No real-life first day on the job may ever be as absurd as Jordan Belfort’s lunch meeting with his new boss, the coked-out stock broker Mark Hanna in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The scene begins with Hanna’s character, played by Matthew McConaughey, queuing up a series of stiff martinis before theatrically advising Belfort (a bright-eyed Leonardo DiCaprio) on the crooked appeal of making big money as a broker.
Even if we weren’t invited to drum our chests or take illicit drugs on day one, we’ve all had at least one uncomfortable first day at a new job. And since the average worker will change careers several times over the course of their life, employers have a real opportunity to make their employee onboarding experience stand out.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that our youngest baby boomers — that is, individuals born between 1957 and 1964 — held an average of 11.7 jobs by age 48. And when you take into account the employees who entered the workforce since the Financial Crisis of the late 2000s, you’ll find even more so-called “job-hopping.”
According to a study published by LinkedIn, recent college grads are more likely to change jobs four times in the first 10 years after graduation. In fact, they reported that people who graduated between 2006 and 2010 worked an average of 2.85 different jobs in their first five years out of school.
That adds up to a lot of first days.
And the fact is, the first day at a new job is incredibly stressful. With the pressure of learning their position and their co-workers’ names, getting accustomed to office lingo, and adhering to proper etiquette, most warm-blooded humans need a little extra TLC to feel welcome.
As an employer, simply follow the golden rule. How would you like to be treated on your first day? What would make you feel welcomed, informed, and excited to begin work? You may find that the everyday tasks you take for granted are a bit more nebulous for a brand-new employee. Maybe your new hire would like a few extra hours to absorb the information they receive in training, or they need an opportunity to feel more connected to their team right off the bat. Whatever the case, the onboarding process is incredibly important for business owners. Turnover is expensive, and getting off on the right foot with your new hires will make their employment longevity much more likely.
So where do you start? We’ve provided a simple checklist for you to go through with each new hire you onboard. Follow it to the T to guarantee your employee has the best first-day experience possible.
Week One Checklist for New Hires
Docs in a row
Send new employees their contract and HR paperwork before their first day (and get their TSheets account set up so they can start tracking time and get paid for every minute they work!). Send them an invitation to activate their email and other online accounts prior to their scheduled start date. This way, they can focus on getting settled in and meeting people when they arrive. Send these out in your welcome email after the official offer has been accepted, and be available to answer questions before their start date.
Home base built
When a new employee walks through the door on their first day of work, they need to have somewhere to hang their hat. Make sure your new employee has a workstation to call home base and that they receive a tour of the facility (even if it’s a refresher tour). Communicate with your team to ensure everyone is prepared to answer questions.
In our case, every new-hire workstation comes with a welcome bag and a can of PBR, tagged with our company’s core values. The little things, like a prepared workstation and welcome gift, are what impress new hires. They really appreciate the effort!
Need proof? Check out this post from TSheets Product Owner Jennifer Benz, in which she shows off her beautiful new work station. Not only did TSheets gain major traction on LinkedIn, but we also caught the attention of new talent presumably looking for a similar onboarding set-up.
Go-to ain’t gone
Each new employee should have a go-to person for their first day on the job. Whether that person is a manager or a peer doing the same job, make sure that person is available throughout the day to answer questions and show the new hire the ropes.
A sticky schedule
If possible, give your new employees a schedule of their first week or training, and make sure it’s easy to follow. This way, everyone knows what to expect, and can more easily adapt to the new routine, even if it’s temporary.
The formal welcome
Avoid the “who’s the new guy” talk by formally introducing your new hires as soon as possible. You can do this with an email bio, an in-person meet-and-greet at the first department or company meeting, or by gathering everyone informally to introduce themselves and get to know any new faces.
We use the chat application Slack to notify the company of our new hires, with a photo and introduction written up by the new employee. Putting a face to a name really helps, especially when you’re a rapidly growing company like ours!
All swagged out
Give new hires a healthy dose of your brand’s gear to make them feel like part of the team. From pens and mugs to shirts and socks, we love our swag here at TSheets and we wear it with pride. Here’s another example of a sweet new-hire swag haul:
Say it in a survey
What’s the point of all this if you don’t learn anything from your efforts? At the end of the first week, after the dust has settled a bit and your new employee is in their groove, send them a survey to find out how they felt about the onboarding experience. Ask specific questions about how they spent their time, if they found the training and onboarding process welcoming, and what they’d change to make the process better for future new hires. Use this information to continually improve your onboarding process and ensure all new employees have an excellent experience from day one.
Is the perfect first day even possible?
Sure, a perfect first day is a tall order for anyone (and we’re not just talking martinis), but when you give team member a warm welcome, you set them up for success, longevity, and loyalty to your company. Businesses today have a unique opportunity to stand out among the competition in an environment where employees are switching careers more than ever before.
Here’s a challenge
Think about your company’s new-hire onboarding experience and tell us about how you make newbies feel at home. Employees, share the best first-day experience you’ve ever had. How did your company go above and beyond to welcome you? Let us know in the comments below!