Onboarding: First Day Best Practices

Onboarding: First Day Best Practices

by on 14 Nov, 2018

In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of preboarding- engaging with the new hire during the time after they accept the job offer and before their first day of work. Many people overlook this time period as part of the overall onboarding process, but it is crucial to making a new hire feel welcomed and confident before they even get started. If a proper preboarding program is implemented, the new hire should show up for work on the first day already having communicated with members of the team. They should have already begun filling out employee forms and learning about the benefits and company culture, and they should have a clear idea of what to expect on the first day.

Properly preboarding an employee, however, does not mean that the new hire’s first day is any less important. While preboarding can take some of the pressure off of the first day, it is still crucial that employers plan out the new hire’s first day and take a series of steps to ensure that it goes smoothly. Here are some best practices for a new hire’s first day on the job:

  • Make sure the new hire’s workstation is ready. While it may seem trivial, having a workstation set up for the new hire when they arrive is an easy, surefire way to make the new hire feel like they have a place (literally) in the office. Still, one report found that 1 in 5 new hires surveyed did not even have a desk on their first day.  Employers should make sure the new hire’s workstation is ready and equipped with necessities, such as a computer with required software, a phone, office supplies, etc.
  • Greet the new hire at the door on their first day, and start with a tour. If the new hire shows up on the first day and does not know what to do or where to go, they will immediately have a bad impression of the company, and that is a terrible way for them to start their day. Be sure that someone on the team is responsible for greeting the new hire on their first day and showing them around the office to help them get acclimated.
  • Send out an office-wide email, and set aside time for the new hire to meet team members. It is a good idea to send out an office-wide email the day before, or the morning of, the new hire’s first day. This email should serve as an introduction, welcoming the new hire to the company and offering some information about them, including their work background, their interests, and their passions. If the new hire’s email is already set up (which it should be), CC them on the email so that team members can respond with personalized welcome messages. On the first day, be sure to set aside some time for the new hire to meet team members, especially those they will be working with most closely. Include a meeting invite for this time in the introduction email.
  • Give the new hire some meaningful work to complete. While much of the first day will be reserved for onboarding tasks like the office tour and paperwork, it is a good idea to set aside some time for the new hire to complete some sort of meaningful task. Getting the new hire started on work with a manageable task on the first day will increase their feelings of efficacy in the role and make them feel right away like they are an important contributor to the team.
  • Discuss formal onboarding plans with the new hire. As discussed, employers should have a formal onboarding process in place for every new hire, with action items and check-ins at various intervals, such as after the first week, after the first month, and after the first six months. On the new hire’s first day, there should be some time set aside for the new hire to sit with his or her direct manager and learn about this plan and what checkpoints will occur. In addition, the manager and the new hire should take some time to communicate about their working styles and to set some actionable goals to achieve.

Following these best practices for a new hire’s first day on the job will ensure that the first day goes smoothly. It will make the new hire feel welcomed and ensure that they feel good about the decision to accept the job. In addition, it will continue the positive momentum established during the preboarding process, and set the new hire up for continued success.

This post is part of a series on onboarding. Check out the other posts in the series:

Onboarding: Benefits and Myths

Onboarding: The Benefits of Preboarding

Onboarding: Going Beyond Orientation


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