Stephanie Mauney

2 min read

Human Resources

Onboarding Employees on the First Day

Change is hard. Changing jobs, changing cities, changing homes, changing colleagues, changing bosses- all of these can be overwhelming aspects of starting a new job. Human Resources professionals and managers should strive to make an employee’s first day a positive and impactful experience. The person coming onboard has made a choice to bring their skillset to a new company.

Their first day experience could be the starting point for a tenured, mutually beneficial relationship, or it could be the day they head right back to the job market. Making a good first day impression with a new employee is vital to retention. According to the Society of Human Resources Management

Up to 20 percent of turnover takes place in the first 45 days

Make sure your organization is planning in advance for new hires. Implement a structured schedule and at least one wow factor to guarantee new members of your team walk away from day one excited to return. 

Before Day One

Keep communication channels open prior to an employee’s first day. Touch base before day one to prepare them for what their schedule will look like. Where should they park? Who should they ask for? What do they need to bring? For virtual environments, ensure the employee knows what to expect for day one interaction. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help them prepare or answer any questions they have. 

Day One Goodies

Provide a small gift to help ease the day one jitters. Maybe a gift bag, some company swag, or a coffee. This is an easy and inexpensive way to show employee appreciation right from the start. For remote employees, think about a simple gift shipped straight to the employee. Perhaps a morning treat delivered to their door?

Physical Tour

Pretty basic concept, but preparation for this can make all the difference to giving an employee a feeling of comfort on their first day. Provide a tour, whether physical or virtual, that gives the employee the knowledge to start gaining confidence in the new role.

Tech Prep

Be sure to have all technology pre-set up for the employee’s first day. The last obstacle you want a new hire to be facing is tech issues. Have logins, software, and supplies ready to go for use and training. 


Plan out what Onboarding look like over the next 30, 60, and 90 days. Prepare your new hires for what’s to come. What does week one look like? Provide a plan of action for how they will be integrated into the work, and when independent work will begin. 

Office Announcement

Ask your new hire to share a photo and a small bio about themselves. Share with the office or team they will be working with. Creating a sense of community for a new hire is crucial. This gives a chance for them to become part of the group early on and may inspire connection with their peers.

Lunch on You

Day one nerves can get the best of almost everyone. Make plans to take your new staff member out to lunch, or have a virtual lunch meeting, to take a mental break and focus on building rapport. 


Partner all new hires with a tenured employee. This person can serve a check-in for the new staff. Providing a mentor gives employees someone to look up to and have open conversation with. It can go a long way in encouraging them and answering questions. 


Create a formalized workflow for the human resources team handling day one onboarding. A checklist is a great tool to have as a check and balance. It ensures no steps are left undone. 

A note on what not to do for day one Onboarding

Be sure to never ask new employees to ‘hit the ground running.’ This is a huge red flag. Expecting employee to begin autonomous work without proper onboarding could quickly lead to losing them. Additionally, be careful about information overload. It’s best to allow the employee time to soak everything in. This will set them up for the to succeed with you.

Ultimately, taking the time to properly onboard new hires is to the benefit of every organization. Recruiting, hiring, and training can be costly. Taking the time to create a positive and effective first day experience will lead to increased retention, more efficient operations, and money saved. 

Stephanie Mauney is freelance writer and content curator specializing in Human Resources.

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