The first day of work is all about making a good impression – not just for employees but also for employers. Putting the best foot forward and setting the right tone lays the foundation for building a strong relationship with new hires. A company invests a lot per hire. But reports also show that one third of new hires quit within the first six months for better job opportunities.
It’s easy to see why businesses must focus on retention from day one.
Here are some simple, yet powerful, steps to ensure that new hires – regardless of their level or role in the company - feel comfortable in their new job and get off to a solid start:
1. Equip new employees with company information before they join – Surveys indicate that 93% of employees feel it’s important to deeply understand the company – its culture, values, business model, future plans, etc. So, provide information about your company’s success stories, innovation programs, reporting processes and so on through creative videos or infographics to start engaging new hires early on and ensure that they arrive well prepared.
2. Send a welcome mail to all stakeholders about the arrival of the new hires – Create a brief note on the background of new employee and their role at the company, and share it with all stakeholders – team members, senior leadership and even clients. This helps put the other team members and stakeholders at ease about the new joinee and also makes the new employee feel included.
3. Create a welcoming environment – This too requires prior planning. Once the offer is made and the date set for the new employee to join, involve the rest of the team in the onboarding process. Ask team members to chip in on the first day activities such as showing new hires around or training them.
4. Get the physical space ready – New employees are always excited and interested to know where they are going to work from. Not having a ready workspace to settle into can be disheartening and demoralizing. Organizing a desk or an office, depending on the role and position of the employee, along with the tools such as a computer or phone will make them feel welcome on the first day itself.
5. Introduce the new employee to everyone, especially important stakeholders – It’s one of the most critical activities and needs to be thoughtfully scheduled for the first day of an employee. These informational meetings offer a great platform to bring new hires up to speed on team structure, departments, communication flow and even conflict/problem resolution strategies.
6. Assign small and easily manageable jobs – The first day on the job does not have to be boring with nothing to do. Starting off new hires on small tasks, especially if they are previously experienced, can give them a brief glimpse into the role they are hired for and start their new role with a sense of purpose.
7. Pair them with a mentor or a buddy – New employees have a lot of questions. Teaming them up with a mentor or buddy creates a one-on-one relationship that is less intimidating in a new setting and encourages open communication. Mentors and buddies can also play a positive role in conveying the culture of the organization and helping new hires overcome their inhibitions about expressing their opinions in a new environment.
8. Seek feedback from the employee – Towards the end of the first day, ask for feedback. This offers two-fold benefits. One - it helps new hires set their own expectations of the role they are hired for and enables you to improve the onboarding process. Two – it conveys an important message to new employees – their ideas matter to the company.
At a time when employee turnover is estimated to cost organizations twice as much as an employee’s salary, employee retention is critical to a successful business. It’s clear that employers will need to go beyond mere lip service and focus on the smallest details, turning new hires into loyal, happy, long-term employees.