The first day in a new job can be daunting for even the most confident of people. It’s likely they won’t know anyone, where the toilets are or what they should be doing next. As a manager, you play a key role in making that first day painless and even enjoyable for your new member of staff.

Pull factors that encourage people to stay, such as loyalty to the organisation and job satisfaction, take time to develop. In the early days push factors, a less-than-welcoming environment for example, are much more powerful, even in the current economic climate. It’s likely you’ve spent a lot of money recruiting that special person, thousands in some cases, not to mention the time and effort going through the recruitment process and waiting for them to start. Some researchers believe that up to 35% of new staff leave within the first six months.

Why risk losing someone in their first few days or weeks just for the sake of not welcoming them properly?

How do you do that effectively? It’s simple.

Before They Start

Build your new relationship on a solid foundation. How? Make your recruitment process fair and clear to set the right image for you as an employer. Manage their expectations in terms of the job content, the work environment, salary and so on. Look at what information would be better given to them before they start; anything from details around pay arrangements to business plans and important policies. Decide who would be a good buddy or mentor, brief them and get them to make contact with the new employee before the first day, so there is at least one friendly face, apart from yourself of course. Draw up an induction plan that will give them a clear idea of what they will be doing, who they will be meeting and who they will be supported by in the first few days or weeks.

On Their First Day

It can be helpful to meet your new joiner outside and bring them into their new office. That way they can be introduced to their new workmates and don’t have to find your office on their own. Once they’ve met the rest of the team, you can introduce them to the key people from other departments. Give them a guided tour of the place, and include tips that make it a less impersonal place, like when the lunch queue is at its worst or where not to park their car. No one will remember everything from their first day, so it’s a good idea to have a mix of activities, from policies they need to learn to practical tasks in their new job. Don’t sit them behind their new desk all day, but don’t skimp on the paperwork that will get them paid. It’s important to get the balance right.

After Day 1

It can undo all your hard work if you don’t check back with your new joiner at regular intervals. You need to be sure they’re settling in and picking up the job. You need to check they’re making satisfactory progress and make adjustments to their training if not. Asking them for feedback can also be useful, not only for tweaking their development plan but giving you learning points for the next starter. Don’t forget to check in with their mentor who will have valuable information about their performance.
Identifying these three phases, and taking simple action, will help ensure your new worker is more likely to stay and that the money and resources you have committed to them is not wasted. Always a good plan to start with.

Photo courtesy of Cydcor on Flickr