How are you making ‘day one’ great for new staff?

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One of the most common complaints from employees leaving a company is that they felt unsupported and didn’t have a thorough induction process at the start.

Alison King, managing director of Bespoke HR says “This is such a wasted opportunity when you have spent time and money recruiting, only to lose new recruits within the first few months. Getting a good on boarding process sorted is crucial to retaining good staff,” she notes.

So how can you ensure you make the first day great for new starters and get them fully on board from the moment they walk in?

Keep the candidate experience at the heart of recruitment

Eloise Bell, senior consultant at GradConsult, says: “Keeping candidate experience front and centre of your recruitment and on boarding process is key to bringing, and keeping, the best talent into your organisation. Turning your new employees off with a first day of mind-numbing policies and procedures is one of the worst things you can do.”

Introduce them before they start

“The key to a successful first week is to integrate the candidate and educate staff before the candidate officially starts with a company,” says Lee Owen, director at Hays Accountancy and Finance.

“This might involve supplying a new recruit with induction packs to help them understand the business, introducing them to colleagues and key stakeholders before day one or allocating a peer or ‘office buddy’ to support them in the beginning,” he notes. Introducing them early on will also be a good indicator of how they will get on with the rest of the team.

Find them a buddy

Laure Moyle, who joined Bibby Financial Services in May of this year, says first impressions are really important. “I love the fact that I was given a buddy, a colleague who has worked at Bibby for many years, on my first day. And that they take the time to check in on me and how I’m progressing with my understanding of the business,” she notes.

“I’ve also found the intranet portal really helpful and have generally been seriously impressed by the time and commitment they have taken to help me settle into the company.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of a good induction programme

“Think about ‘why’ you recruited them, and how you can bring that ‘why’ to life via a fabulous induction,” Bell advises. “How can you share the best parts of your organisation and bring their role to life? Who can you introduce them to within the team to build relationships quickly?

What development areas did you identify during the recruitment process and how can you invest in this via training/coaching/mentoring? What information can you share in advance so they can get up to speed more easily and hit the ground running?”

By implementing some of these initiatives, Bell says, you will develop an induction process that creates a sense of belonging quickly and get a quicker return on your investment from your talent.

Plan the first week

“It might sound obvious, but schedule in meetings with their line manager to talk through the business, provide a good background to the company (which includes the nitty gritty like where things are, how to work equipment, dress code, working hours and when to take lunch),” King advises.

“Let them know what’s expected of them in the first week and who they can talk to if they need help.”

Take them out to lunch

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or saying the goes, but there probably should be when it comes to taking a new employee out on their first day. Taking them out of the office should help break the ice and make them feel a bit more at home.

Set monthly review plans

King also recommend setting monthly review meetings. “Plan when you will meet again to check on their progress, which should hopefully make them feel supported,” she notes. “If you can host a review meeting within the first three months (during the probation period) this will help to iron out any potential issues or teething problems.” 

Keep things real

Owen says you also need to ensure you manage their expectations from the start. “Our Hays What Workers Want 2019 report revealed that almost half of finance professionals (44%) have left a job within the first 12 months because it didn’t match the expectations they were given during the application and interview process,” he notes.

“Therefore organisations are strongly advised to deliver a strong and realistic on boarding process to benefit the candidate and the organisation for the future.”


Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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