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3 Ways to Create a Powerful Day One Experience for New Hires

employee engagement internal communication people manager strategy people ops problems
3 Ways to Build a Powerful Day One Experience for Your New Hires

 Welcome to People Ops Problems with LeAnne Lagasse, a bi-weekly video series designed to help Business and People/Culture Leaders improve employee engagement, retention, and communication with their employees. Sign up now to get it in your inbox.



Imagine it’s day one of a new job. You’re excited and nervous–wondering if you made the right decision. 

You show up for work, and everyone seems surprised that you’re there–there is no plan. You spend your day filling out paperwork or completing online learning modules. You head home feeling uninspired and underwhelmed.

This scenario makes me lose sleep! Leaders, it should concern you, too. We only get one shot at that day one experience. ๐Ÿคฉ But, you can make a day one experience that leaves your new hires pumped about what’s ahead.

Messaging is Critical

According to the Gallup Organization, only 10% of employees think their employer does a good job onboarding. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ The tasks, activities, and interactions for day one are really missing the mark.

Organizations looking to build powerful experiences need to think critically about the messages being sent during onboarding, especially on day one. New hires should hear these messages:

  • We’ve been expecting you. We knew you were coming and we had a plan. 
  • We’re pumped you are here! Not just pumped that this position is filled–we’re thrilled that you, a unique individual, are here. 
  • This is a special place, and we do important work here. 
  • You have a future here. We care about your growth, development, and career trajectory. 

Have a Plan

Creating a powerful experience starts before day one for new hires. You really want to have the most impact on day one, reducing your new hire’s uncertainty and increasing predictability. 

The worst thing you can do is have a new hire show up and everything feels frantic. The new hire feels like an imposition on everyone who didn’t know they were coming. 

Put yourself in that new hire’s shoes on their first day. They’re probably feeling anxiety about:

  • New roles and responsibilities ๐ŸŒŸ
  • New people and relationships ๐Ÿ‘ฅ
  • New physical or digital spaces where they’re expected to work ๐Ÿข

The new hire probably has a lot of questions! Leaders responsible for onboarding are usually very open about inviting new hires to ask questions, but questions can often feel like the new hire is imposing on the new employer. You may not feel like that’s the case, but new hires often do feel that way.

The best organizations close the loop so the new hire doesn’t even have to ask questions. This can be as simple as communicating with the new hire before day one: 

  • Who they’ll be meeting–send a photo! ๐Ÿ“ท
  • How to access the building ๐Ÿฌ
  • Where to park ๐Ÿš™
  • Lunch plans ๐Ÿ”
  • Office set up–another great photo to share ๐Ÿ’ผ

Showing new hires that you have a plan is half the battle!

Dial-Up Individualization & Customization

The more you can do on day one to show a new hire how excited you are that they are filling a specific position will result in exponential positive outcomes. 

It’s not expensive to individualize a welcome for new hires on day one:

  • On any internal communications networks, such as Slack, Teams, etc., highlight new hires on day one, sharing what makes that new hire unique 
  • Share public-facing messages about the new hire, such as a press release, social media posts, etc. 
  • Reaffirm to the new hire why you specifically hired them in individual or team conversations and connect their qualifications to the job description–this may feel unnecessary, but new hires want reassurance that they’re going to excel in their new role and find belonging in your organization. 

Another easy way to share a welcoming message with new hires is to pay attention during the interview process to their preferences–how they take their coffee, their favorite candy bar, office supplies they like, etc. ๐Ÿซ Having their favorites sitting on their new desk on day one is a small thing that can make a huge impact. It tells the new hire that you were paying attention and you want to demonstrate that you remember those details.

Upload, Not Just Download 

Often, the day-one experience feels like information by fire hose, leaving the new hire feeling overwhelmed and stressed. But, new hires should be able to upload information in addition to just being on the receiving end.  

That means creating spaces during the day one experience where new hires can feel like they’re contributing or communicating. These opportunities give the new hire a feeling of agency and autonomy in their new role. Of course, this will look differently depending on the role and department, but look for opportunities where information can flow upward from the new hire:

  • Offering a time for the new hire to communicate about themselves and their unique identity–especially sharing what parts of the job they’re most excited about because the tasks align with their unique strengths and interests. ๐Ÿ˜Ž
  • Ask new employees to submit feedback on day one about how they’re experiencing your company culture–again, reaffirming the contributions the new hire is going to make, even on day one. โœจ

There you have it! Now you can send the messages new hires crave on their very first day.

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