First Impressions Last: How To Make A Positive Impression On New Employees

First Impressions Last: How To Make A Positive Impression On New Employees

Imagine you have just resigned from your job because you’ve landed an exciting and challenging new role.

You’ve met with the hiring manager 3 times, sat through 2 rounds of interviews and are enticed by everything you’ve been told about the organisation, the culture and the role.

As you work out your 4 weeks’ notice at your existing job, you don’t hear anything from the people at your new job except the start date. Racked with nerves on your first day, you are briefly introduced to the team before being shown your desk, handed a stack of paperwork to fill in, and given 10 training videos to watch.

Feeling like a bit of an inconvenience, you watch as people hurry around you doing their important work while apologising as they try to find time to show you the ropes.

The whole week goes by in a similar fashion, and by Friday afternoon you’re left wondering if this new job is really everything you had hoped it would be.

This scenario plays out all too often in organisations, with exceptional effort dedicated to the hiring process but little or no thought given to overhauling dusty onboarding practices that leave new staff feeling disengaged and ignored.

First impressions last. And if you don’t want new recruits to be planning their escape at the end of the first day, it pays to invest time and energy into implementing innovative onboarding practices.

This is something we do really well here at HorizonOne because we want new employees to feel appreciated, engaged and excited from the moment they join us.

To help you do the same, here are a few tips from our playbook…

Stay in touch before they start

You want your new staff to feel attached to your business before they even start. So don’t be a stranger in that important time between offering them the job and their first day.

You could:

  • Send a welcome pack with any paperwork so they can complete it ahead of time
  • Send a short video message saying hi from the new team
  • Ask the team to connect on LinkedIn to open up communication
  • Organise business cards
  • Add their name to the phone list and get access to resources or technology they will need in advance
  • Call a fortnight before to ask if they have questions or concerns
  • Invite them to lunch or Friday afternoon drinks so they can meet the wider team in a relaxed setting

In the final week before they start, call and let them know what to expect on day 1. Tell them where to find the best parking, who they should ask for when they arrive, and what they will be doing in that all-important first week.

Infuse fun with formality

Having completed all the paperwork and gotten to know the team ahead of time, your new recruit should feel more at home when they arrive on that first day.

But don’t stop there.

Have a small gift waiting for them on their desk. This could be the new business cards, a coffee mug, USB, keyring, or something that makes them feel special and part of the organisational culture.

Organise an office tour, and have team members dedicate time to explain their roles and how their work together serves to support the business.

Block out times in their calendar for events or meetings they can partake in during the first week. This helps them feel that they are already part of the business, and can get a taste for doing the fun, juicy work they signed up for.

Take them out for coffee or lunch on the first day. This is an opportunity to show them the local area, and chat in a relaxed setting about your expectations and theirs.

Lastly, if they need to watch training videos or read training materials, let it be towards the end of the day. There is nothing wrong with formality if you infuse a little fun too!

Don’t get complacent

Once your new recruit has been with the organisation for a couple of months, it’s easy to forget that they are still new.

Find ways to make it easy for them to self-learn, in case they forget how to do something and feel embarrassed asking a team member.

It’s also really beneficial to meet with new employees regularly (and separate to standard work debriefs). Use this time to talk about anything they want: questions, challenges, or simply understanding the organisation better.

They can always opt out of these meetings if they want to, but it will be because they feel equipped to do their job in the way they envisaged when they first signed on for their exciting new role.