Remember your first day on the job? That can be a very stressful day for anyone. Suddenly you are trying to learn the ropes of a new job and a new company while trying to remember everyone’s name at the same time. All you really want to do is to make a good first impression and get through the day.
First impressions are important for new hires. However, most of us think in terms of the new hire making a good first impression. That sword cuts both ways. An organization should also be mindful of the importance of making a good first impression on the new hire. An effort on the company’s part to make a good first impression can help eliminate some stress for the new hire and lead to a successful first day for both parties.
Give some thought to the following ideas on how to help create a perfect first day for your new hire:
Everything Should Be Ready - When a new hire arrives and no one is prepared to greet them, or if there is no schedule or agenda regarding their orientation, they may feel unwelcome. Be prepared with a schedule of meetings with key people they will need to know: Human Resources, Technical Support, Office Manager, Senior Management, etc. Have their desk and all necessary equipment and tools available and functioning (computer, phone, etc.).
Office Tour and Introductions - A quick tour around the office, coupled with personal introductions to other team members, can make a new hire feel like a welcome member of the corporate team. The location of the break room, supply closet and restroom will help a new hire to feel at home.
Training - Have a plan in place for any necessary training and make sure that training starts right away. Nothing makes a new hire feel more comfortable than to begin feeling productive. Keep in mind, training and new hire orientation are very important, especially on the new hire’s first day, but a full day of training on policies, job duties and processes can create an overwhelmed new hire. Focus on the big picture and essential training day one. Help the new hire get a grasp on their role, the company and a direction of their first contribution and spread the training out across the first week or two.
Start Small - Early successes are vital to ease stress and to instill confidence in new hires. You want to get them started on a project as soon as their training is complete. Make the tasks meaningful, but also manageable. Small, finite tasks that can be accomplished without a working knowledge of everything can boost a new hire’s confidence early in the process and incent them to get more involved.
Pairing With A Mentor - A new hire wants to make a good first impression and will therefore be hesitant to ask for help when needed. To make this easier, assign a more senior member of the team to be a mentor for a new hire. A senior member of the organization can act as a mentor for several new hires at once and give them a single person to go to for questions. Knowing that person’s role is to act as mentor, it will take the pressure off when it becomes necessary to ask for help.
Request Feedback - Asking a new hire for feedback at the end of the first day can serve a double purpose. First, feedback on the orientation process can help the company to improve its processes going forward. Second, asking for feedback from a new hire can make them feel like an important member of the team whose opinions count.
Starting a new job can be very stressful, especially when a new hire wants to make a great first impression on their co-workers and with their new company. Take a little of that initial stress away by working to make a good first impression on them during that critical first day. New hires that feel welcome and valued that first day will work even harder the second day as a vital member of your team.