Onboarding: Day 1

by Julia CapelotoNotecard1

Once, on the first day at a new job, I was asked to start my day at a client meeting off site. I hadn’t yet met the colleagues who I’d be working with on the project; I hadn’t even been in my new company’s office as an employee. It was painfully awkward to sit around a client’s meeting table with people “on my team” who I didn’t know. It was, maybe obviously, a terrible onboarding experience.

Starting a new job can be overwhelming, and first impressions can be hard to change. The last thing you want is a new hire spending their first day second-guessing their decision to join. 33% of new hires know whether they want to stay at their company long-term after being on the job for only one week or less, and 63% make the decision within the first month.

That is not a lot of time, and employee attrition is expensive. So as you build out an onboarding plan for your company, make sure to include a plan for Day 1, to guarantee your new hires have a good experience right off the bat. To get you started, here are some areas to consider:

Welcome aboard

Welcome your new hire as soon as she steps foot in the door. Don’t have your new hire waiting in the reception area wondering where to go and if she got her start date correct. This works best if you assign someone in advance to do the greeting.

Is this thing on?

Set up the workstation in advance. Walking your new hire to a clean desk with the company issued computer and necessary office supplies provided will make them feel expected and welcome. Make sure the computer is set up, working, and all needed software is installed. It’s also a good idea to check that the name in the email address is spelled correctly (Double-check if the name is unusual to you).

Buddy up

Assign a current employee to be a buddy to your new hire. The buddy can be in the same department as the new hire or in a different department. What matters most is that the buddy has some time to be available to your new hire for any questions while getting acclimated to the new job.

Walk this way

Have the buddy walk your new hire around the office, introducing her to peers and colleagues, and showing her the lay of the land— where to find supplies, how to book a conference room, etc.

Manager 1:1

Make sure the new hire’s manger is in the office on Day 1 and that the two have scheduled time together. While this sounds simple, it is often overlooked. With a multi-location company, the manager and employee might be in different offices, so if that’s the case, make sure the two have a conference call on the calendar. It is crucial that the manager and employee to start establishing a connection right away. This will help the new hire feel like her manager is actively guiding her career at the company from Day 1, as well as ensuring expectations are set.

Culture is king

Spend part of Day 1 with your new hire communicating the company’s core values, mission and brand. New hires won’t feel a connection to your company if they don’t understand the culture, and you want that connection to start immediately. Even better: have an attractive version of the company’s core values printed somewhere the new hire can see. Do your employees wear custom badges? Print your values on the badge.

Check it off

Keep a checklist of tasks that need to happen in advance of Day 1 and distribute to all the necessary people: recruiter, HR, IT, receptionist, manager, the team, etc. This ensures everyone knows their role and what’s expected of them to create a stellar first day for your new hire.

Making a good first impression on Day 1 with your new hires will set the tone for everything that follows. But remember, onboarding is not instant. Have a plan that allows for proper onboarding time, beyond the first day and week. By spreading out the orientation and onboarding material, it will be less overwhelming for your new hires, and they’ll have an easier time retaining all the information.

When you support your employees during their first week, month, quarter, and year, you help them to feel connected to the company, which in turn will increase your team’s productivity and lead to higher retention rates.

Julia Capeloto brings a holistic approach to employee engagement by integrating brand and health and fitness, with workplace learning and development programs. She is a San Francisco native and avid runner, holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).