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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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You never forget your first day

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You never forget your first day on the job. Much like your first day at school, it can be a success or a complete disaster. No doubt you have good stories and bad stories. I've heard them all - most recently from a new employee who was given a desk and sat there all day with no idea of what she was supposed to do. Her new boss swung by for a moment to say he was off to meetings and they would catch up soon. 'Soon' never came. He never took the time to welcome her and orient her to her new workplace or job duties. As a result she soon left for a better job in a much more welcoming environment.

Too often I've seen employers spend weeks or months trying to find and hire the right employee. Once that employee starts, employers assume their job is done. Wrong! If you're the boss, your job is just beginning!

If you're about to welcome a new employee to your workplace, it's critical that you make welcoming and orienting that employee a priority. Clear your calendar and make time for them on their first day. This is an investment into the future of your organization as their experience on their first day will set the stage for their job satisfaction and performance in the days to come.

Here are some simple ways to make a new employee feel welcome on their first day - and excited to come back to work on day two!

Prepare their work area

Every new employee deserves a clean, organized work area. If someone sat in their space before them, be sure to remove any items that were theirs and organize and file away anything that your new employee might need. This needs to feel like their space, not a desk belonging to the ghost of employees past! Have their computer, phones and all communications ready and waiting for them when they arrive.

Make sure they're greeted when they arrive

If you can be there when they arrive, great. If not, make sure someone is. Welcome them with enthusiasm. Show them to their office and explain the plan for the day.

Show them the ropes

Assume new employees know nothing about the building. Tell them the house rules and show them the bathrooms, kitchen, water fountain, supply closet, copy machine, etc.

Introduce them to others in your office

Take your new employee around the office to meet their new co-workers. Spend more time with the co-workers who will be interacting with your new employee the most. Explain job duties and how you expect they will work together. If there are any 'secrets' or back stories' that your employee should know about that are not of a confidential nature - tell them in private! No new employee wants to stick their foot in it on day one!

Take your new employee to lunch

There is nothing worse for a new employee than to find themselves sitting alone in the kitchen or cafeteria on their first day with no idea who is coming in and out. It's like sitting alone on your first day at a new school. Lunch is also a great time to talk about job duties and expectations.

Check in with them at the end of the day

Ask them how they're feeling at the end of day one. Ask if they need anything or have any questions or concerns. By doing so you're establishing a constructive, open and trusting relationship right from the beginning.

So the next time you welcome a new employee to your company, follow these steps to insure they feel welcome, appreciated and part of the team. By taking the time to do so you'll turn a nerve-wracking first day into a pleasant experience that will improve the chances you'll have a happy and productive employee for the long term. This will reduce your turnover rates - so you can also have fewer first days!

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