How can employees be engaged from their very 1st day at work?

Here is how employers can win the hearts of the new entrants and lay the foundation for a long and fruitful relationship.

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Who said only the new entrants are worried about creating a good impression on the first day at work? Their employers are equally focussed on putting their best foot forward and starting off on a good note. After all, it is the strength of their relationship with the new hires that will determine the productivity and engagement levels of the workforce.

While it is true that organisations invest a lot on their new recruits, it is important for them to keep in mind that a significant number of new entrants quit within six months of joining. If better opportunities come their way, they will not think twice before grabbing them in those six months. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the employees truly start feeling a sense of belonging from the very first day. Only then can they remain engaged, stay loyal and give their best.

Employee experience impacts everything in your business—productivity, retention, your workplace culture, and the level of engagement of the workforce. And employee experience begins from the day the employee steps inside the workplace. Also, employee experience is a term that covers everything that employees experience at their place of work— their interactions with their superiors, the tools and technology they use, their workstations, and the teams they work in among other things.

So how can employers ensure that the new hires fall for their workplace and employers on their first day at work?

1. Engage them early on: It is up to the employers to ensure that the new entrants are well informed about the organisation’s culture, achievements, growth journey, values, and so on. Videos and infographics can be used to provide them this information well before their date of joining. Employers should focus on creating a good career website and be in constant touch with the candidates right up to their day of joining. This will let them know that the organisation is preparing for their arrival and also ensure that they show up on the first day, and not ghost, as many candidates do.

2. Make the new hires feel welcome: If new hires feel that their co-workers are somewhat familiar with them and realise that they were aware of their arrival, it is easier to break the ice. For instance, any new entrant being shown to her department would feel very welcome if the faces she sees smile back at her and greet her by addressing her by her first name. This can only happen if the organisation has sent out a mail to everyone or at least the respective departments informing of the joining of a new person, and introducing that person. One or two of her team members can be assigned the task of showing her around, and introducing her to everyone — something similar to the ‘buddy’ system that schools often follow for new students who join in the middle of the term. And yes, help her join a car pool in the office. That is one of the best ways to make friends.

3. Keep their workstation ready: On the very first day, the new entrants should be able to settle down at their workstations. While modern offices are doing away with the system of fixed workstations altogether, some offices cannot do without them. In such workplaces, employees should be given the keys to their drawers or lockers, assigned their laptops or desktops (in perfect working condition and hooked to the network) on the very first day. Their workstations should be absolutely clean so that the employees feel good about the workplace and about starting their stint.

4. Involve them in the work: It is very common for new entrants to spend their first few days feeling bored because the employers go out of their way to ensure that they are not burdened with work. They also try to ensure that the employees get enough time to ‘take in’ the environment and settle in. But actually, most youngsters are raring to go. It would be a good idea to give them small tasks to do on the first day itself—work that can be easily done by them. This builds their confidence, gives them a chance to interact with the other team members and also understand the job.

5. Encourage them to talk: Ask the new entrants what they feel about the office, the team and the work. Take their feedback so that they feel that their opinions are valued. This goes a long way in instilling a feeling of belongingness.

6. Set their goals: On the first day itself, the employees should be made aware of their goals, both long- and short-term. They should know what is expected of them. They should be clear about their job roles and be able to set job-specific goals. Help them set attainable, job-specific and measurable goals without imposing. Encourage them to suggest goals on their own.

Employers should ensure that new entrants feel at home on their first day. Of course, introductions, welcome gifts, an ice-breaker lunch, and so on are all things that are followed as a standard. No matter what you do, remember not to leave them to get settled on their own. This doesn’t work. Make them feel wanted, appreciate their skills while introducing them to their team members and take time off your schedule, no matter how busy or tight, to spend some time with them. They need to feel valued. Their first day at work should be their most comfortable, pleasant and memorable, so that they go home eager to return the next day, and again and again, for a long long time!

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