First impressions are critical on the first day of a new job. While a new employee may be worried about making a good impression on you as their employer, you should also be concerned about the impression you are making on the employee. The first day can set the stage for that employee’s entire work experience. But only 12% of U.S. employees say they had a good onboarding experience at their company. One study suggests that 80% of employees who feel undertrained from poor onboarding plan to leave their job soon.
Yet, 70% of employees who had good onboarding say they have “the best possible job.” These employees are also 2.6 times “as likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace” — and are far more likely to stay. And we know how expensive replacing an employee can be, as much as one-half to two times their salary.
Simply put, to hire and keep exceptional employees, you need exceptional onboarding. And that starts with an exceptional first day. This blog will discuss nine best practices for making employees feel welcome and engaged starting on their first day.
Set expectations ahead of time
Uncertainty can cause tension and discomfort. Make sure new employees know what to expect on their first day. Before their first day, communicate with them about your dress code, the items they need to bring with them such as a photo ID, their schedule for the first week, parking, directions, and other important information.
Before your new employee arrives, make sure you have their physical space and resources ready for their first day. Set up their workspace, including a desk, chair, computer, and any necessary tools or equipment. Have their uniform ready if they need one. Prepare any required paperwork, access badges, company handbooks or policy and procedure handouts, and a printed schedule for their first week. Giving them company swag is always nice, like a branded coffee mug or mouse pad for their new office.
Personal greeting and tour
Being there in person to greet your new employee shows you are engaged in their well-being and happy to have them on your team. Offer a warm smile, a firm handshake, and a genuine welcome. Show them to their workspace. Once settled in their new office, take them on a personal tour of the workplace. Along the way, introduce them to others on the team, providing brief background information about each person. Try to find common ground between each team member and your new hire. This will help them feel comfortable and included immediately.
Orientation and onboarding
Spend time going over the company handbook with your new hire. Cover important information like company policies, organizational charts, values, mission, and goals. Share any relevant documents, tools, and resources they need to do their job, like the company intranet portal or payroll system. Make sure the employee knows who their point of contact is for technical support. Ask them to review and sign any necessary HR or payroll documents.
First team meeting
Schedule a meeting to integrate the employee into the team. Give an overview of each person’s role and how the team works together. Encourage the team to be welcoming and offer the new employee insights into team dynamics. Invite the new employee to ask questions about their role and how it fits within the team. Review any team meeting schedules or deadlines the employee will need to know.
Assign a mentor or buddy
Ask a current team member to guide the new employee through their first few days, escort them to meetings, introduce them to other employees, answer questions, and provide support. The mentor can help the new employee understand workplace processes and culture. This buddy can also help your new hire integrate socially by planning team lunches, activities, or informal get-togethers so the new employee can build connections and feel part of the team.
Incorporate job shadowing
A new hire can quickly get a feel for how your company works by shadowing employees from other departments. For example, if your new employee works in your billing department, it might help them do their job better if they shadow your receptionist for a day or two. By giving new employees a glimpse into how other departments work, they’ll be better equipped to understand your processes and perform their job. Shadowing will also allow them to meet more co-workers.
Set expectations from day one
One of the most damaging effects of bad onboarding is that employees end up feeling undertrained. Set your new hire up for success by providing clear examples of what success looks like for them in their new role. Be as specific as possible using data or real-life examples from past employees. Offer to provide any necessary training to help the new employee have the skills and knowledge they need to meet their goals. During that first week, create a training plan and schedule training sessions to ensure a smooth transition into their responsibilities.
Successful onboarding lasts well beyond the employee’s first day. Schedule regular check-ins with the new employee during their first 90 days to address any questions, concerns, or challenges they may have. Encourage them to be open and honest with you. Provide constructive feedback and acknowledge their progress. These check-ins show your commitment to their success and help identify areas where they need extra support. Remember, the more supported new employees feel during their onboarding, the more likely they’ll stay with you longer.
With the cost of employee turnover increasing, successful onboarding is crucial to employee retention. But a great onboarding process will never replace the importance of hiring the best person for the job. Desert Medical Recruiters helps healthcare providers in Arizona find the best employees for their company. By doing this, you can fill your workplace with the highest-quality staff. With smart hiring and onboarding, we’ll help you build a stronger team and a better work environment for every employee.