Well-begun is half done applies to all of life’s challenges. And for building employee loyalty, keeping the best employees, it’s a perfect truism.
I wrote last time that keeping your best employees really comes down to the culture you create at your company. You want a corporate culture where they go home happy every day and they want to come back the next day.
And now your employees leave happy and return happily.
And you’ve recruited and hired the best.
And their first day is tomorrow.
You want to keep your culture intact. You and your team created such momentum as you worked together to recruit, interview and hire this new star. Keep it going.
Well-begun is half done.
Here’s how to make sure the first days with your new hire serve as a perfect beginning for you both.
Make sure you welcome this new employee with open arms from the moment they walk in the door.
Here’s a checklist to make sure this happens:
Balance the added work. Training a new person only doubles the workload of your existing employees. Make sure you balance this added work among your employees. You don’t want to take 1 step forward with hiring a great new person and 2 steps back when one or two current employees grow resentful from an inordinate share of the work, work they weren’t prepared to absorb.
Tip: Offer to help. Offer your time in training the new person. That enables you to develop a good relationship with this new hire from the beginning. It also shows the importance to everyone that you place on training.
Prepare a welcoming committee. That welcoming committee is everyone on the team where this new hire will work. In a smaller, startup, company that might be everyone in the company. And it might be just one person.
Assign tasks, schedule meetings, prepare training materials, to the members of your committee. These tasks should be welcomed…while recognizing it does add to their workload.
This new hire is going to help them. And they’ve participated in the recruiting and interviewing to choose this person.
Assign a buddy. For want of a better term, assign one person on their new team to ensure all the items on the committee’s to-do list are complete before they arrive. And, to be the new hire’s go-to person for questions like:
- Where’s the coat closet? Is there a coat closet?
- Where’s the coffee?
- Where do they park?
- Where’s the bathroom, including needed keys or door codes?
- Where do they get supplies?
- Training schedule
- Network passwords
Greet them at the door. Make sure the new hire is greeted at the door before they enter the building. Nothing creates a warmer feeling for a new employee relationship than being greeted at the door on their first day. It shows how important they are and how excited you are to have them join your company.
Some added flourishes include:
- Meet them for coffee before they arrive at work.
- Decorate their parking spot.
- Have everyone greet them at the front door.
Prepare their work area. It’s a doh! point. And it happens too often regardless of company size that a new hire’s desk/work area isn’t prepared.
It’s like telling your in-laws to sit in your spare bedroom for a while until you get around to fixin’ it up. Not a good start.
Have their work area prepared and clean. That includes all the equipment they’ll need to be productive and engaged from the moment they reach this area. Computers networked and loaded with proper applications; desk, chair, pens, notepads are available…an ATV, too, if it’s required.
I once started work as a Marketing Director with no desk, no chair, no computer. And no one to ask. I brought my own laptop and network cable and dug around for a desk and a chair. We got through it.
Prepare their training schedule. Have it ready, in writing, to show them when they arrive. It should answer these questions:
- Who’s training them?
- What’s being trained?
- When they’re being trained?
- Where they’re being trained?
And it should include the materials they’ll need.
It empowers them to manage their time and expectations and see a broader perspective. It also helps minimize the uncertainties, stress, from the start of a new job. Nothing creates doubts in the minds of a new hire that they joined the right company than sitting idle with no direction forward.
Feed them. Take them to lunch or dinner. When and where should be left to them and your current colleagues? The first day may not be the best. Ask them and your current employees for what works for them.
Make it a group activity. If not, then leave it to their buddy. I don’t recommend the CEO take them separately unless it’s routine for the CEO to take meals with individual employees.
Announce their arrival. Press releases are standard for executives as they join a new company.
Issue a press release internally. Tout their skills and talents and your delight at their joining your company. Personalize it with a picture.
Announce it to your partners and vendors. It’s flattering to the new hire. It builds their confidence. And it will smooth their first interactions with your partners and vendors. That will make them effective from their first call or email.
Your vendors will appreciate the close communication that ensures a smooth start for this new relationship.
Idea: Why not issue a press release for your newest front-line employee**? ( Who spends more of their time influencing a customer’s impression of your brand than your front-line employees?)
Well-begun is half done. Follow these steps and you’re half-way to your goal of sending your employees home every night happy. And that’s the half-way mark to ensuring they want to come back the next day and the day after and the day after…
I’ll show you how to get all the way home in the next post. I’ll share some tips and stories on how to ensure the experience of the first day is continued most days, if not every day.
** This idea came to me as I wrote this post. As I’ve edited this post, it still seems like a good idea. What do you think?