The Importance Of Day One On A New Job

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With a freshly minted degree in Communications, our youngest daughter started a new job last September for a global media-planning agency. Their website touted how much they invest in the development and training of their employees and how important each employees career was to them.

All excited for her first job out of college, she showed up for “Day One” on the job. Her new boss was gone that day. The receptionist finally showed her to her desk. She met virtually no one that day. Got no office tour. She ate lunch alone and at the end of the day came home with an uneasy feeling in her gut about the job. It only got worse.

Her “Day One” impression, as they usually are, was a pretty accurate indicator of how the firm really was to work for. After 7 months she couldn’t take it anymore, took another job and left them.

Now contrast this – This week she started her new position as an Assistant Account Executive at a good sized advertising and marketing agency. Yesterday was “Day One”. When she arrived in the morning she was expected, warmly greeting and walked to the office where her new boss was waiting for her.   Her new boss gave her an office tour, introduced her around and showed her the layout. When she was shown her new desk there were flowers on it with a welcome card. Human Resources had also put donuts there. At noon she was taken to lunch by the whole team she would be on. In the afternoon her boss took her to internal meetings she thought would be good for her.

I spoke to her that night. She was over the moon and in love with her new employer! That’s because they paid enormous attention to the detail of “Day One”!

What do you do on Day One for a new employee you’ve hired? The answer is critical.

Day One for your new employee should:

*Demonstrate They Are Valued – Day One should be special, one they’ll not forget for how great it was. They should feel immediately welcome, wanted and valued as a new member. It should reinforce immediately that they made the right decision to join your organization.

*Be Planned And Scheduled – From the time they walk in the door until they leave at night, Day One needs an arranged and intentional schedule to get them introduced to people and lined up with benefits. And, it should be a federal crime if a new employee has lunch alone on Day One. This should never, ever happen….ever.

*Get Them Into Meetings – Just sitting around as a new hire on Day One sucks and sends a bad message. Letting them attend meetings Day One says, “We’ve got meaningful stuff for you to do right away and we’re anxious to leverage what you’re bringing to the table”.

*Give Them A Sponsor – They should be assigned to and meet a person besides their boss who will help them make it their first six months. This should be someone who has been there a while, knows the ropes, wants to make sure they succeed, wants to be a resource, will meet with them regularly just to talk and knows that the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.

*Have The Technology They Will Use Totally Ready – Their laptop, desk phone, voice mail, internal email, door cards/ID’s, copier cards – everything needed for day-to-day operational success should be on their desk and ready for their use.

So here’s the net, net. Day One can make or break a new hire. The influence of the experience that day will last forever. Make them feel welcome, special, put the odds of success in their favor and make sure they know their decision to join your company was the right one.


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