How to Help New-to-the-Area Employees Feel at Home in Chicago

The windy city is a mecca for opportunities in the workforce, and it's only getting windier. You'll find tons of locals with tattoos of the city flag, horse and buggy tours and people walking at all hours of the day and night.

It's a city unlike any other, but sometimes, it can be difficult to imagine a life outside of it. For those who aren't born and raised in the city, moving to Chicago is a big shift that can be pretty daunting, to say the least.

If you're welcoming new talent from another city or state to your Chicago-based company, helping your new employees feel at home can benefit your working relationship, as well as their overall performance.

Here are four ways to welcome your new hires to their new home.

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1. Get to Know Them

One way to get on your new employee's level is actually to get to know them. If you have a small team, take everyone out to lunch or after-work drinks. Ask your new hire where they're from, what school they attended, their favorite sports teams — anything to get a feel for what they're like.

The more you know about what they left, the more you might understand what they miss — then, maybe you could find a way to bring that to them.

If they're from the coast and miss the ocean, for example, tell them some of your favorite beach spots on the lake. If they're from the south and miss the food, give them some restaurant recommendations with Cajun cuisine. It may not be the same, but Chicago has a lot to offer as far as finding places that feel like a home away from home.

2. Help Them Get Settled

If they're still moving their things, ask if they want help. Bonus points if you bring some of your favorite local brews to share.

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Unless they're from another big city, they may be concerned about adjusting to the reduced amount of yard and/or apartment space. If they're worried about all of their belongings not fitting in the new tiny apartment, offer to help pay for a storage rental for a few months until they get settled.

Moving is hard on anyone, but moving in Chicago traffic is anxiety-inducing. Hopefully, they don't own a stick shift.

3. Give Them an Onboarding Gift

It doesn't have to be big, but getting your new hire a little souvenir for their desk from the city is a great way to help them feel welcome. Whether it's a small "bean" or even some popcorn from Garrett's, giving your employee something to enjoy or be excited about is a great way to ease them into life in a new city.

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4. Keep Calm and Keep Them Calm

Try to remember that Chicago is great, but it can be a lot to handle for people who aren't used to the fast-paced atmosphere. One of the best things you can do for your new employee is to be patient with them while they adjust and make yourself available for questions and support.

Your new hire probably gave up a lot to move to Chicago to work for you, and they likely took a few risks along the way, as well. Remember to let them know you appreciate them choosing your company and are excited to work with them for years to come.

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