A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

Onboarding: six steps to a great first day

Posted by Janet Smith on May 15, 2008

I’ve still got more to say on the subject of onboarding. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out how to make new employees feel welcome, but evidently it’s just about impossible for a lot of bosses.

In my last post I talked about how to start the onboarding process the day that “Toby” accepts a job, and leading up to his first day. Now let’s talk about the first day.

  1. Be waiting for Toby when he arrives at the workplace at the agreed-upon time and place. Don’t make him wait for you. And it should be YOU—the person who hired him. Not your assistant or an HR person or anyone else.
  2. Begin the day with a welcome party for Toby with his co-workers. Have his favorite morning beverage waiting for him (see number four on the last post), along with pastries and fruit. Have co-workers introduce themselves to Toby and tell him about their jobs and themselves, and ask Tony to introduce himself last.
  3. Present Toby with a fun gift with your organization’s logo on it—a t-shirt, nice pen, mug, or ball cap would be nice. All four in a gift bag is even better.
  4. Keep Toby busy on his first day by having him spend one-on-one time with each of his co-workers. (Meet with these co-workers in advance and ensure that they will be welcoming and encouraging and positive and interesting!)
  5. Take Toby out for lunch, and arrange to have other first-day employees and their bosses join you. If Toby is the only one, invite a few of his co-workers to join you.
  6. Meet one-on-one with Toby after lunch. Find out about his interests, hobbies and family; review his career aspirations and goals; tell him about the projects you’re currently working on; and describe what he’s going to be working on.

Of course, you’ve got to give Toby a tour, point out the coffeepot and the restroom, show him his workspace, make sure he’s fully stocked with necessary office supplies, and all of that expected and important stuff. But go beyond that and you’ll your new employees will almost immediately feel connected, happy, valued, delighted they took the job, and serving as a true ambassador for your organization.

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