A new hire’s first day can be make or break. Get it right, and you’ll have an enthusiastic advocate for the company. Get it wrong, and you could lose them at the first hurdle, and go straight back to square one of the hiring process.
Why a poor induction is so damaging
A study by Equifax Workforce Solutions showed that 40% of staff turnover happens within the first month of a new team member joining.
A massive one in three employees will be looking for a new job within their first six months. With the average employee taking longer than that (eight months) to become fully productive, that’s a dangerous and expensive spiral if you get it wrong.
Incredibly, the most valuable things you can do on day one cost little or nothing. But they can be the difference between losing a brand new employee – with all the sunk costs of hiring and the missed opportunity of having a role unfilled – and creating a loyal team member who could be with you for years.
Quick wins that cost little or nothing
On day one, new employees are flooded with information, including new names and faces (which can be embarrassing to forget).
Take the pressure off by giving each new employee a collage with names, photos, some personal information about each team member or maybe a floor plan showing who sits where – this makes the new team member like they’re joining a welcoming team as well as helping them know who is who. And before they join a handwritten card from the boss will speak volumes to them and their family or housemates.
Don’t forget the basics too: have workspaces ready in advance, along with any necessary essentials for them to get started. Don’t let their first impression of your company be one of disorganisation. Having business cards printed and waiting on their desk. How about a welcome pack with say a personalised coffee mug and other goodies that tie in with your company’s culture and service/sector.
Introduce new employees to the company’s leaders. A phone call, a greeting in person, or lunch on the first day with the boss makes them feel that they really count. It’s a chance to make new employees feel that they’re part of the overall mission of the company, and it increases their loyalty over the long term. The small things really matter!
There’s always a way
Think this will take up too much time? Think again – there’s always a way. At Google, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin host weekly updates for the entire company of over 70,000 employees (some by video), which includes welcoming new staff and fielding questions from anyone in the team.
Give every new hire something to do straight away. Don’t overload them, but get them started on something small. They want to show their value to the company, so give them an opportunity to do that. They’ll be rewarded with an immediate sense of accomplishment, and an enthusiasm for the job that will pay you dividends over time.
For most people, work isn’t just a job but a part of their life. Introduce them to their team, to the rest of the workplace, and organise social events for their first day or week. Embedding a new employee in the community of the workplace will not only make them feel at home straight away, but is the single most important factor in long-term retention.
Induction is a critical juncture in the employee journey. Every company knows how much recruitment matters; and increasingly companies are opening their eyes to the importance of culture and good management within the business. But the bit between can sometimes be forgotten. And that can either tie all your good work together – or cause it to crumble.