During my ten years in recruitment – five of those at Futureheads – I’ve heard some great candidate stories about their amazing welcomes, receiving lots of care and attention that made them feel very welcomed and wanted.
I’ve also heard some not so happy tales! A new hire’s first week at their new job, at a new company, is integral to their long-term happiness, and it is an experience that companies should not overlook. A candidate I met recently left his job six months after he’d started, and I wasn’t surprised when he told me why. He didn’t have his own desk for the first month…and six months later was still waiting for his own computer.
Nightmare scenarios like this are, thankfully, few at senior level, as expectations are much higher all around, so my thoughts on best practice are more relevant to junior and mid-level hires.
Companies, big and small, need to make onboarding a positive experience, as the ramifications are potentially huge.
With a good experience, your new hire is much more likely to stay and will have nice things to say about your business. Anything less than a positive experience and your company could end up with a poor review on Glassdoor…
Top Ten Tips for making your new starter feel welcome – before, on and after their first day
- From the moment your candidate accepts the job offer, ensure there is contact.
- Send a welcome email or letter; send the contract/welcome pack/employee information pack.
- Make sure they know where to go and who to report to on their first day.
- Hiring managers should reiterate the importance of communication to the employer, prior to a candidate’s first day.
Prepare the space
- Make sure you have prepared a designated area for them on their first day – a desk and a chair, and all the equipment they are going to need. You’d be surprised how often these basic items are overlooked, but for a new employee not to have a new ‘home’ when they arrive, implies the company doesn’t care about them.
- Make sure the relevant software is installed on their computer, with access to the intranet/their own email account, and a list of useful contacts such as their line manager, IT support, and HR.
Prep the team
- Does your internal team know of the new hire?
- Setting up pre-start welcome drinks or lunch leading up to their start date will make their first day much more pleasant with some familiar faces saying hi.
- Assign them a mentor/buddy so they know they always have someone they can turn to if needed.
- Scheduling lunch with a team member, or the whole team, on their first day is also a nice touch.
Welcome them in person
There’s nothing worse than turning up at your new company and no one is expecting you or knows where you’ll be working. One candidate phoned me upset about her treatment recently. She’d been sitting in reception for half the day and no one had come to see her. In the end, she decided against taking the job.
Put yourself in their shoes
How would you want to be greeted on your first day somewhere new? We do it quite well here (thank you very much!). There’s a buddy system for newcomers and everyone in the company knows exactly what’s going on and welcomes them personally.
Demonstrate that you respect your new employee and they’re more likely to stick around!
Set the agenda
- Think about what you want to cover on their first day. Don’t let a newcomer sit idle all day without a clue of what’s expected of them.
- Initiate a team standup, schedule internal training, and consider other onboard activities such as employee orientation.
- The first day is the best time for bonding amongst the team. Ensure your new hire spends time with their new co-workers on their first day.
- If you’re a large company going through a spate of hires, schedule a group induction.
- Mapping out proper training and goals for the first month will help your new employee understand what is being asked of them.
Go the extra mile
A lot of onboarding strategies are focused on paperwork, meeting co-workers and managers, an office tour, and so on.
Making your new employee feel part of the office culture with personal touches will make a lasting impression – and make them feel really appreciated.
Simple gestures, such as a warm handshake and eye contact; a friendly enquiry about their journey in that morning; asking them to join you for a coffee run; and the like, make all the difference.
A welcome box of stationary, company-branded items like a coffee mug along with a gift, or an office plant for their desk, is a nice touch too.
It’s better to be pleasantly surprised than feel totally let down
The impression a new employee will form about their new employer during this period will have an enormous impact on the way they view your organisation, so make sure it counts.
If you’d like any guidance on supporting new members of your team – or perhaps in finding the right person to be your new starter, say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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