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Employee Retention Begins on Day One

Uncategorized Mar 16, 2017

Do you remember your first day on the job?

What was it like? Was it structured around meetings, getting your computer password, getting your ID card? Did you get a tour through the facility and have a chance to meet with your team members to get to know them and so they can get to know you?

Or, were you shown your cubicle/desk and told “Good Luck”?

I recently spoke with several people who have recently experienced a nightmare onboarding.

  • Three weeks in and one person still don’t know how to sign up for her benefits, and doesn’t even know who to ask.
  • Two weeks in and another still had no computer access. This person was having to get his work done via his phone and personal email account.
  • Another person had to wait FOUR MONTHS for her business cards.
  • One person was in charge of unlocking and locking the office door, but was not given a key for 8 DAYS!

I know, I know. Large companies can get overwhelmed by bringing so many people on board at once and can get backlogged. But this happens in smaller businesses too. No excuse.

As the leader, it is your job to prepare to onboard your new employees. They can’t concentrate on their work until they are settled in and their needs are taken care of.

Make a checklist of everything that needs to be covered.  Think through what that person will need—anticipate getting those needs taken care of before or on the first day.

Even before the first day, send your new hire an email welcoming them, that you look forward to having them join the team, and let them know when and where to report on their first day.

When the big day rolls around, make sure the practical needs are taken care of, such as where to put their lunch and where the restrooms are. They need to log on to their computer and email, make sure they understand how they get paid. Benefits are a big question mark, so make sure time is set aside for a conversation with your benefits person. Order business cards and supply their desk with office supplies.

Create a schedule for the person’s first few days so that they are not sitting at their desk wondering what to do.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and a lot can be learned by a new employee about the company by how their on-boarding is handled. Employee retention begins the first day on the job.


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