Most organisations, in my view, do not understand the importance of giving a ‘wow’ experience to the employees on their first day at work. Very unfortunate, but TRUE.
In my own case, about one in three companies that I had worked for during my three decades of work managed to handle my first at work very poorly. In fact at one of the companies where I had joined as Operations In Charge (Number Two rank in the company’s hierarchy in India), my first day was a disaster. My boss, the Managing Director was travelling, the HR Head did not know how to introduce me to the key employees, there was no clarity on what I was expected to do in the first few weeks, and last but not the least, no designated place for me to start my work. I can add few more items that were glaring omissions but the whole experience made me to think if I had joined the right place. Many of my friends and erstwhile colleagues have shared horror stories of their first day at work and are unable to forget their bad experiences. While many organisations seem to have created frameworks, systems and processes to manage the First Day better, it is important to understand that the right human connect is a must to make the new one feel important, and cannot be substituted by technology.
Both the employee and the organisation have high expectations from each other but somehow or other fail to connect the right way on the very first day!
There are several simple measures that organisations can do on the first day that will leave a positive impression in the minds of the new employees. Some of these are:
1. A warm welcome at the time of entry
2. A clearly defined plan and program for induction
3. Work plan for the first few weeks if not months
4. Designated place of work along with the necessary paraphernalia
5. Mail informing employees about the new joiner
6. Conversation with key employees including those who would work with the new one
Of all the organisations that I had worked with, the one that stands out in my memory, was my first day at Lipton in the year 1988. Every single detail to the last had been worked out and was executed very well. At the end of the day, I felt that my decision to have joined Lipton was absolutely right.
We keep hearing and reading about ‘On Boarding’, ‘Employee Engagement’, ‘Performance Management’, ‘Retention Strategy’ and many other terms doing the rounds the implementation of which would lead to increased employee motivation and participation. In my view, organisations can and should take care of the first day of their new employees, as it is an important step to ensure that employees feel part of the organisation and are motivated to do their best.