ve heard, “Oh, club soccer was like that.” “That’s what happened to us at dance.” “We were lost the first year we did track.”

OK, that last one was us.

The point is: why wouldn’t organizations that regularly bring in new people have a procedure for bringing in new people?

There are things that you know that you’ve known for so long that maybe you don’t even remember that other people don’t know them. (Much like I talked about in teaching beginners.)

Surely, new people have asked the same questions enough times that you could compile them, even if you’re not aware enough to create a list on your own? Yes, working out of your head, you’re going to miss some things, but at least get a list started? Show it to other people and see what they can add. Check in with people who are almost new—they’ve been around long enough to know the basic things but not so long that they forget what being new is like.

Then make a checklist for people who are giving tours or checking in newbies. Or draft a document to give people. Or both.

This is how our organization works. This is what you can expect. This is how you do these basic things that are necessary. This is what we do here. This is what we don’t do here.

Outline the culture.

Homes, neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, organizations all have their own culture. Within that are things that you pick up on as you go along but they’re not typically talked about.

Talk about them. With the new people. Let them know what to expect so they will be more comfortable. Because you want new people to stick, right? Help them stick.

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