May 25, 2023

Being the new kid: why the first week is make-or-break

Day one. Blank slate. We’ve all been there—starting somewhere new and being totally confused about it. Feeling like the new kid. For your new hire, this first week may be the most important week of their career.

You've hired someone new. They're ready to make a difference at your company and you're excited to have them on board. But what happens when they walk through the door on their first day?

A lot of companies don't take the time to make sure their new hires are successful in their first days because they're focused on "getting things done." But if you want people to stick around and be successful long-term, then it's critical that you do everything possible to help them feel welcome, supported, and comfortable.

As a leader, you get the opportunity to create an unforgettable and impactful onboarding experience. The goal of onboarding is to get new hires up to speed and integrated into the organization as quickly as possible. But if it's not done well, it can be one of the biggest opportunities for employee attrition.

The good news is that it doesn't take much! Here are some tips for making sure your new hires feel welcome from day one:

Give them an orientation.

You'll want to give your new hire an orientation that covers everything from benefits to work hours and dress code. But don't forget about some of the other things that might be important—what’s the culture like? What are the unwritten rules? Who do you go to when you inevitably forget your password?

Go a step further and put all of this in one place. Building a people wiki makes this information searchable and accessible to anyone, whenever they need it. Because let’s face it, you’ve definitely blanked on someone’s name who you’ve known way too long to ask.

Introductions with everyone they'll need to know

Introduce them to the team. It's important for people to feel like they have someone they can go to if they have any questions or problems during their first week. You don't want them wandering around aimlessly, unsure of where they can find answers. Make sure that you introduce them to everyone on your team, including other managers and department heads, so that they feel welcomed and included by everyone in the company.

To make this easier, you can use a tool like Helm to set up impactful 1-on-1 meet-and-greets between new hires and other employees. Whether it’s a new hire onboarding buddy, a coffee chat, or a work review, these small interactions build a foundation of trust and a network of connections that pay dividends.

Show them around:

Give them an overview of what's happening around the company—especially if it’s a digital work environment. Your new hire may not know about all of the different projects going on in each department.

They also may not have been introduced to some important folks or granted access to important documents or systems. It's important for this information to be available to them before they start work so they don't waste time figuring things out on their own and feeling lost.

A walkthrough of how things are done at your company

When someone joins your team, take them through exactly what their responsibilities will be and how they fit into the overall process of completing projects or tasks for clients or customers. Also explain how they fit into any existing team dynamic (if there is one).

The clearer, the better, and so much of this comes down to documentation. Outline your processes, the people in charge of those processes, and the intentions behind them.

Give them direction through an action plan.

When people start a new job, one of the most important things is knowing what they're supposed to be doing each day. You want them to feel productive and like they're contributing value right away—not just sitting around waiting for things to happen! A good way of doing this is creating an action plan with key deliverables and deadlines along with some guidance from you and/or other team members about how best to achieve those goals. This will help set clear expectations for both parties.

Show them where they fit in.

You should also let your new hires know what their role is within the company and how it fits into the big picture. For example, if they're joining an existing team, tell them who works in which group and what their responsibilities are. If they're starting a new project or initiative, give them a sense of how it fits into the overall vision for your company—and why you hired them specifically for this project or initiative.

Create opportunities for authentic connection.

One of the best ways to make new hires feel welcome is by getting them plugged into relevant Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or informal communities within your company. For example, if someone was hired into a marketing role, they would likely benefit from joining a marketing club or ERG that meets once a month to talk about issues that affect everyone in that department. If they were hired into customer service, they might want to join a customer service club where they can share ideas with others doing similar jobs across different parts of your organization. These can take the form of informal lunch groups or official programs!

Make sure there's an easy way for new hires to find these groups on their own—either through your company intranet or through an online portal where they can search by interests or job function (e.g., "Marketing Club"). Or, use a tool like Helm to keep these automatically organized!

Day one. Blank slate. Starting somewhere new and being totally confused about it. Feeling like the new kid.

We’ve all been there. Starting a new job can be confusing, and as a leader, it’s up to you to make it go smoothly. And since first impressions only happen once, the first week is make-or-break. For your new hire, it may be the most important week of their career.

Stay in the loop.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
© 2023 Velificor, Inc. All Rights Reserved.