Angie Williams

First Day Done Right

firstdayImagine walking into a new job and nothing is ready for you – you have no desk, computer, and your supervisor is nowhere to be found. All the enthusiasm you brought with you instantly fades and now self-doubt fills its place. Was taking this job the right call?

It’s never an organization’s intention to let down a new hire on their first day, but it happens more often than you’d think. In order keep this from happening, you need to put time into and have a plan for an employee’s first day.

Just as you put time into hiring – sourcing, interviewing, reference checking, and negotiating – you need to put the same, if not more, effort into welcoming them. The new hire is nervous, you’re nervous. This first day is so very crucial to setting the tone for their tenure at your organization. It’s your job as a supervisor of a new employee to use these steps to ensure a smooth transition.

Space
Where is your new person going to sit? They may not sit down most of the first day, but having their designated space helps your new hire feel more “at home.” On top of it being “their” space, it should be clean, organized and well-stocked with supplies. Communicate with them about the rules of personalizing their space and expectations of housekeeping and tidiness.

Equipment
What equipment does your new hire need to do their job? Sometimes it can take some time to get the correct supplies. Do your best to order the equipment ahead of time so the employee can hit the ground running. Is their computer running properly and ready to logged in? If you’re re-using a computer, make sure it works and has all the programs necessary.

Responsibilities
Sure, the person saw their job description and you talked about their role in interviews, but now they’re actually here. Work with them to establish what you want them to do in the next week, 30-, 60-, and 90-days. Allow for them to provide their input. You brought this person in for a reason, collaborate to make their role a significant and prosperous one for the organization.

Lunch
For a new hire lunch can bring back memories of school when they didn’t know where to sit and what they should be doing. Talk to the employee about what typically happens during lunch, but try to put together a small (2-3 people) lunch group to take the new employee out to lunch. This will help everyone get to know the new employee better, something that can be incredibly important.

Swag
Have you given out shirts or other swag recently or are you ordering items around the time of the new hire’s start? Give something to the new hire. It’s a simple gesture to make them feel welcome and a part of the team.

Time
The most important thing you can do to ensure a successful first day is give your new hire your time. In addition to giving them a tour of your organization and helping them meet their new coworkers – make sure you have the time in your schedule to sit down and meet with them. Give them the opportunity to shadow you if that makes sense. If you know you have an important meeting or project due, perhaps it might make sense to schedule their start on a different day.

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