Being the new kid on the block sucks. Everything is new – the building is new, the people are new, the culture is new. A new hire’s first day can be intimidating and overwhelming. Your job, dear supervisor, is to reduce all that confusion and anxiety as much as possible and set your new hire up for success. Aside from generally being warm and welcoming, there are six things that should be done on every new hire’s first day.
1. Explain what will happen that day
Start the day off right by quickly running through the day’s schedule. It’ll ease the uncertainty and let a new hire know what will be expected of them (which should be very little on day one).
2. Sign all the paperwork
Get all the housekeeping out of the way. Payroll forms, benefit forms and definitely the Employment Agreement should all be signed and completed on (if not before) the employee’s first day.
You don’t have to run them through all the nitty-gritty details but at least arm them with an Employee Handbook and any other applicable info e.g. benefits guide.
3. Point out the where, who and what
Every employee should be taken on a tour of the business. When showing them around, make sure to explain:
Where they are
Who each person is (introductions time!), and
What relation that person’s role has to theirs
Remember to point out basic building facilities such as the nearest washrooms, lunch room, parking, vending machines and emergency exits.
It’s also a good idea to give employees an organizational chart, or for large companies, a departmental chart as well.
4. Provide access and login details
There’s nothing worse for a new hire than sitting at your assigned desk with your lovely new computer and not having any logins, passwords or email set up. Make sure all access details have been set up the week before so that they aren’t left twiddling their thumbs.
5. Take them to lunch
It’s a professional courtesy that a supervisor should take a new hire out for lunch on their first day. Avoid talking business the whole time and instead use it as an opportunity to build personal rapport. If you are taking them outside the office, also orient them with some of the local spots if they’re unfamiliar with the area e.g. local coffee shop, good places to eat, post office etc.
It can also be a good idea to invite along some co-workers they’ll be dealing closely with. Or if you have lunch in a lunch room, introduce them around and sit with other colleagues. After all, people really want to work with people they like.
6. Check in
At the end of the day, check in to see how the first day went. Give them the opportunity to ask any questions as well as prep them for what the rest of their week will be like.
It may seem trivial but it’s worth casually mentioning the norms for leaving work i.e. “our standard hours are 8.30am to 5.00pm so it is expected that you are available during those hours” or “everyone tends to leave at different times, so feel free to leave when you’ve done all that you need to”.
Starting a new job can be tough and creating a smooth transition for an employee to feel effective is so important. A successful new hire orientation and onboarding process is proven to greatly increase the retention rate of new hires, by as much as 58%.