HR Mavericks

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Employee First Day
During a new employee’s first day, focus on creating a comfortable and welcoming environment. You can use the new hire’s first day to introduce them to their teammates, set expectations and provide an overview of their new working environment.

Continue reading to learn what an employee’s first day should be like, the benefits of a great first day on the job, how to make a new employee’s first-day count and other tips for a successful first-day agenda.

What Should an Employee’s First Day Be Like?

An employee’s first day should be focused on welcoming them into your organization and making them feel comfortable. You also want to begin setting expectations and introducing objectives. By the end of an employee's first day, they should have a clear idea of what to expect from the company culture and work environment.

Benefits of a Great First Day on the Job

A great first day on the job sets the tone and prepares new hires for their role at the company. Creating an effective new hire first-day experience can benefit employees and the company by:
  • Making new hires feel comfortable. A new hire’s first day on the job is often accompanied by nerves and anxiety. Creating a welcoming environment can help employees feel more comfortable and at ease.
  • Preparing the employee for their new role. Clearly outlining the job responsibilities, providing thorough, role-specific training and meeting with their direct manager helps to set expectations early on and prepare the new hire for their day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Showcasing their value. A warm welcome with gifts, catered meals and enthusiastic teammates will make new hires feel like they are a valued part of the team that everyone is excited to have on board.
  • Covering all legal requirements. The first day provides an opportunity to make sure that all legal requirements, both governmental and organizational, are completed in a timely fashion.

How To Make a New Employee’s First Day Count

A new hire’s first day starts before they walk through the office doors. Preparing information in advance and creating a memorable first-day experience begins immediately following their acceptance. The following steps can help you create an effective first day for new employees.

1. Send a Welcome Letter

As soon as the employee accepts the position, prepare a welcome letter. This can be drafted by HR, the employee’s direct manager or an executive leader, depending on your company. The letter provides an opportunity to make the new hire feel valued before they ever step foot in the office.

2. Prepare Their Work Area

Before the new hire’s first day, prepare their work area. Whether it be a cubicle, workstation, office or another area, make sure that they have all of the appropriate technology and office supplies to be successful on their first day. They may not spend a ton of time at their desk on day one, but having a prepared workspace can set up employees to be productive immediately.

3. Send Out Onboarding Paperwork in Advance

While some paperwork will have to be filled out in person, any paperwork that can be digitally completed before the employee’s first day should be sent to them in advance.

4. Prepare Important Information Ahead of Time

A new hire’s first day can be information overload. Prepare important information before the employee’s first day so that everything runs smoothly. Consider preparing the following:
  • Payroll information
  • Computer and voice mail instructions
  • Parking details
  • Building security process
  • Employee directory
  • Employee handbook
Some of this information can be sent to the employee electronically before their first day.

5. Create a Welcoming Check-In Environment

In anticipation of their arrival, have someone on your team greet the new hire when they enter the door. This can be an HR team member, the new hire’s direct manager, the office manager or another person. Consider hosting a catered breakfast while employees get settled in, especially if multiple new hires are starting on the same day.

6. Discuss Your Company, Policies and Procedures

Set aside time to discuss the company’s values, mission and vision. Make sure to go over all of the organization’s policies and procedures. Provide an employee handbook and have new hires sign to acknowledge that they’ve received and reviewed all of the information.

7. Give New Hires a Tour of the Office

Take your new hires on a tour of the office. This allows them to get familiar with their surroundings and feel more comfortable about finding the right place that they need to be. During the office tour, you can provide more information about the company history, highlight any benefits of working there and answer any questions that employees have.

8. Introduce New Hire to Teammates

Since it’s important that employees feel comfortable with the co-workers they’ll be collaborating with, setting up a time to meet with their teammates can help new hires acclimate to their team. Keep it light and don’t overwhelm the employee with too much information. Use this time as a team bonding activity.

9. Host a Preliminary Role-Specific Training

While the full onboarding process will include a comprehensive training program, it’s important to have a solid first-day, role-specific training program. Cover the job responsibilities, team structure, tools that they’ll be using and team objectives in this training session.

10. Have a One-On-One With Their Direct Manager

One of the most important relationships for a new hire to develop is with their direct manager. Have a one-on-one so that you can create a positive first impression for your new hire. In this meeting, discuss initial goals and assign their first tasks. Provide resources they are likely to use and make sure they ask questions about anything they aren’t certain of.

11. Cater a Team Lunch

To create another opportunity for new hires to meet with current employees, cater a company-wide lunch. This will create a positive environment for new hires to acclimate and get comfortable at the company.

12. Regroup at the End of the Day to Check In on New Hires

At the end of the new hire’s first day, regroup and check in to make sure they are feeling comfortable. Ask for feedback on their first-day experience so you can incorporate it into future new hire’s first days.

Sample First Day Agenda

While there are several ways to structure your schedule, here is a sample employee first-day agenda that you can use when creating yours.
  • 9 AM: Check-in and welcome breakfast. Greet the new employee as they enter the building and allow them to settle in with breakfast.
  • 10 AM: Overview of company, policies and procedures. Once they’ve had the opportunity to settle in, you can present the company history and cover all required policies and procedures.
  • 11 AM: Office tour. Walk employees through each area of the office tour to help them become familiar with their work environment.
  • 12 PM: Catered lunch with teammates. Take a break and host a catered lunch for new hires to meet with current teammates and begin creating working relationships.
  • 1 PM: One-on-one meeting with the direct manager. In a private but relaxed setting, have the new employee’s direct manager set expectations and discuss goals with them.
  • 2 PM: Preliminary role-specific training. Basic role-specific training can help prepare new hires for more extensive training to come and make them feel confident jumping into tasks right away.
  • 3 PM: Allow new hires to settle in at their desk. By this time, the employee is likely overwhelmed with an influx of information. Give them a chance to settle at their desk and create a comfortable environment for themselves.
  • 4 PM: Regroup. With the day winding down, regroup to check in and make sure the new hires are feeling comfortable and confident.

Other First Day Tips

Aside from creating a memorable, welcoming first-day agenda, here are a few tips to make employees feel comfortable and valued on their first day.
  • Assign a mentor. A mentor can help share their firsthand company experiences with the new hires who may be more comfortable asking questions to them.
  • Provide welcome gifts. Handing out welcome gifts and company swag like t-shirts, coffee mugs and notebooks helps the employee feel like part of the team and serves as a free marketing promotion for your company.
  • Be enthusiastic. New hires are nervous and anxious. Make them feel like a vital part of the organization and ease their nerves by showing enthusiasm and excitement for their arrival.
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