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Making a good first impression with a new employee

14.01.2015

If you’ve pored over piles of CVs, shortlisted the most suitable candidates, overseen a well-executed interview and offered a job to the best of the bunch, you might think that the recruitment process is over. In a sense you’re right, but there’s still the matter of the new recruit’s orientation into the company.

Done right, this will make the employee feel like a part of your organisation from day one, setting the right tone for them to engage with their role and feel like a valued part in the overall success of the business. But if things get off to a bad start, your new team member will be wondering why they ever applied for the job at your firm in the first place.

The former is a far more attractive outcome for obvious reasons, so if you need some advice on welcoming a new employee the right way, read these tips on how to provide an enjoyable and productive first day for the newest worker in your company.

Restate the job role in detail

It’s easy to assume that a candidate who has already been through your job advert and asked relevant questions during their interview will know what is expected of them from day one. But up to this point, you have probably only discussed the plans for what they will be doing in broad and hypothetical terms. Even if you haven’t, a reminder is only fair on their inevitably daunting first day.

The new employee needs a detailed briefing about their day to day work, from the key points of contact they will need to your expectations of their short term and long term achievements. Take the time to sit down with them privately and have a focused, structured discussion, anticipating any problems they may have and offering solutions. Make it clear that they will have all the support they need – as a newbie, problems will inevitably arise, and it’s your responsibility to reassure them that someone will be on hand to help when they do.

Don’t overload

The discussion above should not be an excuse for you to pile all of the work that needs to be done on your new and probably-quite-nervous employee straight away. They might be quite capable of doing it, but you should ease the person in with a few less daunting tasks before throwing them all the heavy responsibilities your older employees have been tackling for years.

Building them up gradually is better for morale as the recruit becomes settled in their new workplace and gets to know the colleagues who will define their working life. It also means that any performance-affecting niggles can be dealt with during less important tasks, instead of at last minute on the deadline of a huge project. Besides, you’re still getting to know this person – they are expecting to prove themselves on smaller challenges before taking on the big ones, and this is a good chance for you to see how they work in a minimum-risk situation.

Celebrate the new arrival

A boring and overwhelming first day is enough to fill some people with regret and feelings of entrapment immediately, meaning they’ll be searching for a way out as soon as the clock hits home time. Don’t let this be the case at your organisation. Employee retention is far more successful if the new team member leaves the office feeling welcomed and appreciated by a happy and supportive team.

One way to achieve this is to organise a social event that will allow the new employee to mingle with other staff and be themselves in an out-of-work environment. Doing so will show them that you’re glad to have them on board and want them to feel like an integral part of your company. Personal gestures such as a welcome letter from the company CEO or a card signed by each member of the office are other ways to help convey that they have entered into a caring and friendly new working environment.

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