When a new employee joins your company, there’s a lot of ground to cover: paperwork, safety training, and a myriad of passwords and keys. And that’s just orientation. Onboarding, on the other hand, fully integrates an employee into the company, setting them up for long-term motivation and success. According to Seth Richtsmeier at TINYpulse, “Staff onboarding is by no means a one-time affair. Successful onboarding can take up to 12 months, sometimes longer, and demands the concerted efforts of everyone within the organization.”
But even onboarding has to start somewhere. And that’s your new employee’s first day.
Setting the right tone on the first day will give your employee the kickstart they need to approach their new job with trust, confidence, and relational investment, increasing their satisfaction and retention.
As for those papers and passwords? Whenever possible, have those details ironed out before your new employee starts. Get their paperwork in, set up their computer or workstation, and program any security codes they might need. For your new employee, the first day should be all about relationships, not standing around awkwardly waiting to get things figured out while everyone wonders what role, exactly, they will play in the company.
Prepare your new employee’s work area with company-branded products (like hats, shirts, etc.), snacks, a balloon or two, or just a simple note. Their first day should be a well-anticipated celebration that makes them feel welcome and excited to join the team. Make it obvious that you are happy they've chosen to work for your company.
Introductions are often shortchanged, reduced to nothing more than swapping (all-too-soon forgotten) names. On your employee’s first day, promote conversation and budding friendships by arranging informal meetings or team lunches. These activities will not only set a friendly and caring tone for the onboarding experience, but strengthen existing bonds within the workspace.
Of course you want your new employee to also work on their first day. You don’t want to overwhelm them with a complicated project right away, but on the other hand, you don’t want them to feel like you’re humoring them with a throwaway task, either. Get them started with work that underscores their value to the company while creating opportunities to build their confidence and collaborate with a team.
Set aside a 30-60 minute meeting at the end of your employee’s first day to review any questions or concerns they might have. By initiating this opportunity, you will remove any lingering doubts or worries that may have arisen during the first day’s whirlwind. They can go home feeling reassured that they are heard, cared about, and prepared for the next day’s adventure.
Your employee had a great first day. Now what? Request the 7 Key Points to Retention to find out how to keep happy and productive employees.
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