Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Swati Srivastava – Content Manager Info Edge India. Her opinions are her own.
What has been your worst ‘first day’ ever?
Perhaps it was at school, college, or your first day at a new job? For me, it was definitely my first day working at a new company in 2008.
When I walked in, I obviously didn’t know anyone; I didn’t really know where to go or what I was expected to do; and the worst part was that nobody in the team even bothered to greet me. I felt completely invisible for about 15 minutes (and this is a generous statement!).
Eventually my boss walked out and said, “I’m really busy today. Why don’t you just familiarize yourself with all the people and the work as quickly as possible.”
All day I just kept waiting to leave the office. I literally checked my watch every 30-minutes.
Today I am in a managerial role and I am regularly hiring people into my team. I take pride in ensuring that I make any new employee’s first day experience memorable … for all the right reasons. I make them feel comfortable with their new work environment because I want them to go home at the end of their first day feeling excited about their future with the organisation and motivated to be a member of my team.
There are always certain formalities and protocol involved in a new employee’s first day. But here are a few ways to help you make their first day memorable for all the right reasons.
1. Greet them personally
The first day is not just your opportunity to hand over a list of mandatory training modules to your new hire and ask them to log in to the company’s CRM. It’s an important day for for any new employee so make a point of meeting with them personally. After all you are their boss.
Your new hire is ‘unconsciously incompetent’ – they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know any of the team or the many different personalities that make it up; They haven’t been exposed to any of the internal jargon or lingo; They have no idea how you do things around here. They are literally completely unaware.
No matter how many other things you have on your plate, it’s amazing what a simple friendly smile and personal greeting can do to improve the onboarding experience.
2. Send a welcome email
This is one of the best ways to welcome your new staff member. You might want to include their photograph but you should definitely include a short bio and career snapshot, what they will be doing and what department they’ll be in. To make the most of this opportunity, you could always ask the new employee to share some interesting facts about their life outside of work.
This shouldn’t just be an email summarising their background, but should be a chance for them to show some personality.
3. Take them around and introduce them
Introducing your new hire to everyone in the team around them is essential. Block time in your calendar to take them around and facilitate the introductions.
I remember what my introduction was like on that ‘memorable‘ first day. “Everyone, meet Swati. She’s joined the Finance Department.” Before I could even manage a few handshakes, most of the team had turned back to their monitors and got back on with what they were doing.
To be honest I expected something more along the lines of, “This is Swati. She has a great background in financial analysis, and will be a great asset to our financial strategy. She’ll be putting together all the financial reports for our ongoing projects, so feel free to reach out to Swati and let her know what assistance you need”.
4. Involve the team
It’s always a good idea to prepare your team for a new team member, since they all will be working together. You will obviously get plenty of time to coach the new hire. However, on the first day, involving your team in the new employee’s induction is really important.
If you can’t take them to lunch, ensure that someone in the team is free to have lunch with the new hire.
5. Create an orientation program
Arranging a formal new employee orientation program is an appropriate way to welcome the new team member and share your corporate culture with them. This way, they can learn more about the company’s traditions and the way things work in the business.
Carefully walk through the orientation plan with your new hire. Clarify the first week’s schedule, and confirm any required and recommended training. Review their job description, outline of duties, and go over expectations.
You may also want to reinforce certain key company policies and procedures e.g. annual leave, social media policy, code of conduct etc. Make sure they familiarize themselves with any “the way things around here” documentation.
6. Set some early goals
Often the first day is also a good time to set some short-term goals with your new employee. This immediately gets them connected with the company’s goals and might even make their role clearer in their mind.
7. Debrief before they go home
At the end of their first day, sit down with them to find out how Day 1 went. This will not only make your new team member realise that the company cares for its new employees, but it’s also a chance for your new team member to have some time with you personally to let you know how they’re feeling.
That way your new employee can hopefully go home with a smile on their face and have a good story to tell if they’re asked, “So how was your first day?”
A bad first experience can ruin a new job for any employee. As their manager, it is your role to ensure their first impression is a good one. This guide is filled with essential tips for anyone looking to grow their team and will help you work through every step of the onboarding process.