how to build a best in class new hire orientation

Make Your New Hire’s Day: 7 Ways to Improve the New HIre Experience

Your new hire is driving home from her very first day. What’s she feeling? What’s she going to tell her kids about mommy’s new job? When she wakes up at 3 am anticipating Day 2, what’s on her mind?

The statistics are astounding. There’s no question that the first day, and the 89 days that follow, have a huge impact on retention, engagement, and productivity. You can’t undo that first impression. Here are seven ways to make your new-hire orientation more memorable and meaningful.

7 Easy and Innovative Ways to Make Your New Hire’s Day

I’m going to assume you’ve got the basics down–who needs to sign what, security and confidentiality, and the shortest way the bathroom. Consider weaving a few of these ideas into your new hire’s first day.

1- Make it a Celebration

It doesn’t take much to create a little ruckus. A few balloons, a cupcake or a little bling can go a long way. Even a big poster board on their cube with a “We’re so glad you’re here” signed by the team sets a tone of celebration. If all that feels too crazy for your culture, how about a sincere card with a few sentences about why you chose them?  The important part is to make it sincere and personal. The first day in a new job is a big deal to them. Show them that they are important to you, too.

2- Connect Through Stories

Tell some stories about what it’s really like to work here. Be strategic in your messaging to reinforce key values–you want to inspire, but even more importantly you want to connect.  Sharing “How I learned this the hard way” stories or “Whatever you do don’t make this crazy mistake” funny stories are a great way to make a human connection.

3-Create a Family Welcome Kit

Take them to lunch and find out a bit more about them and the other important people in their lives. Then before they leave at the end of the day, pull together a gift bag with some branded bling for their significant others, and a nice card from you: Logo lollipops for the kids, a branded coffee mug for their spouse, or even a branded Frisbee to play catch with their friends. Of course, this requires a bit of pre-planning to build your stash, but once you have it, it’s easy to pull together some personalized fun that shows you’re paying attention and care about the people in their lives beyond work.

4- Let Them Do Something Productive

So many companies spend the first day giving new hires a fire hose of information–it can be a lot to retain. Try mixing up the orientation with a bit of real work that lets them add value immediately and get a taste of the role. It will build confidence and help punctuate the learning with some doing.

5- Visualize the MIT (Most Important Thing)

Find fun ways to visualize and reinforce your MIT priorities. If their job is to expand in global markets, give them a dollar store globe squishy ball.  If recruiting and retaining talent is #1, give them a magnet. Visuals are a fun conversation starter about what’s most important and why.

6-Make it Really Easy to Ask Questions

When I would go talk to the new hire classes at Verizon, I learned if I just asked for questions, I got all the politically correct ones. But if I passed out index cards and encouraged people to ask me anything on their minds, that’s when the real conversation started. If you’re just hiring one person at a time, assign them one of the most approachable peers as a buddy and encourage them to ask anything they want. They may be embarrassed to ask you or HR. Do everything you can to shorten their learning curve and reduce anxiety.

7. Help Them Build a Plan

Make it easy for your new hire to make connections and learn the business. Identify a few key people (not just in your department) that can help accelerate their learning curve and make some introductions and set some follow-up appointments for the first few weeks.

You may also want to introduce them to the Let’s Grow Leader’s EOY Planning Letter (FREE TOOL) — and instructions. They won’t know enough the first day to complete it, but it’s a great assignment to tee-up on day one and getting them to visual an amazing year. Have them write this letter to you as if

Of course, a copy of Winning Well also makes a nice welcome gift for a new manager 😉

Your turn. Would love to hear your creative ideas for ensuring your new hire has an amazing first day.

 

7 Ways to Ensure Your New Hire Has a Great First Day

Jack and Jill are both new hires who started their new jobs today. Both of them are nervous. Both of them had other offers. Both are looking for validation that they made the right choice. They both still have lots of logistics questions that they were too embarrassed to ask during the interview process. Both want to make good first impressions.

Jack’s boss enthusiastically greets him at the door. His computer is already set up, and the phone is working. Jack receives a schedule of what’s going to happen that day. He is assigned a peer mentor, who immediately take him on a tour. The next stop is HR where he can ask all of his benefits-related questions. Later in the day, he meets with his boss to align on a few goals for the week.

Jill’s boss keeps her waiting in the lobby. The first words she hears are an apology, “things are just crazy around here.” She is then introduced to the IT guy who “can help get you get set up.” While she waits for the IT guy to come back, she begins introducing herself to those around her. She’s wants to jump in and make a good impression, but is not quite sure where to start. She’s not even sure how to find the restroom.

The First Day Matters

Perhaps you’ve been Jack or Jill. Or, perhaps you’ve been one of those bosses. We never want our new hires to feel like Jill. And yet sometimes they do.

How the new hire experiences the first day can leave a strong impression. They may wonder,”Am I a priority?”

7 New Hire “Must Haves”

It may seem basic, but over the years I’ve found it useful to create checklists to ensure everyone receives a good new hire experience. Of course, what goes on the list will vary, but here’s a good place to start.

  1. A Functional Workspace
    It’s important to ensure everything is set up BEFORE your new hire gets there. Connected equipment, phones, temporary passwords, user guides, pens, paper consider anything that your new hire may need to get started well. Having tools that work will go a long way in reducing stress.
  2. A Tour
    It’s important for your new hire to be able to navigate. How do they find their way around? Where do the key players sit? Where are the restrooms and the coffee?
  3. Overview of the Bigger Picture
    It’s important that your new employee feels connected early to the greater vision and goals. Perhaps it’s a welcome letter, or meeting with a senior leader. This can be done in a variety of ways, and the first day is only the beginning.
  4. A Benefits Meeting
    Your new hire will likely have open questions about paychecks, benefits, vacation, code of conduct, and other norms. Many companies have formal programs to go through all of this. Some do not. Either way ensures there is an opportunity for your new hire to ask questions in a safe environment.
  5. A Peer Mentor
    Pick someone “nice” who is “into it.” I have seen this backfire. With that said, this is a great developmental assignment
  6. Someone to Have Lunch With
    It could be the peer mentor, you, or someone else. Even if lunches aren’t part of your culture, today is special. Make sure it feels that way.
  7. A Few Early Goals
    This works at every level of the business. Be clear about expectations for the first week. What do you want your new hire to accomplish?
  8. What would you add???