Your employees are your biggest resource and your greatest expenditure. But turning new employees into loyal, happy, long-term employees doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen. Sure, you wowed each other at the interview, but you need to keep that momentum going, by investing time, resources and some thought into what the first day of the job should be like for your new employees. From having a desk fully set up on their arrival, to a take home gift for their spouse or significant other on the first day, wowing your employees on day one sets them up to help you wow your clients for the rest of their career.
To show you what you should—and shouldn't—do, I've outlined two possible first-day scenarios. If you were an employee, which one would you rather walk into?
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Scenario 1: This is what most first days at a new job are like.
- Employee shows up, and no one is there, or no one is expecting them.
- Employee sits in corner filling out paperwork.
- Their new boss is too busy to talk that day, so they meet with an intern who doesn’t know anything and who might have had their eye on the job themselves.
- The employee goes to lunch, by themselves.
- More paperwork.
- No phone, no cards, no computer access or email, and still no desk.
- People leave at 5 p.m., but employee stays to impress someone ... but no one is there to be impressed.
- New employee leaves when the place is empty, and accidentally sets off alarm.
- Employee gets home and their partner says, “How was your day?” Let the regrets, second thoughts about the job, and the anger at being essentially ignored spew.
Scenario 2: This is what the ideal first day on the job should look like.
- Employee is told to arrive 15 minutes later than their normal time (this helps them in case they have trouble parking or with traffic, and allows other staff to arrive and get settled).
- Other employees are there and the new boss is waiting at the door.
- Boss greats employee and welcomes them, tells them how thrilled the company is to have them.
- Reception hangs coat and gets coffee for employee.
- Employee is brought to new desk that is fully set up and functioning with all the supplies they need and their phone message working with their name already recorded.
- Their new business cards are there waiting and one card is in a framed picture says, “We are thrilled that you are one of us!” and every employee has signed it.
- Employee is given 10 minutes to put their stuff down before meeting the with boss in a conference room to just chit chat and get to know each other.
- Boss shares company history, the struggles and the successes that got them to this moment today, and explains how the new employee is now part of that history.
- Boss takes employee for tour of facility and to meet people who have been briefed in advance about the employee, his or her interests and name and job title.
- Boss and other colleagues take new employee to lunch.
- Employee comes back and there are only the most critical pieces of important paperwork to complete. (The rest can be filled out in the coming week), the HR person explains any benefits, insurance and other info.
- Employee then meets with each new colleague they will be working with, one on one for the next few hours. Employees get to know each other, to explain roles, to give personal contact info and answer questions.
- As 5 p.m. approaches, the boss hands new employee a wrapped gift and says, “This gift isn’t for you. It’s for the person closest to you who helped you make the decision to come here.” The gift includes a card that says, “We know that few big decisions are made alone, and want to thank you for your help in this decision. We look forward to years of success. Thank you.”
Now when the employee gets home and is asked, “How was your day?” they can recount the story about how they've fallen eternally in love with the company, in a single day. Nice job.
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