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Posted: July 08, 2013

Try doing it Apple-style

Make your new hire's first day count

Derek Murphy

Remember those first-day-of-school jitters? You were nervous with anticipation and, as a result, probably slept very little wondering where your classes were and what your new teachers were like (stickler for rules or laid-back and fun)? That’s not even considering all the social issues that arise such as who would be in your class and where you would sit for lunch at the cafeteria.

We all hoped that those first-day jitters ended as soon as we received our high school and college diplomas, but as I’m sure you’re aware, that is not the case. Whenever one starts a new job, they are faced with those exact same apprehensive feelings.

One of the most irritating things is not being in control. And no matter what role they are entering, at least when it comes to that first day of work, the new hire has little control of what will happen. Not only are new hires worried about the big picture (such as their career) they also have to figure out where the restrooms are, what type of lunch break the company has, and just in general, learning the lay of the land for the company. So in a sense, they walk into a new company completely blind and vulnerable.

I remember the days when a new hire would join a company and on their first day, they were greeted with a stack of papers and a series of training videos. That, my friends, is a rather boring approach to take. Managers should take a specialized interest in their new hires. It’s up to you to not only make sure your employee understands their role and responsibilities but also just make them feel welcomed and part of the team.

Why is onboarding so important? Well, according to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, companies lose about 25 percent of all new employees within a year. The survey found that employees are more likely to leave smaller companies because of job performance and pay, and are more likely to leave large companies because of working conditions.

So don’t wait until it’s too late – make sure your new hires are engaged with the company starting on day one.

When people feel supported, acknowledged and respected for their work, they are likely to be committed to reaching their goals and loyal to the organization. Managers have a major impact on the behaviors that increase commitment and people will work hard because they like the organization and are challenged by the work that they do.

You should work to instill an atmosphere characterized by trust, honesty, frequent and direct feedback, fair evaluations, and recognition and respect for one's contribution.

When introducing the new employees to the company, show your enthusiasm as you talk about the team’s goals and vision. You should present examples of when the team has pitched in and worked together. Your personal commitment to the team will likely inspire your new hire to commit fully.

But here’s the key. Don’t just spend all your time talking about the work atmosphere and such; make sure you get your new hire working. Put your new hire on a project that gets them working with others, which helps them get to know the team, and also allows them to contribute to the company from the start.

The fastest way to eliminate any nerves is to be able to actually do some tangible work. That will help them start a routine much quicker.

I think we can all learn a little bit from how Apple approaches onboarding. Here’s what new employees receive on their first day:

There’s work and there’s your life’s work.

The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end.

They want their work to add up to something.

Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Welcome to Apple.

How do you approach onboarding at your company?

Derek Murphy is CEO of TBC, a global assessment company with over 4 decades of experience, specializing in 360s and survey customization. Our hosting platform, TruScore®, allows you to manage all of your talent management assessments in one central location. Request a demo to discover why some of the most recognized brands in the Fortune 1000 chose TBC.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Some good reminders here. First imprressions are huge - from BOTH perspectives. I like your idea about getting the newbie on a project right away so that they are engaged and contributing. People rarely remember what their Trainer/Manager said,, but how that person made them FEEL, especially those critical first few days on the job. Good lookin' out. By Laura Cook Newman on 2013 07 08
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