I remember starting a new job at a law firm and on my first day I was handed a 3-inch white binder and told to read it. The Human Resources Director pointed me to a small office and I was left alone to read what must have been 200 pages.
As I was going through the manual, I saw chapters on office procedures, confidentiality, health and safety, security and more. All important information, but I knew I couldn't possibly retain much of what I was looking at in one sitting so I started to cheat and flip through a few tabs because I had to sign a form that I read the manual.
I remember throughout the first week that I was there, when I asked a question on how to do something, someone would say, "it's in the manual, did you not read it?"
I think people forget how overwhelming everything can be when you start a new job. Your co-workers are probably all new to you, you don't know how to use the photocopier or fax machine and more importantly "where is the bathroom?"
This particular law firm had approximately 150 people in the office. I was taken on a tour of the premises and they pointed out the office equipment I would need to use and introduced me to everyone we met. How was I going to remember everyone's name, let alone find everything again? I was still holding the binder they had given me, while trying to look intelligent and smiling as we moved along to the next person.
The first week on the job can be very overwhelming. Be kind to your new hires and available to answer their questions and help them learn the ropes. The sooner they are up to speed, the sooner they will be able to contribute to the team and that helps everyone.