How to Make a Great First Impression with New Hires

February 2, 2017 Andrew Larsen

As crazy as it may seem, it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression. For a new employee, the first day experience is their chance to make this impression. A tight onboarding process will ensure your first-day employee makes a great first impression and set him or her up for future success with your company. 

With today’s higher turnover rates and talent shortages, recruiters are like hawks circling overhead waiting to grab some of your top-preforming employees the moment they seem to disconnect from your company. You can mitigate the possibility of an employee being unsatisfied at work and make your own first impression by letting employees know they are part of the team and valued from day one.

See Through an Employee’s Eyes
When an employee walks into the office, a whirlwind of observations enters their mind. How are people in the office dressed? Who greeted them via an email or face-to-face? How interactive is everyone in the workplace? All of these observations are recorded consciously or subconsciously. 

Fortunately, businesses have an advantage with a new employee. Unlike teenagers being forced to go on family outings, the majority of employees are generally excited about their first day.

However, excitement for a new experience can also bring anxiety. Employees are often just as concerned with making a good first impression as the company. Because of this, new employees are eager to prove themselves and develop connections with managers and coworkers.

Company Vision, Personal Vision
Employees who go through new hire orientation are given descriptions about company goals, processes, and culture. While it is important for an employee to grasp the company’s vision, employees are also concerned with their own personal visions. Like a company, individuals are seeking success and if the job shows signs of future roadblocks, they may become disenchanted from day one.

Harvard Business Review lists some reasons an employee stays with a company. They are, “achievement, recognition, responsibility, growth, and other matters associated with the motivation of the individual in his job.” When it comes to new hire orientation, businesses should take the time to get to know their employees and consider intertwining an employee’s personal vision with the company’s. Show the employee how their individual role will contribute both to the company and their personal growth.

Smooth Transition
Employers need to make a great first impression, too. On an employee’s first day, if his or her desk is loaded with paperwork to sign, access to information is restricted, and calendars and due dates are out of sync, then the employee may become discouraged or overwhelmed. Not because they feel like the company is failing them, but rather because they assume they are failing the company. They may not want to place additional burdens on co-workers by asking question even though they feel like they are already one-step behind.

Have everything ready for the first day. Documents that can be completed before the first day should be taken care of, and a streamlined onboarding process can ease pressures on the first day. Also, assigning a mentor can both simultaneously provide a workplace connection as well as remove an employee’s anxiety about burdening a coworker with questions.

Developing Workplace Connections
New employees are usually looking to fit in with their coworkers, but with so much happening, reaching out to others can be a challenge. If someone within the organization were to extend an invite to lunch, it would probably come as a relief to the new employee.

Coordinate for a senior level person in the company to stop by and offer a welcome. This will let employees know that someone at the top of the organization thinks their hire is notable enough to merit an introduction and is excited to welcome them to the company.

Sometimes HR is so busy with ensuring compliance, policy management, and administrative processes in general that they don’t have time to evaluate something as crucial as an employee’s first-day experience with a company. Finding an HR solution that can remove those burdens will free HR to focus on developing company growth in ways such as improving processes like new hire orientation, thus potentially increasing companywide retention rates.


About the Author

Andrew Larsen

Andrew is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Zuman, the one solution for HR, payroll, and benefits administration that supports growing small to midsize businesses.

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