Make an Employee’s First Week Memorable

A New Employee’s First Week Should Last For Years

The decision to make a new hire is big. You’re affecting the life of a person and, in a way, the livelihood of the company.

When you finally make that decision and bring someone in, what’s that first day experience like? How about the first week? Does it reinforce to the employee that they made the right decision?

Or does it give them an entirely different corporate experience?

Too often new employees have a first week that looks like this:

  • An afternoon of signing documents. Lots of documents.
  • Compliance training.
  • Getting the necessary hardware (computer, phone) and software (passwords etc).

These are important parts of the process, but what about the intangibles? The things we can’t run to the supply closet in accounting and grab, but that can make all the difference in employee retention and satisfaction. And this is important, because it’s been shown that companies with a high level of employee engagement see an increase of over 15% in year-end profits.


Studies show that a strong onboarding experience is critical for employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

The Ultimate Onboarding Experience

What should an onboarding experience look like? We looked into companies that provide an excellent one to find out the common themes. Here are the top 4 points:

Share the Company History and Culture

People want to join a company where they can be a part of a story. Your history is your story. People also don’t want just a place to work, they want a career. They want to be at a place where they feel like they are more than just a person moving an object from Point A to Point B.

  • Discuss your history, but make it relevant. Share how what you are doing today directly relates to the how and why the company was founded.
  • Share culture and values. It can be hard for a new person to break into an established group (remember your first day at a new school) so give your new employee a “Culture Mentor” to help them get involved.

Build an Emotional Connection

  • You’ve heard it since you were a kid – “Everyone is important.” Does everyone know that these are more than just words to the company. 
  • Contribution is a key to employee retention. Employees are more likely to stay where they think that their work matters. Share how everyone can contribute value and make a difference.
  • Discuss what problems your company is facing and why overcoming them is important. Employees connect when they know that they can make a difference.
  • Employees are your greatest asset. Do they know this? There’s a lot that comes from making a person feel valued.

Connect Peers

  • Data shows that people leave managers not companies. Work with supervisors to educate them on how they can create a collaborative dialogue with their new reports.
  • There are any number of sports analogies that tell us of the importance of teamwork. A strong, productive team can not be built in 8 hours with everyone behind a desk. Make time for the new employee and their new team to get out of the office and get to know each other on a regular basis.

Never. Stop. Onboarding.

That’s a scary thought right? But think about it.

Should an employee ever stop learning? Should they ever stop trying to improve their work? Should the company sit stagnant and never innovate or adjust to the marketplace?

Of course not.

So why don’t we expect our employees to continue to learn, grow, change, and continuously engage. For them to do this in a meaningful and effective way they’ll need company encouragement. And the right tools.

So what if we stopped looking at onboarding as this one-time affair that we can check off an employee’s file and instead take it for what it truly is? A process of continuous learning.

To do that you can:

  • Create an onboarding program that enables employees to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors year round to become effective organizational members.
  • Encourage peer-led information sharing through a central location.
  • Ensure that during any change an employee encounters – joining a new team, starting a project, moving to a new position – they will have access to all of the resources they need to be successful. Whenever they need them.

What’s your onboarding strategy? Let’s talk


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