Don't Take Them For Granted

Let's face it. It is tough to find high quality people. While national unemployment figures are mixed over the past year, there are many markets that are still classified as tight labor markets. In these markets, especially, this means that just about anyone who wants to work is already working, so to attract good people, managers must put on their selling shoes and persuade candidates that the grass is greener on their side of the fence.

When I interview a newly hired employee, it's sometimes like listening to a couple who have recently returned from their honeymoon. What happened to all of the bouquets of flowers, the love notes and impromptu candlelight dinners that were so much a part of the dating process? Much of the romance seems to disappear soon after newlyweds settle into the routine of marriage.

The same scenario often occurs when owners or managers bring in a sharp new employee that they have been romancing for several months trying to persuade him or her to leave a current job and join a new business team.

After completing a warm and professional hiring process with management, the new employee's first day on the job can be a real shock. More times than not, the new hire reports for work only to be greeted by a sea of quizzical looks from veteran workers who had no idea that new employee had been hired.


Bringing in a new employee to your company carries a lot of responsibility. The way the orientation process is handled is critical. The new employee's initial impression can make a big difference in both attitude and performance over the long term. If managers will discipline themselves to follow a few well-thought-out procedures, they can create an environment that will increase the comfort level of both the new employee and the existing staff.

1. Well in advance of the new employee's first day on the job, send a packet of information on your company. Included in this packet might be the following:

  • your insurance booklet,
  • information on the company's profit-sharing plan,
  • a current organizational chart,
  • your company newsletter,
  • your company brochure,
  • your company policy manual, and
  • some samples of your advertising material and anything else you believe will familiarize the new hire with the company.

2. Advise the new employee's coworkers of his or her arrival date, but be careful not to oversell the new employee's credentials. Existing employees are naturally a bit insecure anytime someone new comes on board, so overselling may cause the new hire to be perceived as a bit of a threat.

3. See that the new employee's workstations are prepared for his or her arrival. There's nothing more frustrating than to arrive on that first day on a new job and find that you have no desk, no place to sit, no computer and no materials to work with.

4. Hand new employees an activity schedule that you have planned for their first couple of weeks on the job. This will keep them from suffering from that "lost feeling."

5. At least for the first week on the job, assign a different coworker to take your new hire to lunch each day and include the coworker's name and job title on the activity schedule.

6. Assign each new employee a mentor who has been around long enough to know the ropes. Be sure to select the mentor carefully. Choose mentors who are respected by their coworkers and who will unselfishly help the new employee's orientation period to be as pleasant as possible.

7. If the new employee has been hired from outside the area and has a spouse, be sure to arrange a warm welcome for them both. Assign an appropriate person to show them around and answer questions about the community, neighborhoods, schools, etc.

The first few days on the job can either be a great beginning or a nightmare for new employees. It's management's job to make sure that new hires' initial impressions of the company give them every reason to believe that they made the right decision when they chose your organization.

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