10 Ways to Prepare for an Employee’s First Day

With a little preparation, you can turn an employee’s first day anxiety into genuine excitement. Here are 10 onboarding tips to ensure a smooth transition into your workforce.

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We all know that an employee’s first day at a new job can be overwhelming– not only for the new hire but for employers as well. Beyond the responsibility of teaching someone an entirely new role, the employer is also expected to help him or her transition into a new company culture and work environment.

With some onboarding preparation, you can turn the typical first-day employee anxiety into genuine excitement. Making the right impression will not only make your employee feel prepared for the new job and respective responsibilities but will also ensure that they feel comfortable and welcome at your organization.

Don’t know where to begin? We’ve put together 10 steps to prepare for your new employee’s first day at work.

1. Send a first-day welcome announcement to the company

Before the employee’s arrival, send a welcome announcement to the rest of the company. The announcement should include some basic information about them:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Team they’ll be working on
  • Personal information, such as favorite hobbies or foods

Employees can then easily see if they have anything in common, like a shared interest or experience that can help break the ice.

2. Prepare their space

On the employee’s first day, make sure someone is waiting to greet him or her at the door. Also, ensure that their space is ready for them, including preparing their:

  • Computer
  • Phone
  • Email & network access
  • Office supplies
  • Some sort of welcome accessory (at Zenefits, we do balloons!)

This step shows the employee that he or she is a priority and a valued member of the organization. It also helps solve a lot of logistical issues right away so their first day can be meaningful and productive.

Related blog post: How much do hiring and onboarding cost?

3. Provide a staff directory

Giving your employee a directory of the staff will help them get familiar with their coworkers and make them feel more comfortable introducing themselves. An online, up-to-date employee directory is a convenient option. This will also help direct their questions to the right people.

4. Simplify first-day paperwork

First-day formalities can often be tedious, especially when dealing with a mountain of onboarding paperwork. Instead of wasting valuable time filling out form after form, have your employee sign their paperwork electronically. This not only saves time but keeps all necessary documents safe in one place for future use. Have your new employee fill these out electronically on their first day– or better yet, have them do it before their start date!

5. Offer a solid training program

While most aspects of starting a new job are stressful, performing new job responsibilities is probably at the top of the list. By having a clear, comprehensive training program, you can ease your new employees’ first day anxiety and help them feel prepared and motivated for the job ahead of them.

6. Assign a mentor

On your new employees’ first day, set each one up with a buddy or mentor; this can help them feel more comfortable and encourage them to ask questions. These can be bigger questions like, “how do I complete this task?” or smaller items like, “where’s the best place on this block to get lunch?” A mentor can help the employee assimilate into the culture at a much faster rate.

7. Plan an activity

Having a planned team activity is a great way to make a new employee feel welcome on the first day. A few ideas include:

  • Host a catered or lunch or a potluck in which everyone contributes a dish.
  • Take the team to a favorite local eatery.
  • Throw an after-work happy hour.

Events like these can give your new and current employees a chance to get to know each other in a more open, casual environment to build strong relationships and channels for collaboration.

8. Give a welcome gift

Everyone loves getting gifts, so consider giving the new hire a little something to say welcome, including:

  • Company swag like t-shirts or coffee mugs
  • Office equipment like pens or notebooks
  • A map that shows the best lunch spots around the office

9. Check in

At the end of the week, be sure to give the new hire a chance to ask any outstanding questions they may have. This period can be overwhelming, but touching base with them continuously will make them feel supported and acclimated.

10. Show your enthusiasm

Make sure you’re enthusiastic about your new hire. You want them to know they’re you’re looking forward to working with them. Even on an employee’s first day, there are ample ways to show your excitement, whether it means using any of our tips or building a new first-day employee ritual unique to your company and culture.

This post was originally published on March 18, 2016, and has since been updated.

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