Think back for a second to all the jobs you’ve had throughout your lifetime. Remember how nervous and excited you were on the first day of each one? You wanted to make a good impression, hoping that your tenure at the company would be successful and profitable. So, what did you find when you arrived?
Many of you won’t remember, because for nearly all of us, our first days on a job aren’t very memorable. Some of us, though, have nightmare tales about our first days—about being put to work without proper training and feeling as if we'd been thrown to the wolves.
I’ve learned—over many years of welcoming new employees to my companies—that if you can get your employees started off on the right foot from day one, you’re well on your way to ensuring a content and loyal staff. But that's not all it takes.
You may not realize it, but there’s a secret component to employee satisfaction, and that's the support your employee gets—or doesn’t get—at home.
Home Sweet Home
At this point, you may be thinking that you have absolutely no shot at controlling just what your employee’s spouse or children think about your company—but you'd be dead wrong.
So let me take you through some of my tried-and-true tactics for starting my employees off on the right foot, all of which helps inspire loyalty from the first day out. First, before the new hire walks through the door, all of the boring, tedious (yet very important) paperwork has already been completed. Rather than walking in to find a stack of the usual W-4 and I-9 forms waiting to be filled out, my employees walk into an office or cubicle full of welcome balloons with a coffee mug with our company logo on it sitting on their desk.
I clear my schedule so I can spend time with my new staff members, and I introduce them around, taking the time not to talk, but to listen. I ask about their family and get to know the employees, their home situations and what’s important to them. We’re all motivated by different things, and if you can find out—right away—what motivates your new hires, you can find out how to reward them and ensure their satisfaction and loyalty.
When it’s time to break for lunch, I’ve arranged for 10 or so other staff members to come along, and we treat the day like a big celebration. A new hire is a big investment, and providing a little “get to know one another” time can pay off big time.
At the end of the day, when it’s time to send the new employees home, I never let them go empty handed. I’ve done my research—I know if they have kids, what their spouse’s hobbies are—and I use my intel to send them home with a thoughtful gift for their family. Whether it’s a gift certificate to a spa gift certificate, a local golf course or to a great restaurant in town so they can take their family out to dinner, I'm demonstrating to my employees that I care, and I'm demonstrating to the families that they matter.
Spreading the Love
Imagine what you’d say to your spouse or partner if you came home after a first day like the one I’ve just described. You both would be over the moon—absolutely wowed and grateful that you have the opportunity to work for a company that clearly values you so highly.
It’s impossible to underestimate the value of family support for your staff, and if you can win over the family, you've taken a huge step toward ensuring that you retain your satisfied and loyal new hire.
Everyone hits rough patches at work, but when your employees go home to a spouse or partner who supports their choice of employer and is on your side, those employees are far more likely to stick around. On the other hand, if your employees' spouse or partner thinks you’re a jerk, they're not going to have the support they need to stick it out and keep plugging away, giving you their best effort.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this home-based support when it comes to employee satisfaction. Investing your time in welcoming your new staff members and ensuring that they’re properly trained and integrated into your company is essential. Recognizing and welcoming their families as well is the icing on the cake that most people don't bother to do. But setting yourself apart yourself from every other boss they’ve ever had in this positive way can earn loyalty that will last for an entire career.
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