Your people, your profits: The first day

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by Andrew Corcoran"First impressions count" is not just a turn of phrase - it's true. Keeping staff involves ensuring their expectations are met and...

by Andrew Corcoran

"First impressions count" is not just a turn of phrase - it's true. Keeping staff involves ensuring their expectations are met and that they feel wanted. This starts on the very first day they come to work.

I am sure there have been occasions when you've started a new job and you've turned up and there's no plan for the first day, let alone the first week or month.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. You need to establish a plan and some procedures to introduce new staff members to your organisation. But how do you do this? Here are some ideas to consider:

  • at least one week before the new person starts, make time to develop a plan or take out the old plan and refresh your memory. The plan should be a timetable for the first few weeks at work
  • any uniforms, handbooks, security passes and so on should be prepared at this time. How will it seem to a new employee if you don't have their T-shirt ready? It's almost certain they won't feel wanted and will make an adverse judgement about the organisation itself
  • tell all the current employees that you have a new employee. Talk to them about how important it is that they become part of the team. Use this as an opportunity to ask your people about the things that would have made their first days at work better. Listen to their ideas and include them in your plan
  • ensure that you or a responsible staff member is available to greet the new employee on their first day. Don't keep them waiting. Be enthusiastic, welcome them to the team. Praise them for their performance in the interview. Recognition is one of the best forms of motivation and it's never too early to start recognising people's efforts
  • tell the new staff member the plan. Tell them what is going to happen on each day. Tell them what they should expect and listen to them when they ask questions. This helps to make them feel wanted and part of the team
  • have all the necessary documents ready the evening before and make it easy for the employee to complete the legal and administrative requirements. This bureaucracy needs to be done so get it out of the way so you can concentrate on training the new staff member
  • deliver the plan. The key to credibility is doing what you say. If on the first day, the training and the work are exactly as promised the new employee will start to trust you and the team. If you don't deliver then trust and loyalty will be slower to develop
  • remember, last impressions count too. Take 15 minutes at the end of the first shift or each of the first few shifts to review the day, thank the new employee and listen to their opinions. This will really make them feel wanted.

So now you've recruited and introduced your new staff to your business you've got to keep them motivated and loyal throughout their career with you. Tips and techniques to help retain your employees will be covered in my next few articles.

This is part of a series of articles by Andrew Corcoran, who was formerly a country manager and department head for McDonald's. He now runs his own consultancy and is a senior lecturer at the Business School of the University of Lincoln and an associate lecturer at Oxford Brookes University.

Other articles in the series can be read on in the Training section of the Your Business area. Click on each to read the full article:

  • Introduction - soft skills
  • Recruitment planning
  • Interviewing & selection

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