When we think back to memorable firsts, we tend to file them in one of two camps: memorable for good reasons, and memorable for reasons that are not so good. When it comes to a new employee’s first day, you definitely want them to file the day in the “good” category. After all, an employee’s first impression will extend into his or her tenure, for better or for worse. In many cases, a positive experience on the first day is one of the keys to retaining an employee—which may translate to savings on the cost associated with training replacements.
In our earlier onboarding article, we talked about how important the first day is—as well as the days that come before and after. We’d like to put the spotlight back on the first day, and look at a few ways to make Day 1 the good kind of memorable.
- Make it personal for you new employee at the start
There will be big and small essentials for sure—from helping them find their way around, to using the fob or badge system, to finishing paperwork and more. As you power along, just remember that the first day can set a lasting tone. So remember the personal touch:
- Meet them when they arrive, or assign others as their “welcoming committee.” They’ll appreciate the gesture.
- As you show them around, ask if there’s anything they want to see or do first. Perhaps they need to get clarity about something, or are excited to see their workspace. Maybe they want to meet the team. Conversely, they may want to enter quietly with as little hoopla as possible. Keep checking in, and let them have a voice in the process.
- Hit high marks on the details
Being buttoned up isn’t just about appearance. Leave a lasting impression that your company cares about the finer points, and make sure the details are dialed in:
- Have their workspace set up and ready to go—this includes desk, phone and technology.
- Continue to follow their lead as you show them around, and introduce them to co-workers. Be sure they’re not getting too much too soon.
- Make sure they finish up any essential paperwork. As we discussed in our onboarding article, it may be possible to complete some paperwork before the first day. If that’s not the case at your company, make sure they have time to read and complete new hire paperwork.
- Remember your first-day plan, but stay flexible
So much comes down to the personality and comfort of your new hire. Maybe you generally take new hires out for an offsite team lunch, but your most recent hire is more introverted, and would rather plan a team lunch for another time. Again, follow their lead. Whatever you do, don’t create the impression that you’re forcing them around.
Other ways to stay flexible include:
- Be conversational and intentional. Don’t just ask how it’s going—actually adjust per their feedback. If they want to slow things down—or speed things up—adapt as you can.
- Pass the baton and share the load. In some offices, it makes sense to assign a peer partner to lead your new employee on their first day. In others, it’s easier to have team members take on responsibilities during the day. Decide what’s best for your company, and shift gears if you have to.
- Encourage your new hire to jump in right away
Is there a better way to feel valuable than by rolling up your sleeves and contributing? Being part of the work at hand is perhaps one of the best ways to get someone excited.
- Depending on what type of business you are, invite your new hire into a group brainstorming session. Maybe you’re in the middle of reorganizing your retail space, are considering new front desk software, or are coming up with a campaign pitch. Include your newest hire to participate at the level that’s comfortable for them.
- Give them a task that’s in their wheelhouse. Maybe your new hire has a great eye for detail, amazing organizational skills, or is a sharp editor. Ask for their input on a project that’s midstream, or give them a chance to review and markup a document that’s ready to go out. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to sink their teeth into something real.
- Check in before your new employee heads home after their first day
Remember, even though the first day has its own tenor, it does not happen in a vacuum. With about an hour left in the work day, make sure you check in with them one last time.
- Ask for any last pieces of feedback they may have been waiting to share, or that has just occurred to them.
- See what their highlights were, and don’t be afraid to ask for critical feedback as well.
- Make sure they feel like they’re equipped with the tools and supplies they need, and find out if they have questions about processes around the office or work environment.
- See if there are any lingering issues, or things for which they need more clarity. If it’s too late to get these answers before EOD, set them as the top of the next day’s agenda.
In the end, you want the first day to go as seamlessly as possible. By giving your newest hire every opportunity to be seen, heard, and involved, the day will fly by, and will help to set a successful tone.
Make Onboarding Easy with myStaffingPro
Many companies are turning toward software solutions to assist them with the technicalities of the onboarding process. This allows your HR team to focus on the human part of onboarding a new employee, while paperwork is completed through an efficient, easy-to-use system that most employees can use with little to no assistance.
myStaffingPro is an enterprise-level applicant tracking system for HR professionals. Through our software solution, you can recruit candidates, and seamlessly flow them through interviews, offers, background checks, and onboarding.