Employee Onboarding: The First Day

A new hire needs more than just on-the-job training and new hire orientation. It requires supporting their training as well as their entrance into the corporate fold – for the short term and the long. The difference between orientation and onboarding is easy to understand: allowing someone sit at your table (and ignoring them) versus inviting them to join you. A cursory “How’s it going?” versus a sit-down conversation on how they’re adjusting to the new work.

Employee Onboarding: the first day

It’s true that on-boarding begins before the job offer is even made and continues for at least 90 days after the new hire starts. But DAY ONE is still the most important piece. Here’s How to Make the Most of It:

BEFORE- Prepare the Space

Ensure their workspace is ready with these items:

  • Computer
  • Phone
  • Email & network access
  • Office supplies
  • Employee handbook
  • Staff directory
  • Building map/Seating chart
  • Fun map with the best lunch spots nearby

All work and no play is dull, but balloons are Great!

Preparing for the new hires first day reaffirms he/she is a priority and a valued member of the team. It also gets the logistical issues out the way, so the new hire can be productive right out of the gate. (at Kretaro, we do balloons!)

welcome onboarding

Upon Arrival

Assign a greeter to meet Nisha at the door, or in the parking lot.

You could even set aside a parking spot marked RESERVED FOR FIRST DAY HIRES.

Send a welcome announcement email.
Include name, title, department or team, and personal info like favorite foods or hobbies.

“Team, please welcome Nisha. She is sitting by Amit.”

“Team, please welcome Nisha. Along with her stellar qualifications (list degrees or accomplishments at past employer), she tells us she enjoys “crime shows, craft beer, and pretending to go to the gym.”

Make her feel welcome

As the new employee settles in, have someone bring her favorite snack food over to her desk and give it to her. It’s also a good time for the welcoming gift. Everyone loves getting a gift, such as:

  • Company swag like t-shirts or coffee mugs
  • Office equipment like pens or notebooks

Provide a Mentor

A mentor helps ease the first-day stress and gives the hiring manager a good feedback conduit. A mentor can help the employee assimilate into the culture faster AND do the ever-important First Day introductions.

Day One Introductions

Be sure to have a list of who the new hire should be introduced to, for instance, team members, support teams, other supervisors and managers, upper managers.

The Rest of the Day

Simplify the Paperwork

Instead of using up valuable time filling out form after form, have your employee sign their paperwork electronically. This also keeps documents in one place. Have your new employee fill these out electronically on their first day – or better yet, have them do it before their start date!

Plan an Activity

Along with First Day Introductions, having a planned activity is a great way to make a new employee feel welcome on the first day. A few ideas:

  • Host a catered or lunch or a potluck in which everyone contributes a dish.
  • Take the team to a favorite local eatery.
  • Throw an after-work happy hour.

Events like these can give your new and current employees a chance to get to know each other in a casual environment to build strong relationships and channels for collaboration.

Day’s End

At the end of the day, the hiring manager should CHECK BACK IN to be sure to give the new hire a chance to ask any questions. The first day is often overwhelming, so touching base helps make them feel supported.

Show Enthusiasm

Make sure you’re enthusiastic about your new hire. You want them to know you’re looking forward to working with them. Even on an employee’s first day, there are great ways to show your excitement, whether it means using any of our tips or building a new first-day employee ritual unique to your company and culture.

While it’ll still take plenty of time, training, and coaching to get your new employee up to speed, this will lay the groundwork to get him or her familiar with the team and make sure he or she feels like an important, valued member of your department. And that will make day two (and onward!) a whole lot more successful.

Do you know of any other tips and tactics for effective employee onboarding? Be sure to let us know about them in the comments below.

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