You swiped right (on your pile of resumes, that is), and found the employee you’ve always dreamed about. But before it’s officially their first day, you need to bring them into your inner circle of all-stars. Or in other words, you need to make sure they know exactly what to expect on that jazzy day when it all begins. There are a bundle of things you can do before your employees start to make sure their first day is truly first-rate. In this article, we’ll help you get it all together so you can be ready to go before they even stroll into the office.
First things first: Why is this stuff important?
Streamlined onboarding helps people ramp up quickly and feel integrated into the fabric of a company. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), employees at Corning who went through an exhaustive onboarding program were 69 percent more likely to stay at the company for up to three years. This is because the first experience a person has leaves an indelible mark on their entire journey with the company. A survey from BambooHR also found that one out of three people have quit their jobs in the first six months, with the most happening in the first and third months.
Now, let’s explore how to create a great onboarding experience through 1) clear communication, 2) rolling out the welcome wagon, and 3) making sure all your ducks are in a row.
Step one: Communicate clearly
Remember those first-day jitters? People are usually excited and nervous all rolled into one when starting a new venture. To help set new hires up for success, proper communication is essential right from the beginning. When you make people feel like you’re being honest with them and vice versa, it can squelch a lot of unnecessary mishaps. Your new hire will be more likely to bring the correct items on their first day, and you’ll be more likely to get things squared away.
Tell them what they should bring to fill out their I-9 and W-4 forms: Usually, this involves a passport, driver’s license, and/or a Social Security card. Side note: If you use an HR service that does this part for you, they’ll be able to complete this stuff all on their own.
Email them explaining what to expect on the first day: Lay out any details they may find useful, like your address, the weather, what people normally wear, and the parking and public transportation options they have on hand. Is there a great cafe on the way from the train? Highlight it so they can start the day off on the right foot, or latte.
Email the team introducing your new hire: Before sending the announcement email, ask your new employee to answer a few questions about themselves. These icebreakers will speed up the introduction process and help the team find easy ways to connect with your new hire in the early days. You can use this template to give you a head start.
Step two: Roll out the welcome wagon
Once you’ve made it loud and clear what’s going on, it’s time to get your hands dirty by making your new hire feel extra loved at this exciting (but nerve-wracking!) moment in their life. This checklist will give you a good start.
Hook them up with two buddies: Over half of new employees say they want a mentor or friend to help them show them the way when they first start. A dedicated buddy can help show them the ropes while a mentor can help sow the seeds for career and personal development. Another idea is to start people with similar roles on the same day so they have a built-in buddy to go through orientation with them.
Step three: Set stuff up
Now, let’s put some of the basics into motion. This will ensure that the first day runs as seamless as possible.
Set up their equipment: When your new hire walks in, they should be ready to jump into work right away. To help make this happen, ask them in advance about what kind of laptop, desk, headphones, and other items they would like to have so they can do their best work.
Secure any access cards they need: Does your office require a key or access card? Make sure you put in the order right away so they’re not frantically messaging teammates to let them inside.
Spruce up their desk: Add a balloon or some other marker to their desk indicating they’re new, so people will be more likely to come over and and introduce themselves. If you know more about their interests, decorate it with related doodads, like plants or toys.
Order their company swag: Buy them a T-shirt, hoodie, jacket, or other company apparel, so they feel like they’re already a part of the team when they start.
Order business cards: Sometimes seeing your name and your new role can make it all come to life. Handing them business cards allows them to also begin sharing their news even before they start.
Set up their email address: As soon as they start receiving work emails, they’ve officially joined the team. Give them an email address before they start so they can get rolling right from day one.
Add them to your employee directory: An employee directory is a map that helps them understand who everyone is on the team. Photos, team names, fun tidbits, and other details can help them fill in the blanks as they’re trying to learn everyone’s name.
Once you knock off the communications, welcoming, and setup stuff, your new hire will be ready to enter the sheer wonder that is their first day. Nerves will melt away, and happiness and excitement for what lies ahead will take their place. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing that you did what you could to craft that perfect first-day experience.