What Should a New Employee Do for the First Week?

What Should a New Employee Do for the First Week?

Are you interested in increasing new hire retention by 50 percent? How about boosting your team’s productivity by 62 percent? Then, you need a solid onboarding plan. One study found that companies with an effective onboarding plan retained 91 percent of their first-year hires. And those that just wing it when it comes to onboarding? Their new hire retention rate is an abysmal 50 percent.

Now that you know how much is riding on your new employee onboarding process, how do you go about designing the most effective onboarding plan? While the best onboarding plans extend to the new hire’s first anniversary, it’s your employee’s first week that will make or break the effectiveness of your onboarding plan.

Welcoming New Employees During the First Week

Onboarding provides new hires with the support, encouragement and foundation they need to become successful, long-term employees. The first week of onboarding, when excited new hires are most vulnerable to second-guessing their decision, plays a pivotal role in the success of your onboarding process.

According to The Work Institute’s 2021 Retention Report, the average quit rate among new hires during their first year is about 34 percent. One study found that 40 percent of new hire turnover happens within the first month. So, the first week is all about reassuring the new hire that he or she made the right choice.

Several factors help determine employee longevity. Clear expectations, meaningful work and great friendships are just a few of the reasons good employees decide to stay at their jobs. Making meaningful efforts to engage your new hire on these points during their first week will dispel any lingering doubts they may have about you as an employer.   

On the other hand, leaving new hires to fend for themselves will increase their apprehension. The more your employee is left questioning the basics, such as where to park or what she should do next, the more she will feel like an outsider. Instead of integrating with the team, she’ll be scouring the job sites with her cell phone while eating lunch alone.

New Employee First Day Agenda

The first day at a new job isn’t unlike the first day of school. We all remember that mix of nervousness and excitement when you desperately want something to go well but you’re not sure that it will. Your paperwork and training are important. But even more important is ensuring that when your new hire goes home and is asked by his friends and family how his first day went, he can answer with a resounding “Great!”

Before New Employee’s First Day

Your new employee first day checklist sets the stage for your new hire’s great first day long before you greet him at the door. A series of emails to welcome your new employee before her first day eases first-day jitters. Emailing the following information will help your new hire prepare for his first day:

  • Links to digitized new employee forms for 2022 and policy documents. Provide these links several days before the new hire’s start date.
  • An organizational chart and bios of team members, if available. Invite the new hire to write a brief bio as a way of introduction. Or create a “Get to Know You” questionnaire.
  • Basic information, such as parking, possible road construction, and dress attire.
  • Let him know who his first point of contact will be and also that he will be eating lunch with the team. Be clear about whether the company will provide his lunch.
  • An email of introduction and welcome from the new hire’s supervisor and others on the leadership team. An email from the CEO will help the new hire connect his role to the company’s mission.

Basics of a New Employee’s First Day

When your new hire arrives for her first day of work, the following strategies will help her feel welcomed and integrate more quickly in her role and within the team.

  • Make sure her workstation is fully set up, with all the tools and network access her role requires.
  • Make sure her point of contact introduces her to the team before leaving her.
  • Provide her with tasks. New employees need to be told what to do. You can set her up with training modules or assign her to shadow a fellow employee for the day. Just make sure she has something to do.
  • Plan a team welcome lunch for the new employees to set the stage for collaboration and friendship.

New Employee Checklist Template for the First Week

Your new employee first week schedule template needs to accomplish a few objectives during the first to help ensure your new hire will go on to become a successful long-term employee. These objectives are related to the Four C’s of onboarding: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.

Compliance deals with the documents required for the new employee as well as the necessary safety and anti-discrimination training. Clarification means the new hire understands her new role and how it connects to the company’s mission. Culture loosely refers to the company’s values and how those values translate into its daily operations. Connection refers to the emotional bonds and friendships your new hire will form with her colleagues and the company.

We like to suggest a fifth C: check-in. It’s important to periodically assess how things are going. During check-ins, the feedback the employee provides is just as important as the feedback she receives.

Below is a new hire schedule template for the first week to help you cover all five C’s.

New Hire Checklist Template Before the First Day:

  • Send a series of welcome emails to your new hire.
  • Have new hires fill out digitized paperwork.
  • Set up a workstation with necessary tools, devices and access.
  • Make sure IT sets up all necessary accounts and logins.

New Employee First Day Agenda Template:

  • Make a new employee announcement on the company’s intranet and social media pages.
  • Introduce the new hire to the team and supervisor(s).
  • Provide a tour along with interdepartmental introductions.
  • Introduce the new hire to the executive leadership team, who can then share words of advice for the new employees.
  • Provide a team lunch.
  • Give the new hire a prepared set of tasks.
  • Assign a peer mentor to assist the new hire.
  • During the first week:
  • Send the new hire to work for a day in different departments to help him understand how his role connects throughout the company.
  • Schedule lunch for the new hire with the peer mentor.
  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the new hire’s supervisor to help her gain clarification on the role.
  • Assign training modules to the new hire.
  • Give the new hire a “real” work-related project to demonstrate your confidence in his abilities. Make sure it’s a project he can accomplish with his current company knowledge.
  • Give the new hire a list of coworkers he can contact regarding various issues, such IT or HR related questions.
  • Schedule an orientation during which the new hire learns about the company’s history, mission, values and future direction.
  • Schedule an end-of-the-week check-in to answer any lingering questions or concerns.

Design an Onboarding Day by Day Plan

Providing the best onboarding experience for new hires will improve your employee retention.

Your new employee’s first week is pivotal to your onboarding plan. Anxiety and lingering doubts threaten your new hire’s long-term success. By designing a first week onboarding plan, day by day, you can welcome your new employee to the team and increase his engagement and productivity.

Your first week onboarding plan begins long before you greet your new hire on her first day. By sending out informative and welcoming emails, as well as ensuring her workstation is complete prior to her start date, you help ease her anxieties surrounding a significant life change.

Then, by organizing onboarding first day ideas in which she is enthusiastically welcomed to the team and immediately assigned tasks, you reassure her that her new role is meaningful to the organization. Finally, by creating daily onboarding activities to orient your new hire to the company’s culture, mission and values, you lay the groundwork that will boost your new hire retention rate. And always remember to include opportunities for onboarding experience feedback and answers to questions.

ExactHire’s employee onboarding software, OnboardCentric, can help you create an effective, streamlined and consistent onboarding process for new employees. Take the hassle out of coordinating the moving parts of your onboarding plan digitized paperwork, reminders and more. Schedule your free demo today to find out how ExactHire’s OnboardCentric can increase your new hire retention. 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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