When meeting someone new, how quickly do you decide whether you like the person?
Studies show that lasting opinions are formed in the first 30 seconds. Everything about you, including your clothes, nails, hair, shoes and smile, will affect another person’s first impression. Regardless of whether it’s a first date, first interview or first day on the job, people are forming critical first impressions about you.
The same process, only in reverse, holds true for businesses and organizations.
In today’s workplace, a new employee will decide quickly whether he wants to stay with your organization. After 90 days, 72 percent of employees have decided whether they want to stay with your company long term. So while you may have 90 days to onboard an employee, I suggest starting the process from the beginning.
When an employee reports for the first day on the job, the feeling is similar to the jitters we had as kids on the first day of the school year. While it’s a challenge for an employee to familiarize himself quickly with the office, the job responsibilities, co-workers and more, it’s just as important and stressful for the managers.
As you manage the message on Day 1, it’s important to make the new employee feel welcome. This is the most important day of the person’s employment. Making a new hire feel comfortable and a part of the team from Day 1 is imperative to make the employee a successful and productive member of your business.
This is where most organizations fall short. The business may go to great extremes to make sure it hires the best candidate possible, but there is no system to cultivate this new pearl into a gem of an employee. As with all things in business, let’s look at a process and system for onboarding new employees completely.
After the hiring process, the first step in onboarding is to have the new employee fill out all the necessary paperwork before coming in the first day. Here are a few more small but important tips to help smooth out Day 1 for employees:
- Make sure they know where to park.
- Have their security badges prepared ahead of time.
- Have their workstations and computers or other necessary tools and supplies ready.
- Give them directions to the bathroom and the printer.
- Buy them lunch in house or assign a lunch date with a co-worker, or go one step further and appoint a buddy/mentor for the first few weeks.
The direct manager should schedule one-to-one meetings every week moving forward to help navigate the path to success. This manager should do Day 1 and Week 1 recaps.
Always remember: The stress of an employee’s first few weeks on the job can make or break your hiring decision.
As you head past the first 30 days, give increasing responsibility to new hires. Make sure their efforts are validated and they are shown how they line up with the purpose of your organization. People work for fulfillment as well as for a paycheck. Make sure they are clear on their positions and contributions to the team.
As you get closer to the 90-day benchmark, the manager should review with the employee everything accomplished and the successful career path ahead inside the company. A positive welcoming experience puts new hires’ minds at ease and reinforces that joining your organization was the right decision.
On the other hand, not every hire will be a good one. A few simple missteps can throw a wrench into plans and leave the company or the employee second-guessing. The 90-day benchmark has been shown to be the perfect amount of time. Some companies hire only on a 90-day probationary basis to ensure a good fit.
Regardless, the best is when lines of communication are open, and regular one-to-one meetings are held. Both the company and the employee then can assess the viability of a long work relationship. After all, the best scenario is always a win-win.
What first impression is your organization making? A strong onboarding process can help ensure that your new hires succeed from Day 1, build loyalty and shape a productive workforce.
We next will explore a great system for every employee to train continuously.
Jason Adler is a John Maxwell-certified executive coach (www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/jasonadler) helping people and their organizations hire and keep quality employees.