Surviving HR: Employee Orientation Part 2

Now that we have the paperwork out of the way it’s time to talk company culture and how to make a good first impression on new hires. No one enjoys first days, they are awkward, nerve wrecking, and scary. A new employee’s first day is a very important time as it sets their first impression of the company and it’s employees. If they don’t feel welcomed by other employees or the overall vibe is not a positive one they most likely will not show up for day two.  So how do you leave a good impression and assure they made a good choice accepting the job?

When your new employee arrives give them a tour of the facility and show them where to put their things, where the break room is, and where they will be working.  Make sure their work area is set up for them and clean!  I mistakenly had another employee “clean” a new employees desk only to find it was a mess when she started. It was embarrassing cleaning it in front of her on her first day. Walk them around and introduce them to all of the employees.  Don’t just tell them names but give a little insight on who the existing employees are and what they do at your company.  “This is Joe, he has been with us for two years.  He runs this machine like a champ, I don’t know what we would do without him”.  Comments like this show your new employee that you value your employees, and it also makes your existing employee feel good knowing that you appreciate them.

After they have completed their basic required paperwork (W-4, I-9, etc), have them read your employee manual. When they are done, review it with them. I like to read through it and summarize each section, going into more detail for the key topics such as time off, pay information, and our cell phone policy.  Make sure you check in with them multiple times so they have the opportunity to ask questions as they come up.  You want to make sure they are clear on your policies early on to avoid future issues.  I then have them sign it and give them their copy for their records. It is very important to review the employee manual in person versus sending them home with it. They will never read it on their own and risk breaking rules they didn’t know exist.

Once you have your new employee settled in and working on their training, make sure you check on them regularly.  New employees are not likely to get up and find someone when they have a question, they will just sit quietly and wait for some one to come to them. Even if you are not the person training them its important that you stay involved with their progress, even if just to make sure they know your door is always open for them. Throughout their first week make sure you and your other employees are welcoming and make the new employee feel like part of the team.  Invite them to sit with you at lunch and ask them questions about their interests.  It is very easy to alienate new employees if they don’t feel like part of the team early on.

How do you make new employees feel welcome?

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