10 Things to Do on an Employee’s First Day

Okay, Human Resources gurus — let’s do a little thought experiment.

Take a look around your office and try to spot the invisible: the information and insights that guide you through your every day. This could be the names of coworkers, how to use the copier, or the way to the restroom.

Though tenured employees can take this knowledge for granted, it’s a lot to take in for new hires who are simultaneously learning your organization’s systems, technologies, and company culture. And though fancy welcome lunches are nice, the best employee onboarding makes new hires feel welcomed and knowledgeable from the get-go.

To help HR welcome new employees with style and substance, we’ve put together a list of 10 things your team can do on an employee’s first day to set them up for lasting success.


How to Welcome a New Employee

1. Swag out their desk

Help make your new hire’s first day feel like a cause for celebration! Before they arrive, assemble a bag of company swag separate from any policy brochures or onboarding paperwork they may find on their desk. Think fun stuff, like T-shirts, branded water bottles, pens, or snacks.

Want to go the extra mile? Have the new hire’s team sign a welcome card or craft a sign to hang in their new workspace.

2. Send not one, but two welcome emails

The first two emails in your new hire’s inbox should both be from you. The first is a private email to the employee, welcoming them to the company and providing quick links to the employee directory, contact info for benefits and IT, and so on — all the things they need to succeed on the first day.

The second email should be a mass message from you to the company, announcing the new employee’s arrival and encouraging others to welcome them. Include the employee’s name, division, job title, and photo (this last one helps the entire organization put a name to a face).

At Kazoo, we have employees fill out a “new hire survey” to help us craft unique welcome emails. The result looks like this:

Welcome email to new employee

3. Fill their calendar

It’s challenging to get started with a blank slate. Before your new hire arrives, give them a boost by getting their work calendar set up and pre-filled with important training dates and any recurring meetings or stand-ups. Finally, schedule a time to meet with them 1-on-1 (more on that below).

4. Give recognition for a first-week morale boost

If you’re looking for fresh ideas on how to welcome a new employee, this is it. Using your organization’s recognition tool or portal, give new hires public kudos within their first week. This public platform is a great way to have leadership and employees from other teams offer a warm welcome.

At Kazoo, our CEO Paul Pellman uses the Kazoo public recognition feed to welcome every new employee to the team on their first day.

CEO recognizing two new employees on the Kazoo platform

Learn how to share public recognition with Kazoo →

 

5. Have their team take them out to lunch

What do you remember about your first day on the job? Many of us meet a face-blurring parade of people and then spend some lonely hours trying to get our email and calendar set up.

Put a bright spot and some friendly faces in the middle of your employee’s week to help get them oriented. Reach out to their manager or team to help coordinate a lunch or in-office welcome event.

6. Share basic technology insights and helpful office tips

As HR professionals, new hires put a lot on your plate — benefits and insurance enrollment, coordination with payroll, certifications, and more.

But don’t forget to share those little tips and insights that will make their first day a success, like information on office culture quirks, important Slack channels, what to do in the event of a printer jam, and how to get their work phone up to speed.

7. Cover health insurance and benefits with patience

Prioritize benefits on day one by thoroughly explaining the company’s health insurance plans and making yourself available for follow-up questions before, during, and after their enrollment period.

Remember, new employees are navigating information overload on their first day, so your warmth, patience, and expertise go a long way toward providing a welcoming impression.

8. Give a grand tour

Take your new hire for a stroll around the office. As you introduce them to their new teammates and key players, take special care to point out and emphasize common necessities like the restroom, the coffee area (especially which pot is decaf!), parking, and more.

9. Assign them an onboarding buddy (or two!)

Onboarding buddies can be lifesavers in the mayhem of the first week or month of a job. Work with the new hire’s manager to identify members of the company who will be knowledgeable and enthusiastic go-tos your employee can feel comfortable coming to with questions.

Kazoo assigns two buddies: one from the new hire’s team, and one from another department. At a minimum, we recommend 1-on-1 coffee or lunch.

10. Check back in

Onboarding doesn’t end at 5 p.m. on the new hire’s first day. Schedule time for a quick check-in towards the end of the employee’s first week to make sure they’re getting settled in and integrating with the company culture.

This will allow you to coordinate with their manager to ensure their success, and help the new hire feel supported in their position. Which, thanks to your rock star care and hard work, they are.

Ready to elevate your onboarding experience?

Kazoo’s all-in-one Employee Experience Platform sets employees up for success from day one. Whether you’re looking to roll out Recognition & Rewards, Continuous Performance Management, or Employee Engagement Surveys, our award-winning platform has a solution for your team.

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