The Importance of an Awesome First Day Experience

Welcome to my blog! I thought the topic of a first day experience at work would be a great way to start the conversation. 

Have you ever started a job and been totally confused as to what you do, where your desk is and who your co-workers are? I have and it felt isolating and not inclusive. I sat down with a Human Resources person who gave me 100+ page packet and read most of it to me. Truly, I needed a nap and was starting to regret my decision to join the company. It got worse as I didn’t have a desk or an office and my manager was remote and didn’t come into town that day. 

This was a great learning experience. I’ve always been passionate about the on-boarding experience and this experience solidified why it is so very important. The average millennial stays at a job less than 2 years, however, effective on-boarding can help. You could be the coolest new company, but without the initial connection, your employees will leave and move on to the next cool company.

A Few Best Practices for an Awesome On-boarding

1.       Your candidate chose you just as much as you chose them. They are nervous, yet most likely excited and want to do well. The first day should engage them from the time they walk in the door.

2.       Create a unique orientation program. Make sure the employees connect with other employees and meet some of their team members. Explore the values and engage them in helping define what those values mean to them as well as the company. 

3.       Involve senior leaders. Have them talk about their vision, how they support employees and encourage teamwork. 

4.       Have the technology up and running. Show them your intranet as well as any key websites they will need for their job. Make sure to have a tech expert in the room to assist anyone with difficulties navigating the system.

5.       Allow new employees to contribute from day one. You hired them for a reason so allow them the space to add value from their first day.

6.       Set them up with a buddy. The buddy should be someone that is not on their direct team and has clear guidelines on how to be an effective buddy. This is a person who can answer the culture questions that the new employee may be scared to ask their boss or direct team. Have them set up coffee dates and meet once a week or every other week for at least 3 months.

7.       Demonstrate diversity and inclusion. Invite guest speakers. Create a space where employees know their differences are welcome.

8.       Go over benefits, but don’t do death by powerpoint. Ideally, the new employees received information on their benefits prior to their first day. If that is the case. Go over key dates and  how to register. Leave time at the end for specific one-on-one questions.

9.       Tell them when and how they get paid. 

10.   Feed them lunch and make sure to ask about any dietary restrictions. Not everyone can eat pizza.

11.   Arrange for them to meet with their manager and team after their orientation day. 

12.   Give them company swag! 

13.   AND…don’t keep them in an orientation training for more than 7 hours. They will be exhausted and you want them energized and ready to come back the next day.

Developing an on-boarding program can be daunting. It is easier to check a box, however the time and effort put into a robust program is worth every minute. Keep in mind, it goes beyond day one. We will explore that topic in a future blog. 

Need help creating a program? Reach out! 

If you have awesome ideas for on-boarding, please share!