How to Make a Memorable First Day

The first day of any new job can be overwhelming. Trying to navigate a new company and learn the ropes of a new role is a lot for new hires. The candidate wowed the organization at the interview. Now, it’s time for the organization to wow them with a perfect first day at work.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 

Maya Angelou

A bad first experience can ruin a new job for any employee. As their manager, it is your role to ensure their first impression is a good one.

There is no one perfect playbook, and I’m sharing the onboarding playbook that I developed over time.

When your candidate accepts the offer

Mail the following:

  1. A personal note from the hiring manager on congratulating them on accepting the offer. A $50 gift card to take their significant other or a friend out for dinner and celebrate.
  2. A welcome postcard signed by the interview panel.

On the first day

  1. On the employee’s first day, make sure someone is waiting to greet him or her at the door.
  2. Give an office tour: It may seem trivial, but a company tour is vital for a new employee’s first day of work, even if your office space is small. More than anything, it helps the new employee feel comfortable with their new surroundings and get to know the company culture.
  3. Ready Workspace: Ensure that their space is ready for them, including their computer, work equipment, email & network access, office supplies, welcome gift (optional).
  4. Involve the team: It’s always a good idea to prepare your team for a new team member since they will be working together. Ask your team to send an intro email introducing themselves, their role and how they can help. Maybe a fun fact. It’s a surprise-and-delight moment that makes each new team member feel welcome.
  5. Personalized introduction: Don’t send an email or share this on slack — “Everyone, this is Allie; Allie, this is the team.” Before you know it, your teammates will be turned back to their computer monitors. Instead, send a more personalized introduction. Work with your new hire in advance in crafting a more personalized introduction email. At our current company, we ask our new hires to share a collection of their memorable experiences with pictures that tell a bit more about them outside of work.
  6. Welcome lunch: In creating the most memorable day, it’s essential to set up the welcome-lunch the same day. If the hiring manager can’t take them to lunch, ensure that someone in the team is free to have lunch with the new hire. We include the entire team who will be working closely with the new hire in their welcome lunch.
  7. Discuss the big picture: Hiring manager must set up an introductory onboarding session and share the big picture of what we do, and how every department plays a role. Keep it high level and not overwhelm the new hire with a ton of onboarding meetings.
  8. Debrief before they go home:At the end of their first day, sit down with them to find out how Day 1 went. Ask how everything went and if they have any questions. Is there anything they are worried about? Any concerns they have for the future? Then see what they require for the next day. Asking for feedback will give new employees a chance to tell their employers what they need for success, making the transition to a new job more manageable. It will also help you inform your process, making sure you are improving your processes wherever you can.

Starting a new job is never easy. Many new hires feel overwhelmed, but by utilizing these tips, organizations can make the first day of work a seamless transition and help new employees feel comfortable and welcome.