By: Emma Hickey
Have you ever had a really great first day of work? If you have, that’s likely because someone at your new job—whether it was a manager, a member of your People Team, or a peer—took great care to make sure your first day went well. New jobs are intimidating, but with a little effort and planning, you can be that person who makes sure new hires are off to a good start with great first days. Here are 10 tips you can follow to ensure you’re creating a good first impression of your company and setting up new team members for success:
1. Email them a week before their first day
As your new hire gears up to begin their first day of work, they’ll probably have a lot on their mind. There are a lot of unknowns to worry about when it comes to a new job! Don’t leave your new hire hanging and wondering if or when they’ll hear from you before their first day. All too often, companies let the signed offer letter be the final communication they have with new hires before their start dates. Give them peace of mind by sending them a Welcome Email a week before their first day of work. Use this email to reiterate their start date, the office address, and the time you’d like them to arrive. You can also use this email to remind them to bring a copy of their passport and social security number for HR purposes, and to ask them for a brief write-up of their background so you can share it with your team. You might also want to tell them not to worry about lunch on their first day (why? I’ll get to that!). This will eliminate some of the questions your new hires probably have about their first day of work and help them feel more prepared.
2. Deck out their desk in swag
When you set up your new hire’s desk, don’t stop with just a computer—make sure you leave them some fun things, too. If you have any branded swag, leave that out on their desk to greet them on their first day. If you don’t have any branded swag, consider ordering notebooks and pens, or t-shirts, water bottles or stickers for this very purpose. Everyone likes free stuff, and it’s even better when it’s branded with their new company’s logo! It’ll make your new hires feel like a part of the team. It’s also a nice touch to leave a few candies or a handwritten note on their desk. Those extra steps can go far in making someone feel welcomed.
3. Send out a company-wide introduction email
Your broader team won’t know a new person is joining the company unless you tell them! Give everyone a heads up so that they’ll be encouraged to be as welcoming as possible. Send out an introduction email to your whole team the morning of your new hire’s first day. If your office is on the bigger side, include where the new employee will sit. Let everyone know what team they’ll be joining and include a bit about their background, which they hopefully wrote up for you after receiving your Welcome Email. That way, your team will have instant ice breakers to bring up with the new hire when they meet. It’s also a nice opportunity for people from the team to respond to the email and welcome the new hire in that way, too. The more you advertise that it’s someone’s first day, the more empowered your team will be to go out of their way to introduce themselves to the new hires and welcome them into the fold.
4. Give them a tour of the office
Make sure to save time for an office tour on your new hire’s first day, preferable as soon as they arrive in the morning. Even if they got to tour the space during the interview process, they’ll likely view the whole office with fresh eyes now that they actually work there. Make sure to show your new teammates where the bathrooms are, where the rest of the team sits to eat lunch and where they can find the coffee. Give them the lay of the land right away so that they can navigate the office themselves as soon as possible. This will help ease their transition on day 1!
5. Introduce them to the team
While you’re walking around giving that office tour, make sure to introduce your new hire to the people you come across, too. Even though at this point you’ve already sent a Welcome Email, nothing beats an in-person introduction and a handshake. Your new hire will definitely feel welcomed if you introduce them to their new co-workers as you walk past them, rather than ignoring them as they go by.
6. Provide a team directory or organization chart
Make sure new hires have access to a team directory or an org chart, especially on their first day. It’s extra helpful if the directory or chart has pictures! These documents will serve as resources your new hires can reference as they get to know everyone in the company and as they learn how the teams in your office work together. A directory or an org chart will help them get the lay of the land from an organizational standpoint.
7. Schedule onboarding sessions with different departments
In addition to standard HR onboarding, you should plan onboarding sessions with different people and departments at your company. It’s important for new hires to meet people from each team and hear those people describe what they do during the day. It’ll be helpful for new hires to understand how their work will fit in with everyone else’s, and give them a holistic view of the company. Whether you schedule several onboarding sessions over the course of a few weeks or you lump them all together in a day-long marathon is up to you!
8. Schedule lunch
Take away the stress of not knowing where to eat lunch and not having anyone to eat lunch with my planning lunch for your new hire’s first day. There are a few ways you could do this. You could gather five or so employees from different teams to treat your new hire for lunch, or you could order in take out for the group and have them eat it in the kitchen. You could ask the team that your new hire is joining to take them out for lunch, or you could assign them a lunch buddy for their first day. Organize lunch in whatever way works best for your team, as long as everything is planned so that your new hire has food to eat and people to eat with.
9. Give them an onboarding checklist
Provide your new hires with an onboarding checklist they can reference. This will serve as both a resource and a guide during their first week of work. Include housekeeping information like the wifi password, the building’s alarm code and the company’s vacation policy. You can also include low-lift tasks, like setting up your email signature and connecting with coworkers on LinkedIn. Not only will it be helpful for new hires to have all this information in one place, it will also give them something to do during downtime.
10. Check in at the end of the day
See how your new hire is doing at the end of their first day (and even at the end of their first week)! Make sure you ask if they have any lingering questions, if they need anything, and if they’ve run into any roadblocks. It’s also a great opportunity to get feedback on how their first day has been. Maybe they already have some ideas of improvements you could make, or maybe the day is perfectly scheduled as is! Either way, asking will make your new hire feel looked after. Even though they don’t know many people yet, someone at the company cares how their day was, and that someone is you.