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There are a lot of horror stories out there about people’s first day on the job. Imagine this, arriving on the first day and…

  • no one knows who you are or why you are there,
  • the person you are replacing is still at work and doesn’t know that they are being let go and you are supposed to clean out their desk for them,
  • you are handed 5 binders of materials to read in a room and don’t see anyone again for the rest of the day because they forgot about you. In one case, they even left for the day without telling you to go home!

Yes, these are all true. Sad but true. And we wonder why so many people have buyer’s remorse after accepting a new job! Starting a new job really doesn’t have to be this bad. Here are 5 tips for making your new employee feel welcome and happy to come back for the second day of work.

Be excited before the first day. Make sure that your new employee knows exactly what to expect on their first day. What time should they arrive, where should they park, and who should they connect with. Find ways to show them that you are excited they are coming before they even start! Ask them for input on what they want on their business cards, have some key employees send an email sharing their excitement about their joining the company and create some buzz about the whole thing!

Make time for them. As the manager responsible for training, clear your schedule for at least the first half day to spend time sharing knowledge, insights and information with your new employee. If you aren’t doing the training, then at least clear 30 minutes for a “get to know you” discussion and be available at various times through the first week, at a minimum. Plan ahead and make sure there are identified people to take the new employee out for lunch or at least make sure there is a plan for having lunch together with team members on their first day.

Create space for them. Nothing worse than showing up for work and there is nowhere for you to sit. Make sure there is a clean desk, a computer, and a phone available for them. Giving people a place to call home is key to having them settle in and feel welcome. And most importantly – be sure to show them where the washrooms are!

Set them up for success. Don’t sit them down with binders to read! Set up introduction meetings with people who they will be working closely with.  Give them a tour of the building and introduce them to people they will see every day but may not work side-by-side with. No one likes wandering the halls feeling like an interloper.

Celebrate! Set up a meeting at the end of the first week to check in and see how things are going. Be curious and find out if they are finding it a good fit. Nip any feelings of having made a wrong decision in the bud by addressing any concerns and letting them know how happy you are that they have joined your team!

Your Engaged HR Assignment: Do you have a new employee orientation system in place? Are there elements that are missing or things that could be done better? Do you have some best practices that you would like to share with us?  We would love to hear all about them!

The Art of HR
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