“You never get a second chance to make a (good) first impression” is common advice doled out to job interviewees or new company hires. Companies should also consider this when they contemplate how to help make their new employees feel comfortable while getting up to speed as quickly and painlessly as possible. A positive onboarding experience should begin on day one, promoting an easier adaptation to the company’s culture, increasing employee retention and boosting overall morale.
Here are four simple actions employers can take:
- Complete onboarding forms in advance.
Hopefully, you utilize technology so you can avoid dumping an immediate avalanche of enrollment forms onto the new hire. Online onboarding will enable the new employee to complete most of the preliminary paperwork before the start date. Getting this out of the way will help make that first day more productive and enjoyable.
- Equip the workstation or office.
Make sure the new employee already has all of the necessary equipment and supplies in place — do not make them wait endlessly for a crucial piece of furniture/equipment/hardware to get them up and running. Having someone yell out, “Did we ever order a desk and computer for the new marketing guy?” doesn’t exactly make the new guy or gal feel welcome or respected.
- Assign a mentor or peer coach.
Fans of the Seinfeld sitcom may recall an episode where George Costanza arrives on his first day at work only to sit alone and bored in a sparse, gloomy office. Suddenly, a man bursts through the door with a file in his hand and tells George to “work on the Penske file.” George awkwardly responds that he will, but it was obvious to the audience that he had no idea how or where to begin.
George could have benefited from having been assigned a mentor or peer coach to provide insight about office protocol, organizational structure, etc. Many employees prematurely leave a new job because of insufficient orientation and a manager’s unreasonable expectations. Mentoring goes a long way toward preventing the new employee from feeling lost or neglected by management.
- Make it easy to meet other colleagues.
Organize introductions to fellow employees at prearranged meetings, or schedule small lunch groups throughout the week. The new employee may have a hard time getting acquainted if everyone just eats their dry, tuna sandwiches hunched over their computers. Informal lunch gatherings provide a casual and relaxed way to meet other team members.
What else do you do to make a good first impression on your new employees?