How to create a lasting first impression on new employees | 5 best practices

First impressions matter, especially in a work environment. According to research by Zippia, it costs up to 40% of the base salary just to fill a vacant role, which can take anywhere from 36 to 42 days in the United States. 

Onboarding is very stressful. There are forms to fill, new people to get acquainted with, skills to learn, and roles to take on. There’s so much to get accustomed to, and employees can feel left in the cold if they have to figure out everything themselves.

But those first few weeks are also the best time to set the stage, immerse new hires into your company culture, make them a part of the family, and create a lasting first impression that will lead to higher employer satisfaction and retention.

Why is a positive first impression important?

Why do you need to take time to impress new hires with your company’s uniqueness when you can just send them a bunch of forms to fill while you recite the same generic “welcome to the family” line you tell all your employees?

Does that extra warmth make a difference?

Actually, it does. It can make or break your employee experience, and here’s why.

  1. Better employee retention

During those first couple of weeks, when employees still have nostalgia for their former workplace or have doubts about working with a totally new team, you need to reassure them by creating a warm, welcoming environment they can stick around long enough to figure out how your company works.

  1. Increased enthusiasm

Giving a positive first impression suggests to the employee that you value your employees and the organization at large. It immediately makes them want to reciprocate the same energy and enthusiasm they have received from you.

If an employee feels they are just one out of many on the payroll, there will be a decline in the enthusiasm they put into work. A positive first impression increases productivity in workers as they feel excited and honored and will want to give their best in return.

  1. Reduced anxiety

As we’ve said before, switching jobs is stressful. Sometimes, new employees have to move locations on top of changing their position, making the process even harder. But giving them a warm welcome helps ease the anxiety of all they’ve been through.

No one wants to work in a hostile and unfriendly environment, so giving them a positive, lasting memory should be one of your highest priorities to help them function efficiently. 

  1. Stronger company culture

Strong company culture is essential for businesses that want to stay afloat. Research shows that company culture isn’t only crucial for existing employees, but 46% of job seekers consider it an important factor too. 

Companies with a strong culture are associated with an increased productivity level and higher employee engagement.Moreover, with increase in productivity, employees would be able to create more leads and increase sales. Creating a positive first impression fosters unity, leading to stronger company culture.

  1. Increased productivity

Satisfied employees are 12% more productive than the average worker. They work harder with more enthusiasm and creativity and usually exceed expectations. 

A worker left out in the cold regarding his onboarding will immediately understand that they are just one of the many individuals who draw a paycheck from the company. But when an intentional effort is put into making a positive first impression, they want to perform better and be more productive at work.

Increased productivity reduces operational costs while increasing profitability which every business desires. Also using SaaS software like mobile device management can increase productivity even higher as it gives IT teams visibility and control required to secure, manage and monitor any corporate-owned or employee-owned devices that access corporate data. Use of digital management creates an optimal digital onboarding process – preparing new employees to start their roles straight away.

5 tips for creating the perfect first impression

Making a positive first impression has many benefits. But you can only achieve them if you have proper practices and structures for the perfect onboarding experience.

Here are 5 tips for creating the perfect onboarding experience.

  1. Make new hires feel special

Making the new hire feel special eases them of the anxiety that comes with the whole process of entering a new workplace. Try giving them a welcome gift, send a personalized email, or arrange for them to meet the other employees in a warm and friendly environment. The best time to do this is during your first 1:1 with your new employee. This is your best bet for making an employee feel special and honored.

  1. Assign meaningful tasks

Every motivated new hire wants to make a great first impression on their employers by jumping straight into work so that they can be productive and useful to the organization. However, when that enthusiasm is met with tons of unnecessary paperwork, things can get messy. 

If you want to get the most out of your new employee, try to take care of all the formalities and signatures during the onboarding process. Then, once they’re scheduled to start, let them browse your knowledge base and assign them meaningful tasks they can sink their teeth into. But don’t forget to consider their experience and skills so you don’t overwhelm them with projects they can’t deal with. 

It is also vital you establish strong communication channels with your latest team member so they always have a way to contact you and ask questions. And one of the best ways to do that is by setting up a communication plan for your company.

  1.  Assign a mentor

It can be overwhelming being the new guy among strangers. But this is where a mentor comes in handy. They help integrate new hires into the system, introduce them to company practices, show them around, and give a helping hand when needed.

But perhaps most importantly, assigning a mentor signals to the employee that you care about their well-being at the company and want to see them succeed. Suffice to say, it can help create a great first impression.

  1. Prepare the paperwork and onboarding tools

It is necessary to prepare the paperwork even before the new hire shows up, as onboarding a new hire can get very monotonous, leading to a decline in the employee’s enthusiasm. To help prevent that, incorporate smart e-forms and digital signatures to automate the paperwork. This will reduce the time spent on paperwork and help you hit the ground running.

Company Apps can be used to deliver that first impression in a more efficient and effective way. Developing an app for iPhone and Android can help new employees quickly learn about the company culture and values, find information about their job roles, and access company policies and procedures. They can also provide employees with quick access to helpful resources such as training materials, job postings, and feedback from colleagues. By providing a comprehensive introduction to the workplace through an app, organizations can help ensure that new employees start off on the right foot.

  1. Request for feedback

Feedback is crucial for the onboarding process on both your and the new employee’s sides. By giving the new hire an opportunity to offer honest employee feedback you can improve your hiring process and show them you value their opinion.

Similarly, you should offer constructive criticism on their performance in return. Creating clear lines for communication and a safe space for discussion is vital in managing expectations and building a healthy, long-lasting relationship with your employees.

First impressions set the stage for a great work experience

You have only one chance to make a great first impression on your employees, and you don’t want to ruin that chance. This is why all hands should be on deck to ensure that the onboarding process for every employee is a memorable one. When employees have a great time working with you, their productivity skyrockets, and the organization gets to realize its goals.