We have all heard the saying, “You only get one first impression”. Most people think about this in the context of meeting someone for the first time. What about relating it to other events that are the “firsts” in your life? How about your first home-buying experience, the first car someone sold you, or even better, the first day of work when you start a new job?

As you reflect on all the of the first days of work you have had over the years, what are the things that you remember?
Did they welcome you with a smile?
Was your desk set up?
Did they have your paperwork ready to go?
Did you know what to wear?
Was it clear where you were supposed to park?

These questions may seem simple when you say them out loud, but we have all been there. Why is it that when you make a commitment to a company to work for them, they fall short on creating clarity and an exciting emotional experience for their new employees? We want to help you prevent this from being an experience you convey to your new employees.

There are more opportunities for hire than there are available employees in today’s job market. The idea that someone is replaceable has gone out the window. So how do we get better and understand the data? Here is a well written and free resource from ExecuSearch on the hiring forecast for 2019: Hiring Forecast for 2019. One of the facts that stood out the most to us was that 66% of professional employees don’t plan to stay at their current company long term. Can you say “WOW”?

While there are many contributing factors to team members longevity and commitment to their employer, we want to focus on how on-boarding is a key piece of long term retention. What plan do you have in place and how will your team execute to create an environment conducive to retaining that employee when they walk into work for the first time?

It Starts Before They Start

What is the pre-hire checklist that your team has internally created to make sure that everything is done on day one for a new team member? Do you have the business cards on order? Will they need a new computer, mouse, tablet, additional technology? What if they need the Wi-Fi password?

Here are some general items to start thinking about for your pre-hire checklist:

  • Prepare new team member employment forms. Send out a benefits package and communicate start dates for benefits.  Identify date for first paycheck, wage information and method of delivery.
  • Identify and communicate to the new team member who their manager/direct supervisor will be and what project team or department they will be working with prior to the first day.
  • Connect with the new team member before their first day to communicate details like dress code, start date, time and location, and to address any questions they may have. Clarify any required tools, equipment, documents, etc. that the new hire is required to have or bring the first day.
  • Verify clothing sizes for any clothing that may be provided or required.
  • Send a communication to all employees identifying new team member and start date. Appoint who will introduce the new team member around the office and give them a tour of the facilities.
  • Set up and clean their workstation or office. Set up computer, phones and other electronic equipment for issue. Install and/or update software. Provide username and password information for email and other software they will need for their position.
  • Select the start date and time for the new team member based on who will be available to greet and meet with them. Include their direct supervisor for this.
  • Decide who will discuss company culture with the new employee. Topics may include dress code, company socials, how to prepare for staff meetings, where to find supplies, what time people usually arrive/eat lunch/leave, etc.
  • Determine who will share information on company history. Discussions may include any unique, challenging, or iconic/famous projects or clients your company partnered with.
  • Update internal and external contact lists with the new employee’s contact information.
  • Complete a workflow plan for them that covers what they can expect for the first week, month, quarter, etc.

Creating the Connection

Now that all the heavy lifting of preparing for the new team member to start is complete, it’s time to implement. The team will have a clear and concise direction on the who, where, when, what, and why of the new team member. When a business has team members informed and excited about someone new starting, it adds an extra layer of buzz in the office. People can sense that when they walk through the door.

A business now has more time to focus on who they hired rather than running around making sure that they are equipped for what they are going to do. The tasks that have been completed up until this point, are just that, tasks. They will add to the emotional experience of the new team member on their first day, but ultimately it makes them feel like there basic needs as a new team member were taken care of and you went above and beyond as a business.

Hiring people is challenging, but retaining them is even more challenging. Make sure that their first day with your business, is the last first day they have at a new company.