How to make an employee feel welcome on their first day

Trina Huntley

Trina Huntley

Manager, Learning & Development | Payworks

Trina has dedicated her career towards formalizing guidance and support around learning, development and coaching that grows employee engagement and performance.
Responsable de l’apprentissage et du développement | Payworks

Trina a consacré sa carrière à la concrétisation de l’orientation et du soutien en matière d’apprentissage, de développement et d’accompagnement, afin d’accroître l’engagement et les performances des employés.

Think back to your last ‘first day’ at your career. It might have been decades since this was the case, but try to recall that feeling you had when you were the ‘new kid’ at your company. Alongside excitement and curiosity, there were probably nerves, lack of confidence, and a yearning to fit in. There are lots of tabs open in the mind of a brand new employee. They’re thinking about being on time, making a good first impression, remembering everyone’s names, not getting lost, what to do at lunchtime – they’re even debating what to wear. As their employer and/or the person welcoming them into their new role, it’s important to help ease their mind.

Employee retention is directly tied to on-boarding. In fact, 69% of employees are more likely to stay at your organization for at least three years if they have a great experience according to O.C.Tanner. Truth be told, accomplishing that starts before the employee’s first day. 

Welcome new staff before they enter the building 

  • Send your future employee a welcome card signed by either their future leader or the company president. Small gestures can make big impressions.  
  • Help out your future colleague by sending them an email before their first day and let them know what’s up. Include an agenda of what to expect on their first day, the time to arrive, where to park and/or public transit information. Close a few of those open tabs for them! 
  • Standing around on your first day is no fun. Before day one, have the new team member’s workstation ready. Ensure all of the equipment they need is set up and ready to use – they can set up their email, voicemail, and/or customize their desktop if they have any downtime during their first few days.  
  • What better way is there to welcome someone aboard than to introduce them? Let their coworkers know a little bit about them and that way they have something to chat about when they meet. Send an office email advising of the new employee’s name, start date, the role they’re filling, and a short bio.  

Executing a great first day

  • Start off on the right foot - have a welcome sign at the front door/reception with the new employee’s name on it to greet them. 
  • Give the employee an office tour. Point out all of the essential spots they need to know, including the washrooms, lunchrooms, and common areas. Note the fire safety instructions and first aid equipment. Pro tip: take introductions one step further and introduce co-workers along the way. 
  • Lunchtime at a new job can be like the first day of high school all over again. No one likes walking into a crowded lunchroom not knowing anyone! Make an employee’s first lunch a memorable one by arranging a lunch buddy for them. It can be with their leader as well as any department team members. 
  • Like any great day at work, a great first day includes that sense of productivity when the clock strikes five. That can be really hard to achieve on the very first day. Help new hires feel productive by getting the necessary paperwork done right away. It’s nothing glamorous, but it’s essential and it goes a long way to feeling like something important was accomplished on day one.    

The first day is over and the employee’s head is spinning trying to remember everything. A great way to help them out is to provide digestible key takeaways – a resource they can look at afterwards for that ah-ha moment when their memory fails to recall. 

Suggestion: ‘First Day Checklist’ that includes small, manageable tasks like logging into their computer and creating their passwords. 

Do you find yourself wondering how things went with new employees? The best way to know if they’ve had a good on-boarding experience or are enjoying their new workplace is to ask! Throughout their on-boarding experience ask how their day went, if they have any questions, or if there’s any causes for concern. This is beneficial to both parties. The employee will feel valued and you receive feedback on your processes. Pro tip: take it one step further by arranging a work buddy – a person who can be the point of contact for the new hire’s questions while they’re still learning the ropes.

Wouldn’t one of these (or all of them) have set your mind at ease back when you were the new employee? 

Seeing is believing!

Curious what better Canadian workforce management looks like in action (and how much time you could reclaim in your day-to-day)? Book a pressure-free, get-to-know you demo today.