The hiring process can be an arduous one. Sift through scores of résumés, conduct interviews—and second interviews—make an offer, iron out the details. Whew! That was tough! But now you’re ready to celebrate because your work is done. You can rest assured you’ve made the right decision and everything is going to be great! Right?
Maybe you hired an extraordinary person who magically understands exactly what you want and will always do it exactly the way you want it done.
Your work is far from over on Mr. New Hire’s first day—it’s just beginning. If you want Mr. New Hire to become “My Favorite Employee Ever,” you need to start with a proper orientation. Satisfaction is largely due to experiences matching expectations, so day one needs to be all about setting the proper expectations. Here are some things you need to establish right away.
Are you straight-laced and formal or laid back and casual? This will influence all of your company policies. Let him know right away what your guiding principles are. Show him your mission statement. Tell him your vision. Let him know what your core values are and how they affect everything you do. This lays the groundwork for every company decision, how you treat your customers and what your employees can expect.
No one works in a vacuum. Most of the time, each person’s task touches every other person’s task in some way. Make sure Mr. New Hire meets all the people on the team. Teach how they all interact with each other.
If there’s a pecking order, make it clear. Explain the chain of command and how it affects this new position. Most of all, make him feel welcome to the team. Make sure your existing employees know Mr. New Hire is coming and what his role will be.
Nothing threatens your existing employees more than a new guy showing up with no forewarning or explanation. Don’t make Mr. New Hire the object of derision because the old team feels uncomfortable. Explain to everyone what he is going to do and how it affects the entire unit.
If you don’t have an employee handbook, you need one. Right now.
How can any employee be expected to follow procedures that have never been presented to him? A proper handbook lists all of your expectations covering a wide range of topics from vacation days to dress code.
If you don’t have an human resources department, a good HR consultant can help you come up with a handbook that covers all the legal statements you need to make along with those things that are special to your company. Give this document to Mr. New Hire during the paperwork process.
Where is the bathroom and when can he go? Any time he likes? At designated break times? Can he put his lunch in the refrigerator? Should it be labeled? How about coffee? Is it free, or does he have to throw a buck into the kitty?
It’s the little things that can make day one much more comfortable. Take a moment to show Mr. New Hire around and point out the water cooler, the lunchroom, etc. Some companies have a designated greeter who takes care of these first-day questions. Make your new hire feel welcome, not like an unexpected guest! Don’t forget to cover these items on your new hire’s first day.
Even if he has been doing exactly the same work at a previous job, Mr. New Hire’s former company did things differently to some degree. What training will he need? Who will do the training? Some companies even devote the first few days or weeks to teaching new hires the company way.
Trial by fire might be an effective way to learn, but at least show him how to get to the fire hose before the building burns down!
You’ve spent a great deal of time and energy on finding the right person, make sure Mr. New Hire can get to work right away.
If Mr. New Hire works in the office, have his desk, chair, computer, and phone ready to go. Is an email address ready? What’s the WiFi password? Where do you keep the paper, and who do you tell when it runs out?
If he works in the field, make sure he knows what tools and equipment he needs to take with him, where to get them and what the check in or out process is. Does he come into the office or go to a job site first thing each day? Does he know how to track his time?
Preparing him with the tools he needs will make him feel welcome and give you more productivity right away.
You hired this new guy because you need him, right? You’re glad he’s here. The team is glad he’s here because it’s going to help them do a better job as well. Celebrate that. You don’t have to decorate with balloons and streamers, but a dozen donuts couldn’t hurt.
Take him to lunch, or ask a couple of team members to invite him out. The sooner you build that new bond on the team, the sooner the work gets easier.
You did all the right things during the hiring process. Make sure your selection becomes a permanent fixture from day one with a warm and friendly orientation.