5 Things New Employees Want on Day 1

Starting a new job can feel like the first day of school at a brand new school. From learning where the bathroom is to meeting people, it can feel overwhelming.

In an earlier blog, we discussed what companies could do before the employees’ first day. Today we are going to discuss ideas you can use on their first day of onboarding.  Both are critical to reducing the chance of turnover. Brand-conscious Second-wave Millennials are quick to make decisions on your company, so making a great first impression is key.

“New hires who experience badly planned and executed initiations may conclude that the organization is poorly managed and decide that it was a mistake to take the job,” Arlene Hirsch wrote for SHRM. “As they make their way through the organization, those early experiences get magnified and calcified.”

The good news is that it is not that hard to do. So what do employees really want from their first day and how do you as an employer ensure they go home energized and excited?

Here are five things employers can provide (or provide early) to ensure the first day is amazing:

No paperwork. In the days before a new employee officially starts, send them their benefits and payroll paperwork (or provide them access to the paperwork portal). Giving them time to understand their benefits, ask questions, consult with family members and fill out paperwork before they arrive at work can be helpful in many ways: It gets the “boring” paperwork out of the way, lets them make informed and unrushed decisions, and lets the employee spend more time on the first day learning, engaging and meeting people.

Ready technology. In the days before the new employee starts, make sure all technology is set up and ready to go. For an employee, walking up to an empty desk and waiting around for IT to set up their laptop, phone and passwords is a waste their time on that critical first day. Many experts recommend that you give them access to their email early, and have key managers and team members send welcome messages before the new employee arrives. Computers and phones should be set up in advance, turned on and ready for them before the new employee arrives.

Lunch plans. Remove your new employee’s lunchtime stress about where to go and who to eat with by setting up lunch for them. Make a reservation for lunch at a local spot with key team members who can help the employee understand the organization and their role in it. (In fact, experts recommend you do this for the entire first week with different managers and team members to help the new employee feel comfortable and cared about.)

A Roadmap. Goals, plans, tasks, projects. These are all key things an employer can provide that will make a new employee feel comfortable and settle in quickly. Give new employees a sense of place by giving them information answering these questions: What is their role in the team and the larger organization? What are their goals for the first 90 days? How are tasks and projects assigned and prioritized? What support systems are in place to help them succeed?  What onboarding programs are offered in their first six months to help them understand the company’s culture, systems, traditions and expectations?

A Sherpa. In addition to their team members and managers, new employees will benefit from having a mentor — often this should be a successful employee who has been with the company for a few years and is in a separate-but-related department. This mentor can be a coffee buddy, offer career and professional growth advice, stress relief and more.

Having these resources, plans and technology in place shows a new employee that their company cares about their long-term success and career development inside the company. They may go home exhausted — the first day may be overwhelming no matter what — but they’ll leave with a smile and will be more likely to stick around in the long run.

Warren Wright