May 01, 2019
On-boarding; Make It the Best First Day of Their Lives
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An employee’s first day is one of the most important days of their tenure at your company. Better yet, the first two hours are. Those two hours are highly critical for their decision-making process. The decision on whether or not they are going to stay with your organization.
We could back up a bit to the recruiting process and the interactions and interviews you had with them because we know that these events are also ones that shape their decisions too. We must always be on our best behavior. Let’s just assume for the sake of this article that we already are doing this.
My philosophy is to start the new employee later than their normal schedule will be and let them go home early the first day with a full days’ pay. You have already emailed the pertinent on-boarding paperwork to them so when they show up at 9:00 am on their first day they have all that paperwork with them filled out for you to simply double check. They should have their proper identification out and ready to present to you. Why do they have it ready? Because you emailed them a list of everything they need to bring with them on that first day. Is that snickering I hear from you? All of this preparation does come with the knowledge that sometime the new hire will not have read the email and come empty-handed. Remind them that they must bring in the proper identification to you within the three days or we are not in compliance. Don’t let this ruin the employees first-day experience. We all know that we are responsible for getting that information.
If you can have a card signed by the team and some executives ready for them that be a great welcome for them. Have their desk set up with all the basic supplies they need for their jobs and the card presented on the desk. If the position does not have a desk set up, then presenting it at the end of the HR portion of their first day is fine.
The next step should be with a team leader or supervisor to give the new hire a tour of your facility. Take the time to show them the restrooms, lunch area, lockers if applicable, etc. After the tour, have a special meeting to introduce them to the team with pastries and juice. A meet and greet if you will. Show the employee their desk and let them take a bio-break.
Lunch on the first day for the new hire should never be spent alone. We are not, or should not be too busy to schedule a special lunchtime meeting between the new employee and their manager. This is a nice way to answer get to know them personally, answer any questions they might have, and give them the rest of the days’ itinerary. A written agenda shows you took the time to prepare the days’ events and sets aside time for any other introductions with department heads this role with will be working with.
At the end of this first day, remember to give your new team member, if you can, a daily operation manual for them to go through or take home to read at their leisure. Right before they go home for the day the manager and the employee can work out the regular schedule for the rest of this first week and going forward depending on your needs at the organization. Having clear communication of expectations is the best way to start out this relationship.
This first day the new employee has met many people, learned many new things, and most likely is exhausted. Leaving early is a chance for them to regroup for the next day. (As well as knowing we have to get caught up on all the things we didn’t get to do today, it’s a never-ending cycle).
I hope this glimpse of a first day has helped you out. First impressions are lasting.
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