A red carpet reality is that your customer service is only as good as your least engaged employee. As a leader, you want to set the stage for high engagement on your new hire’s first day at work!! A 2009 study done by the Aberdeen group of senior executives and HR managers showed that from 86% of the respondents’ experience, a new hire’s decision to stay with a company is made within the first 6 months of employment. A survey done by Bamboo HR of 1000 respondents found that 16-17% of left between the first week and third month of starting their new job.
There are a variety of studies surrounding the cost of replacing an employee. One study done by the Society of Human Resource Management suggests it costs $3500.00 to replace one $8.00 an hour employee, and can be up to 150% of the salary of someone at the management level.
On the other hand, a study done by the Wynhurst group showed that new employees who go through a structured on-boarding program are 58% more likely to be with an organization after 3 years. Your on-boarding program begins on your new employee’s first day at work.
So, what can you do to make your new hire’s first day at work a stellar one?
First and foremost, remember it’s all about how you make that new person feel on their first day at work. As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve found that most people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Rolling out the red carpet for your new team member on their first day at work is all about making them feel significant, important and special.
You can start by prepping for their arrival. Let everyone on the team (even in other departments) know a little about their new co-worker and ask for their help in rolling out the red carpet.
Think about information your new hire may need for their first day at work. For instance, directions to the building, info about parking, the name of the person greeting them. Spend a little time prepping their space and getting some of their tools ready BEFORE they show up for day one.
Strive to make Day One a balance of:
Informational: Use day one to begin the training process. Strive to give your team member really clear guidelines as to their responsibilities. Offer them advice in terms of who to go to with what question, what to do if they make an error, etc.
Consider chunking the information and spreading it throughout the on-boarding process (which can be up to 90 days long.) Give them enough on day one so they can feel supported and successful on their first day at work.
Inspirational: Come up with a few ways to make them feel inspired at welcome! Decorate their space. Welcome them with a
personalized sign or parking space. Provide a gift that will be meaningful to them. Share stories that reflect your organization’s culture. Think about what would get them excited about starting their new job with your company. How could you get them excited about your organization’s mission?
Interpersonal: Be sure someone is there and ready to greet them by name when they arrive. One HR Manager shares that she invites new hires to arrive 30 minutes after the start of the shift on day one. This way, it gives current employees a chance to dash in, grab coffee, get settled and then be ready and able to welcome their new co-worker when they arrive. Build in a social aspect to their day.
Consider beginning an interdepartmental employee committee to welcome new hires. Be sure 2-3 have lunch with the new person. Organizations like Talent Plus in Lincoln, Nebraska have cocktail hour at the end of a new employee’s first day. The new hire’s family is invited and all associates join in to celebrate the talents of their new co-worker.
Finally, If you want to know how to make new employees feel welcome, ask your current ones.
Ask anyone you’ve hired over the last 9 months: On a scale of 1 to 5, how welcome did we make you feel on your first day on the job. If the answer is anything less than a 5, ask what specific actions would have made it a 5. If the answer is a 5, as what specifically was done to achieve that score.
Donna Cutting, CSP is the author of 2 books on customer service, including the bestselling 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. She is the Founder and CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc, leading a team of experts who help leaders engage their teams to improve the customer experience.