Making an Employee’s First Day Go Smoothly

Many new employees arrive for their first day of work excited and eager to begin, but also concerned about the uncertainties they will face that day. It’s up to you, their employer, to plan to make a new hire’s first day go smoothly. Without planning, the first day could be a nightmare for both of you. Sixty percent of employees who quit do so within their first 10 days on the job.

To start a new employee’s day off right, decide in advance what their first day will include — what the person will do, whom they will meet. Let everyone in your office who will interact with the new employee on their first day know exactly when and what they are expected to contribute.

Start the new employee’s day by being on time to greet them. Be in an upbeat mood. Reiterate how glad you are to have them on board.

Then, show the new hire their workspace and where to store personal items safely. Introduce the new employee to coworkers who sit nearby. Then take a tour of the office. Point out the restroom, common areas and supply room. If the new employee’s first day of work turns out to be a hectic one for you, or if you are unexpectedly called out of town, arrange for a coworker to take your place to perform the necessary introductions and answer the new hire’s questions.

Next, tackle a host of new employee tasks:

  • Have the new employee fill out any employment or tax forms.
  • Give the new hire a preassembled packet of information that includes a job description, performance expectations, schedules, how to record work hours, how to operate equipment or computer programs, and benefit materials. Briefly explain what each item is or have your company’s human resource manager review this material with the new employee.
  • Arrange for yourself or another worker to take the new recruit to lunch.
  • Outline what the employee can expect for rest of the first week. Does your company have an orientation program? Will this person have to attend certain training sessions? Is there job-specific information, such as a star client or new products on which the employee will be expected to get up to speed quickly?
  • Allow a new hire time to review the company’s past work and talk with co-workers about ongoing accounts and projects.

A new employee’s first day is a great time to establish a good working relationship. Throughout the day, check in with the new employee about any questions they might have and make the new person feel comfortable about stopping by your desk with questions. Make the person feel excited about the job and the company. Most important, make it clear that you are glad the new person is now part of your team.