Making First Days More Effective For Everyone

There is something inherently difficult about making a new employee’s first day truly successful.  Regularly the hiring manager is so worn out from the initial hiring process that the importance of continuing to woo the new hire is lost on them.

The pitfalls of failing to make your new employee feel welcome and successful on their first day is two-fold though; in part it deflates their expectation about what their experience working with your organization will be. More importantly though it devalues their time at your nonprofit and elongates the onboarding time.

Imagine showing up to work on your first day only to find that nothing has been prepared around your arrival. No computer has been set up. No orientation paperwork has been prepared. No introductions are made. Overall, it seems as though no one at your new job cares that you were hired. How long would it be before you began looking for another new job?

Now imagine a more ideal situation: Your hiring team sent you a welcome note with a first day agenda before you began, and then on your first day, your desk, computer, office supplies, etc. are all ready for you. Co-workers casually drop by between meetings to welcome you aboard and your hiring manager makes vital introductions between you and your immediate team. Orientation materials are prepared and flexible, with small projects and onboarding goals given to you; lunch invitations are extended to help you meet your new co-workers.

Chances are you wouldn’t be as quick to resume your job search because your new organization and co-workers seem excited to have you along.

That initial sense of belonging and preparation goes far.

By demonstrating to new employees that you are excited to have them on board, and that you’ve taken the time to help them get up to speed, you’ve helped lay the earliest groundwork for success. And then as the employee goes through the onboarding process, they have the right contacts, and the right tools, to find the information they need about your organization, donors, and clients to further your mission.

What other onboarding sins have you seen companies commit? Do you have a favorite successful onboarding story?

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10/24/13 8:11 PM

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