Like the saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a first impression!” Well, unless you hire back a boomerang, then you get two chances, or if you fire someone, but then hire them back, you get another chance on that one as well. Theoretically, if you hire identical twins you would get two chances, but genetically it’s almost the same person.
You get where I’m going with this! When onboarding, you need to make a great impression, and for most of us, we only get one chance.
Years ago when I first went to work for Applebee’s, I actually started the week of Thanksgiving. The timing just worked out that way, and they wanted me for the first three days of the week. When I arrived for my first day, I was blown away at how much work they did to prepare for me to come. I had all the accesses I needed, a laptop and phone ready, libraries of documents electronically that I might need in my position, a training calendar that laid out my first month of employment by the day!
It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It set the ground work for an amazing employment experience, that I still talk about and share, ten years later!
Not everyone has the resources that a large company like Applebee’s has, and can do what they can, but everyone can make a great first impression regardless of their size and resources! Here are some things you can do to make a great impression during onboarding:
- The element of surprise! This is the one idea where I think you should spend a few bucks. I love sending a token of appreciation to someone close to your new hire. A spouse, a boyfriend, a parent, etc. I’ve sent flowers to the home of parents of a new hire thanking them for raising us a great person to work with. It costs $25-30. The result is priceless! Talk about a huge win in onboarding.
- Don’t waste their time! Probably 80% of current onboarding can be done before the employee even shows up to work. Use technology to get ahead of the game and have employees fill out all the necessary paperwork before they show up. That way, day one,their ready to rock and roll, and not fall asleep in endless, boring onboarding meetings.
- Executive presence is a present! Being able to spend a little one-on-one time with your highest functional leader in your division, location, etc. can be huge your first day/week. Instantly, you feel like what you are bringing to the company and your position matter. I mean, what company allows you to talk with a high-level executive day one!? Bonus, this is free!
- Everybody needs a friend!Having a work mentor day one is nice, having a work friend day one is even better. I love connecting people who work in different functions. It’s really difficult to ask stupid questions to your peers. You’re new, and you don’t want to sound dumb, but someone in another area will tell you how tuition reimbursement works, without looking at you like you’re an idiot. Bonus, this is free!
- Check out this free webinar for even more tips! (It’s called 8 Tips for Awesome Onboarding, and it’s being hosted by the folks who make ALEX (and friends of The Projects), a benefits decision support platform I think is pretty neat. Next Tuesday, February 16, 2-3 EST.)
Anyway, onboarding doesn’t have to be fancy (or expensive) to be exceptional. People don’t come into your company expecting a parade. They come into your company expecting to go to work. It’s our job to make sure they’re ready to do that!