Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Six reasons why employees hate their first day and how you can make it better

First day at the new job - You show up, wait in the lobby until someone recognizes you’re the “newbie,” human resources walks you through a presentation on the company, helps you fill out the necessary forms, gives you a tour of the building, and drops you off at your desk just in time for lunch, which will most likely be alone. The first task on your to-do list is finding the bathroom that was somehow left out of that extensive company tour.

It’s no wonder why many new hires hate their first day on the job. After such an awkward and stressful day, it may take all they have not to run for the door to never be seen or heard from again.

Remember that first impressions go both ways and your company should be making the same effort to welcome a new hire, as they try to show you that hiring them was a good decision.

Here are the top reasons why people usually hate their first day on the job and some ways you can make it a better experience.

1. The company tour skipped a room or two. It may seem like a small thing for someone who has been working in the same building for five years, but the bathroom may be a tough find for a newbie. Don’t forget to show new employees where little, but important things are such as the supply closet, break rooms and bathrooms.

2. Their manager was missing in action all day. Busy days and deadlines are inevitable. As a manager, do your best to block out time to spend with the new hire. If that can’t happen, pair the new employee up with someone who can. It can help ease any first day anxiety and possibly kick start a new office friendship.

3. They were overloaded with lists of rules. Signing the employee handbook is an important step during any onboarding process, but telling someone all the reasons they could be fired may not be the best introduction to the company. Give an employee some time to get a feel for the office culture before throwing the rulebook in front of them.

4. They’re confused as to what their job is and how they’ll be doing it. Sometimes a first day is so full of paperwork and legalities that no one seems to mention why the employee was hired. Talk about the new employee’s responsibilities, show them a little of what they’ll be working on and the tools they’ll be using to get their job done.

5. They were starving all day. Even when it’s not your first day, eating lunch alone is sad. Look at an employee’s first day as an excuse for everyone to go out to lunch. It will help the new employee get a feel for the company culture and turn strangers in the hall into friendly faces.

6. They had a serious case of information overload by the end of the day. The first day at a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone. Don’t overwhelm a new person with too much information, or too many people to remember. Try to spread out the information and introductions over the first few weeks.

The best way to know how to handle onboarding new employees is to look back at your personal experiences. Try to remember all of the things you didn’t like about your first day and make an effort to change that for the new employee.

If you’re one of the extremely lucky ones and can’t remember any bad moments, do a quick survey of your coworkers to find out what they hated about their first day and what could have been done to fix it.

Employees want to know they made the right decision by taking the new job. Don’t let a bad first day have the new hire rethinking their decision. Do your best to make them feel like a part of the team as soon as possible.

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