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Day 1 - The Opportunity for Employers to Make a Great First Impression

Day 1 - The Opportunity for Employers to Make a Great First Impression

When applicants are going through the interview and selection process, they seem acutely aware of the concept of making a good first impression. They spend time and energy thinking about how they will present for the interview, what to put in a cover letter or e mail, the perception that their resume will have in the market place and of course what they will say at the beginning of the interview and throughout.

But when the shoe is on the other foot, as an employer are we forgetting that a first impression is equally as important?

Preparing for an employee's first day on the job is about more than ticking boxes, filling out forms, and making sure they know where the kitchen, bathroom and bosses desk are. The first day is your opportunity to make your new staff member feel welcomed, comfortable, relaxed and ultimately confident that they have made the right decision in joining your company.

Here are my top tips to help make day 1 a success, and more quickly get your new starter up, running and productive!
1) Get organised: if you don't have time get someone else in the team to help. Have their workstation organised, their e mail set up, their computer ready to go and any other tools of the trade, stationary, paperwork etc organised and ready to go. This is also an opportunity for you to set the work area up to reflect how you want and expect this person to work, so that it fits with the flow of the business and the rest of the team;
2) Take time: make sure you have allocated enough time to spend with the new starter on their first day, make them feel welcome and know what they are going to do. In small business this can be very very tricky, but if you know you are not going to be able to spend the time with them yourself, arrange for one or several of the other team members to do so, or have a list of tasks they can start working through when you get tied up through the day;
3)  Put yourself in their shoes: think back to your first day in a new job, or ask one of the team about their first day with you, and think about the information which would have been useful to know. Think bigger than the office space around you, where to get the best coffee, what's in the local area, what does everyone do for lunch, where to locate stationary, who to ask for different things etc etc. it's all these little things that will make the new starter feel more comfortable more quickly;
4) Find a balance: on their first day you don't want to bombard them with so much information and responsibility that it's overwhelming, but nor do you want them to be so bored they see no interest or challenge in the role. Find a balance between the training and laborious stuff they need to do, and some interesting and creative projects to start to get their mind working for the good of the business;
5) Set the standards: Day 1 is your opportunity to start setting the tone and standard for what is and is not acceptable in the organisation. This might be communication, client contact, use of confidential information, or any general and even unwritten rules around conduct in the workplace.

Employers can often forget the importance of a great first day. It's a rare opportunity to generate excitement and momentum with the new team member, which can be contagious for the rest of the team. Done well, a great first day means your new starter is on board and performing as a productive member of the team more quickly leaving you to get back to running your business and doing what you do best.

An Invitation
If you'd like to connect with other business owners, leaders and managers in a group focused on all things HR, people and team management we'd love for you to join us over on our free Facebook Group - www.facebook.com/groups/hrsupportaustralia

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