Nervous. Excited. Trying not to say or do anything wrong. Sound familiar? These are classic experiences of an employee's first-day jitters. You may have had these same feelings when you started a new job.

Ultimately, it's your responsibility as a manager or owner to help new employees start off right. But, there are some things that the employee and co-workers can do to help the transition process.

Let's take a look at some ideas that you can apply in dealing with new employees. Don Tyler, management consultant, Profitable Solutions, Clarks Hill, Ind., breaks them down into two categories: 1) Specific things for new employees. 2) Ideas for their co-workers, including their immediate team members.

Tips for new employees:- Be early (about 15 minutes, at least, on your first day), and come prepared to put in a full day's work.

  • Arrive with a good attitude and be optimistic about the job.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Take the initiative to get to know co-workers and their roles within the operation.
  • Understand your job completely before suggesting how to do it differently.
  • Become proficient at your basic duties as quickly as you can.
  • When asked, take every opportunity to help other employees.
  • Know that doing your job proficiently can lead to greater responsibilities down the road. Know that during your training, you may be assigned some less desirable jobs, but understand that it's important for every member of the team to be able to cover a task for another employee.
  • Go the extra mile, even if no one notices.
  • Don't try to learn someone else's job until you have fully mastered your own.
  • Don't associate with employees that have a negative attitude or are chronic complainers any more than you have to. They will only frustrate you and damage your attitude.
  • Don't watch the clock.

Tips for co-workers and managers:

  • Always greet new employees enthusiastically and be sure to welcome them to the operation. You only have one chance to make a first impression – take advantage of the opportunity.
  • Remember, it's not just the boss' job to encourage and praise others. Give your co-workers positive feedback.
  • Don't be afraid to offer positive guidance to new employees if you see them struggling or doing something wrong. The faster a new employee gets up to speed with his or her duties, the faster your workload will get back to normal.
  • Help new employees get acquainted with the day-to-day, informal duties and schedules as needed. This might include things like: What do people usually do at break time? Where do the workers put their lunch? When is laundry done and who is responsible – is there a rotation?- Find your own ways to motivate each other. Sometimes even simple contests can go a long way to break the monotony.
  • Watch out for each other. If someone isn't holding up his/her end of shared responsibilities, try to find out why and look for a solution. Don't always run to the boss to solve simple problems.
  • If your attempt to solve minor conflicts with co-workers fails, get your manager involved. Many times if employees would take a few minutes to discuss problems they have with each other, the problem would be solved before it becomes a crisis.
  • Respect is earned, but always work to show respect for your fellow employees, supervisor and employer. Remember that you also have to earn others' respect.
  • Include new employees in brainstorming sessions. Listen and solicit new ideas from all employees. Sometimes new employees tend to be quiet, so you may have to work to draw them out, or ask for their input directly.
  • Avoid the temptation to tell new employees about all the " bad" things that have happened at the farm in the past. Keep your comments positive. The more negatives you give new employees, the less they will like you and their new job. If you can't say something positive about your co-workers, don't say anything at all.
  • Know the company's goals and work to achieve them. Look for ways to reduce costs, save money, become more efficient and increase productivity.

Remember, each day gets easier for new employees, their co-workers and managers. Don't expect miracles on the first day, week or even month. Give new employees time to fit in with others and develop a routine. Doing so will help groom a valuable team member.