So you’ve decided to add to your team. Good for you. You’re focused on growing your business. And now that you’ve found the right candidate and sealed the deal so to speak, you may think the hard work is over. Let me assure you, the work has just begun, and it’s important you get it right from day one. Let me explain.

Remember, your first day of school? You probably had butterflies flickering in your stomach. What would your teacher be like? Who would you play with? Not knowing what to expect made it all pretty scary.

The first day on a new job is much like the first day of school. A new employee is both excited and apprehensive. With that in mind, you should make the new employee feel comfortable and accepted. Unfortunately, many small business owners spend a significant amount of time and resources carefully recruiting and selecting the right employee, but they drop the ball once they’ve made the hiring decision.

You only have one chance to make a good impression. (I’m sure you’ve heard that before.) That first day on the job sets the tone for your employee’s perception of your company and first impressions are often lasting impressions. As a result, employees who have negative experiences typically don’t stay around for long. That means you’re back at square one. So why not take the time to do it right.

Every business person understands the necessity of getting all the employee paperwork taken care of on the first day. But a good first experience involves much more than filling out forms.

Prior to the first day, mark off sufficient time on your calendar to personally greet the new member of your team. Don’t let them show up and sit around until you’re available. And if you already have other employees, make sure you introduce them to everyone. Spending adequate time on the first day with your new employee to help them feel comfortable and get acclimated should an absolute priority.

Be prepared. Don’t stick the employee in a make-shift work area. Plan ahead and be sure their work space is ready. They should have the proper work tools and supplies they need to get started. In addition, give them an e-mail address, initial password and telephone extension number so they feel as though they are connected. You might also want to give them a specific assignment – something they can get started on to feel as though they are contributing right away.

I remember the first few days on a job once where I was left alone in my new office with a stack of trade magazines and some old memos to review. I honestly thought they had forgotten about me. It was uncomfortable to say the least.

I highly recommend inviting your new employee to lunch. Spend a little time getting to know them better in a less formal setting.

Touch base periodically throughout the day to see how things are going. Make sure they feel comfortable asking questions and learning the ropes.

When an employee resigns from your company, it costs real dollars to fill that void — not to mention the loss in productivity. Once you’ve found a good person to add to your team, take the necessary steps to protect your investment and help ensure they stay. Make the first day a memorable and positive experience.


Did you know Susan has a new book? You can pre-order, It’s Your Biz, right now!

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AvatarSusan Solovic

Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning entrepreneur and journalist, author of three best-selling books, multi-media personality and contributor to ABC News and other outlets, public speaker and attorney.