You don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Making your new starter feel welcome…
After spending the first twenty years of my working life at four companies, I have now changed roles four times within the last two years. That means I have worked for eight companies in the last twenty-two years, all of which had varied induction processes.
At one company I started with, they provided me a week of classroom-based training, another company I went to work for, the Director greeted me by saying “I didn’t know you were starting today!”. This has got me thinking, what induction processes actually work best for both the new starter and the employer…
Does keeping the new starter confined to a classroom for a week away from their new team equip them for success, or does being thrown in at the deep work better?
Whichever method your company chooses, preparation is vital and having a good induction process is expected and important from an HR perspective. For the individual, a new position for their existing employer can be just as nerve-racking as a new position at a new company.
Making your new starter feel welcome, particularly by members of Senior Management is an absolute must. I recall a first day I had once where I was ridiculed by a Senior Manager that I arrived too early. Needless to say, I didn’t stay at that business for long. A really positive experience I recall was the first day for a technology company where the receptionist gave me a warm welcome, offered me a drink, knew exactly who I was and made me feel important. This was achieved by the receptionist being given my LinkedIn profile photo to recognise me and a good starter, leaver and transfer process run by the HR Department internally. The initial greeting is incredibly important and let‘s be honest, very easy to organise.
Some parts of an induction must be conducted to comply with health and safety and aren’t open to negotiation, the rest including training is down to the employer. Whilst these might seem dry and out of context to many people when they start, if this part of an induction is positioned correctly, new staff will understand the reasons behind it. They will also welcome the professionalism of a business investing the time to take people through such valuable aspects of working in a company which is new to them.
Once you have given the warm welcome, and then the health and safety briefing, providing your new starter with the correct tools to do their job is next on the list. Whilst it’s not always possible to provide a brand-new laptop, or brand new mobile phone to your new employee, it’s important that they are provided clean, pre-configured and with the appropriate chargers and peripherals.
Three of the four companies that I have been with over the last two years use the same line of business application but in completely different ways. Never assume that because someone has used a system in a previous role that they know how you use it and are familiar with your processes. Take the time to show them how you use your applications and the underlying processes. Whilst this seems pretty obvious, surprisingly not everyone does this. Make sure that usernames and passwords are ready and waiting. Again this seems obvious, but in my experience this is often overlooked and IT Departments need advance notice. Having that ‘welcome on board’ e-mail, sent from a Senior Manager, waiting in your inbox is also an excellent way of feeling important and valued as the new employee.
I’ve seen plenty of posts from my connections on LinkedIn over the years who had started new jobs and been showered with gifts on the first day; champagne, chocolates and other goodies including branded laptop bags and iPads. Whilst I appreciate not every employer has budgeted for these gifts, there is always a small gesture that could be made which would make the new starter feel important and valued. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and this new hire could become your best salesperson or your biggest fee earner.
In summary, get yourself prepared for that new starter – the one you’ve been desperate to get on board, the one you pinned your reputation on when you selected them, and make them feel welcome and part of the team – not just from day one but from the second they walk into your offices.
All the best,
Business Development Manager at Aura Technology