What are the most important things to do on a new employee’s first day?
You have the basics down pat: collect a W-4 and I-9; explain your benefits enrollment process; give out a copy of the employee handbook.
But your onboarding process shouldn’t stop there.
Here are a few not-so-typical tips to help your new hires gain momentum and start off right in your organization from day one.
Cover the essentials quicker
You can’t skip the typical first-day items altogether. But you can spend less time on them.
Make sure your security staff knows to give your new employees a warm welcome and how to direct them to you.
Work with IT in advance so that their phone and computer are ready. Have a workspace set up ahead of time – stock their desk with any supplies they might need (i.e. notepads, pens, headset, etc.) so that they don’t have to spend time tracking these items down.
Then give them a quick tour of the office conveniences, such as break rooms and bathrooms.
Then, push aside the paperwork
Yes, it’s important that your new hires read the employee handbook and sign an acknowledgement form. But effective managers realize that spending the first day of a new job sitting and reading through handbooks simply isn’t a good use of time. Instead, provide the materials and give the employees a few days to review it. Then set some time aside later in the week to discuss the handbook and address any other paperwork issues.
Break down potential discomforts
Changing jobs is one of life’s biggest stressors. The best way to alleviate your new employees’ anxiety is help them to make personal connections around your company early on. Here’s how:
- Send a welcome email to your staff. The email should include the new hire’s name, picture, a description of their role and initiatives (which you can pull from the job description), some resume highlights, the person’s educational background, supervisor and contact information. You can also ask new employees for an interesting fact to share with their new colleagues. Examples include hobbies, professional organizations, volunteer groups, interesting travel destinations and recent milestones. That way, when you introduce the new hire to your team in-person, they’re can put the name with the face and have plenty of conversation material.
- Have the new employee meet people at all levels of the organizational chart. This helps your new hires gain a big-picture understanding of how everyone contributes to your company’s mission and how they will belong.
- Pre-meet with important stakeholders, and set up meetings for day one. Schedule as many informational interviews with key colleagues for your new hire’s first week as possible. Ensure the time is productive by meeting with these people in advance and coaching them on the messages to convey to your new employee. Have them explain things, such as their role, how their department works, who their team members are and who the new hire will work with. It’s even a good idea to ask them to discuss preferred communication methods and conflict resolution strategies in these meetings.
Plan their first small successes
If you can help your new employees have some small wins early on, it will accelerate the process of them becoming a strong contributor to your company and a part of your competitive advantage. Quick successes also give them the confidence needed to excel in a new role and help them earn respect from their colleagues. Make it a high priority to discuss their initial goals on the first day, asking them what they think it will take to accomplish them.
Share stories that reinforce your company’s mission, values and culture
Helping your new hires feel rooted within your company’s culture will help them understand how to work more effectively with their new colleagues. Share stories that illustrate past successes and failures and that have helped define your organization. Encourage your team members to do the same when they first meet your new employee. Follow up by asking what they noticed about how things are handled.
If there’s a lot of work to be done at your company, you may be tempted to have your new hires start fighting fires with you as soon as they walk through the door. But helping them take a slow, deep dive into your organization through lots of quality face time with managers and colleagues makes for more engaged employees. And helping new hires strategically plan for early success will encourage engagement even more, helping them become high-performing, loyal contributors to your team.
Need help getting your new hires up to speed? Find out how Insperity’s service team can help you and your new in employees start off on the right foot.