How to assist employees on their first day at work

Onboarding as a tone-setter: welcoming employees on their first day at work

Taking care of your new hires is fundamental for building a prosperous professional relationship

Coming to a new workplace for the first time is always overwhelming and nerve-wrecking. A freshly-hired employee expects to meet a great number of colleagues and senior managers, familiarize with a new boss, and start orientating in a new location. Along with that goes the process of taking up a bunch of new job responsibilities and understanding the entire company culture and working environment.

That said, facilitating the person’s first days’ adaptation (defined by the experts as “onboarding” that lasts for the employee’s first 90 days) is a crucial activity for a skilful HR team: together with the respective hiring managers, they should be thoroughly prepared for an employee’s arrival. In fact, the first impressions count a lot, being utterly important in the talent lifecycle, so don’t forget to give your new hires a warm welcome. How to manage it in the best possible way?

Onboarding in general and the first day organisation in particular are complex and multilayer: as written in Inc., they comprise “a comprehensive approach to bringing on new hires that goes beyond simple orientation. The ultimate payoff is to reduce turnover and encourage workers to stay with an organisation for a longer tenure.” And the process starts long before the new worker is even coming to the office.

Before the first day: a well-planned preparation

Think about induction and welcoming in advance: at this stage, small things really matter, so draft an on-the-go welcome strategy. Consider sending a welcome note expressing your pleasure of taking the person onboard. It is always advised to share with a new employee the first week’s orientation schedule with all trainings and meet-and-greets.

ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), a Crown non-departmental public body of the UK Government, suggests: “Send the new employee a small pack of information to give them a basic understanding of the business before they start. This can go with the letter offering them the job. The letter should include the main details of their contract for example, place of work, job title, hours and pay so there are no misunderstandings at the outset.

Another meaningful step to take in advance is to get buy-in from the existing team members to create a welcoming, friendly environment for a new hire. Talk to your staff about their partial responsibility for the newbie’s work success, encourage them to help out.

It is worth assigning to your new employee a delegated mentor, tutor or work buddy (whatever title is more suitable for your corporate culture). Pass the buddy’s contacts to the new hire before the first day at work.

Do not forget to set up the person’s work station (for instance, a phone and a laptop with a list of corporate phone extensions and email addresses). Leave on the table a branded agenda, some pens, a company brochure, an organisational chart, a CEO welcome letter, a set of business cards, or even a map of the best lunch spots around the workplace.

One more important aspect concerns the paperwork: ACAS recommends to “make sure the new starter’s documents are all in hand National Insurance number, P45”, as well as a parking permit and a building security badge.

On the first day

So, the new employee has arrived. Break the ice by making a small talk,give a tour of the office, and be sure you express the enthusiasm about the hire. Introduce the person to the team members in-person and to the whole company via email.

Fast Company claims that “immersing a new employee into the organisational culture quickly is the best way to make him feel he is a valuable part of the team. Assign him roles and ask for his input in all the areas they are involved”.

The next step is to run a position-specific training that would cover the employee’s main responsibilities, his/her team structure (with the names, roles, duties, and hierarchy), the digital tools in use, core missions and objectives, personal and team KPIs, the reporting system, etc.

A nice idea is to organise a not-too-formal lunch for the new hire – ask the managers, team members or work buddies to accompany the newbie. This will ensure that an employee will connect rapidly with the others.

One more point is about presenting your prime company policies. Be ready to answer all possible questions of the new employee – starting from the dress code, ending with the holiday requests’ forms.

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