A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

Get new hires onboard before their first day

Posted by Janet Smith on May 14, 2008

Don’t underestimate the importance of making your new employees feel happy they accepted your job offer…even before their first day of work. Remember, 96 percent of all new hires say that after their first day on the job they’re not sure they’ll want to stay with that organization. And with the high cost of turnover…not to mention what disgruntled employees do to your reputation…you just can’t afford to ignore the needs of your new folks.

I’ve been writing about the subject of onboarding—a much more comprehensive and morale-based process than “employee orientation” or an “induction process.” Onboarding focuses on making employees feel like they belong as quickly as possible, which means they’ll be eager to be a productive team player.
Onboarding doesn’t start on the person’s first day. It starts the day they accept your offer. That’s when you want to begin showing a new employee that you are thrilled they will be on your staff and working for your organization.

When you begin onboarding your new hires before their first day on the job, their loyalty starts to develop before they’ve so much as sipped from your water fountain. They’ll be likely to arrive on day one anticipating wonderful experiences and friendly co-workers, rather than feeling nervous and worried about fitting in. And since they’ll probably tell a number of people about your early welcoming gestures, your organization’s reputation will get a shot in the arm.

Here are four ways to make a new employee feel welcome before their first day of work. Let’s say your new person’s name is Toby.

  1. On the day Toby accepts the job, write and mail (the kind of mail that uses a stamp) a note to him, saying how happy you are that he has decided to join your team.
  2. A few days later, send another welcoming card to Toby that includes personal notes written by the people who will be his co-workers.
  3. Email Toby several times between the day he accepts and the day he starts, saying you are looking forward to his being on board, and including some brief (and timely) information you think he’ll find interesting about your company and/or industry.
  4. Call Toby a day or two before he is scheduled to start, to find out if he has any last-minute questions and to confirm parking arrangements, arrival time, and where you’ll meet him. Ask him what his preferred morning beverage is: coffee, juice, a Coke, water, chocolate milk. Also, give an overview of how he’ll spend his first day.

A future post will tell you how to make sure Toby has a really great first day on the job.

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