The first day of a new job is always filled with excitement and a little fear. If an employer finds themselves unprepared to onboard their new hire properly from day one, that person will enter your company with a poor first impression which could affect their attitude going forward. In fact a study completed last year by Office Team found more than half (54 percent) of workers interviewed said they’ve experienced at least one mishap when starting a new job.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With a plan in place and some ground rules established, any company can ensure a great first day of work for everyone they hire. This experience will help build your company culture and contribute to your new employee’s first impression of his/her new work environment.
Upon arrival, Office Team suggests starting the first day with a welcome by alerting the receptionist that the new employee will be arriving. Then, personally escort the new hire to his or her workstation and provide introductions to other members of the team.
Here’s what else you need to consider for that first day.
In many cases you can have your new employee fill out their paperwork ahead of time and bring it with them on their first day. This was standard practice in my first recruiting job. The day we made the offer to a candidate we sent them home with the requisite forms to fill out so that we didn’t have to deal with it upon arrival. This allowed us to focus their first day on the job itself and less on the boring formalities of joining the company.
Also consider bringing in a paperless solution to speed up the process. New hires can enter their information online and even sign documents so going paperless can add a great selling point to your onboarding process.
Seems like a no brainer but nothing says ‘unprepared’ like saying “here’s your desk but your computer isn’t set up yet.”. That’s happened to me several times in my career. A new hire’s workstation should be ready to go from day one. Have IT set it up, and be sure to include all their new passwords. A small sheet with that information would be useful to print for them. A quick tour of the phone system is always appreciated. Another tip: create a small picture collage with headshots for all their important team members. This “visual org chart” will help them identify people more easily in the first few days and help to humanize the experience.
I’ve seen a lot variations on this by companies putting a new employee’s name on a welcome sign and sticking it on the front door along with some balloons or or decorations. At a previous job I would create a welcome sign with their name, our company logo and inspirational phrase and tape it above each new hire’s cube. It’s a small gesture but goes a long way towards making them feel welcome.
TIP: Welcoming your new employee on social media is also a great idea. Search twitter for “welcome new employee” and you’ll see great tweets like this:
Once they are settled in, take them around to meet the team and tour the facility. Help them get comfortable with their surroundings (especially in larger offices and buildings).
It’s a great idea to assign an existing employee to be your new hire’s mentor/buddy. This is especially useful in larger companies where a person might feel overwhelmed at first.
According to this SHRM article, “A successful buddy candidate should be a seasoned employee who has an understanding of organizational practices, culture, processes and systems. A buddy should be a friendly volunteer with high personal performance standards, have a positive attitude and communicate well.”
A team lunch or lunch with their manager is an excellent way of welcoming your new hire. It’s a chance to talk openly, ask questions, and get to know each other. Take them out and get to know them on a more personal level.
As the day ends,ask your new hire for feedback on how their day went. That will give you a chance to allay any fears or concerns they might have. Find out if they need anything else for their job. These feedback sessions will also help you refine your onboarding process for future hires. Eric Branter, founder of Scribblrs.com also suggests “not to throw everything at a new team member all at once. Begin with a small, easy to manage task list and expand from there”, he says.
I hope you found these tips useful. Crafting a great experience for your new hire is an important step often overlooked. But it can make them feel comfortable in their new surroundings and more importantly, set them up for success in your organization.
Considered the 'mad scientist of online recruiting' by his peers, Chris is an entrepreneur and former corporate recruiter based in Connecticut. When not writing you might find him bass fishing from his kayak on the lakes & rivers of New England.