Onboarding is a process, not an event, and in my last article I looked at how you can begin the process even before your new employee’s first day of work. That first day is crucial, even if you have created a sterling initial impression during the recruitment and hiring phase. Here’s how to use their first day to best position them for success.
Before they arrive for their first day make sure they know:
- What time work begins
- What to bring with them (e.g. two copies of their ID)
- Where to park
- Who to ask for at reception
New employees are typically extremely nervous on their first day, eager to impress and easily overwhelmed. The best thing to do for them is to give them a sense of familiarity with their brand new surroundings in an easy-to-digest fashion. Perhaps assign a staff member to give them an office tour and let them know where things are (kitchens, bathrooms, cafeteria, photocopiers etc.). Find ways to make them feel welcome, e.g. send an email out to everyone in their department so they are prepared to welcome them.
Balance their day’s schedule between orientation, meetings, and less formal gatherings. Keep it relatively light, as many people will not get a good night’s sleep before their first day at a new job, and they have a lot to absorb; so give them some breathing room. If possible, arrange for the new employee to be treated to lunch by a group of staff members. Find impactful ways to impart your company culture, values, mission and vision.
Make sure you have the following ready for them:
- A welcome note is always a good idea, perhaps even a welcome kit filled with goodies.
- A security badge or access disc if they need one.
- Their computer with a configured e-mail account and any other software programmes they may need.
- Their business cards.
Show them how to use the intranet, the phone system (setting up their voicemail beforehand is a good idea) or any other system they will need, this way they don’t waste time figuring these things out for themselves.
Remember that new employees are asked to absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time, so encourage them to take notes and expect that they will have questions about these things later on. Let them know who they should talk to if they have questions. It’s a good idea to assign a co-worker or a hiring manager as a mentor to check-in with the new employee.
Schedule a meeting with the employee’s manager for the first afternoon. During this meeting, the manager should review their goals, the responsibilities of the position and give an overview of what the first 30-90 days in the position will look like. To get them excited about being part of the team, discuss current projects and goals the company is working on. This way they have an idea of how to contribute as well as how they will fit into the master plan. Have projects for them to begin work on immediately: people prefer to feel useful and valuable.
Everything you do should be aimed less at the logistics and more at making your new employee feel really excited to be there, so that they reaffirm their decision to work for you.
If we can assist in any way, please get in touch.