LIFESTYLE

Here's How Bosses Can Ease The Pain Of A First Day At Work

New employees can seem over-eager or shy, but just be patient with them.

02/05/2017 17:54 SAST | Updated 05/05/2017 08:45 SAST
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Shot of an exhausted young businesswoman sleeping at her desk during a late night at work

Most of us remember our first day in a new job. The range of emotions we experienced, that spanned from being excited to nervous or possibly both. The burning desire, perhaps, to impress our new bosses and colleagues.

Here's what managers need to know about their new employees' first day at work.

"New employees often want to leave a very good first impression on their first day," says Johannesburg-based industrial psychologist, Refiloe Ramodibe. That's why they put themselves under so much pressure, which can be very stressful, she says.

This is especially true in a country with a high unemployment rate and where graduates often face long spells of no work. The OECD employment outlook for 2016 shows that as of June 2015, more than half of the unemployed in South Africa had been out of a job for a year or more.

And although there was a slight decline in unemployment in the last quarter of 2016 (0.6 percent, quarter-to-quarter, to 26.5 percent), many agree that South Africa is a long way from winning the unemployment battle.

Ramodibe says employees getting into the workspace from these circumstances may appear overly-eager, especially on the first day, week or month. However, managers need to understand that this may come from a place of sheer excitement at being employed.

On the other hand, an employee on the first day may seem quiet or withdrawn. Ramodibe says this is also common as some people take longer than others in acclimatizing to new spaces. She says as long as this does not hamper output, over time these workers should feel more comfortable and able to be themselves.

Lastly, Ramodibe says some employees come into the workplace just full of fear. They fear that they may not be good enough or may fail, even though they are capable. This may manifest itself in them becoming withdrawn or a seeming lack of confidence on the first day, week or even first month. Ramodibe suggests giving the employees some time to ease into things or workplace assistance, where applicable.