Things You MUST Communicate to New Employees

3 Things You MUST Communicate to New Employees on Day 1

You only get one shot at a first impression – make it a good one.

Picture this: Your newest employee has just wrapped up Day 1 on the job. He returns home to his family, who ask him, “Well, how was it?”.

Considering your current onboarding processes, how might this new employee respond? Was he impressed and excited? Or, did he feel confused or bored the entire day?

According to Gallup, only 10% of employees strongly agree that their company does a good job onboarding. This means we’re making a lot of mistakes, especially on the first day.

New employees are often made to feel as though they’re:

  1. 1. In the way. It’s not uncommon for new employees to get the impression that their arrival was some big surprise. If their workspace isn’t set up or people are dismissal, they’re going to feel like an intruder instead of a part of the team.


  1. 2. Worth Ignoring. Unfortunately, for many new employees, their first impression on Day 1 is formed after sitting in a room by themselves all day, filling out paperwork and completing online modules. This can be a startling contrast to the wooing of the potential employee that took place during the interview phase.

While these messages are unfortunately the norm, the most exceptional companies communicate these 3 things instead:


1. “We’ve been expecting you”

Think about strategic ways to prepare the employee, his/her colleagues, and the physical space.

  • – Meet your new employee in the parking lot.
  • – Assign a mentor to escort her throughout the day.
  • – Inform others of the new arrival so they can greet their new co-worker by name.
  • – Have a welcome package set up on their desk that includes the company logo and her name on prominent items.
  • – Take care of onboarding paperwork before their first day so you already have their information.


2. “This is a special place and we do important work”

New employees want to feel connected to the larger vision and mission of the company. Think of creative ways to share the company culture and values, while also communicating the role that the new employee will play on the team. This message is most powerful when it comes from the top so we recommend bringing in executive leadership to share stories about how the work impacts real people. CEO not always available? No problem. This can also be a pre-recorded message. A modern HRIS like GoCo can help you manage communication between company leadership and new hires.


3. “You’ve got a future here”

Most companies neglect to focus on employee career development early in the onboarding process, but communicating these messages on the first day will ensure your new employees leave the office excited to get to work.

One simple and powerful tool you can use is the Individual Development Plan (IDP), a document that is co-created by the manager and employee and focuses on career aspirations, strengths, and long-term learning and development needs. While you won’t be able to finish an IDP on Day 1, we recommend assigning the first draft so that you communicate your long-term investment in the individual. Use an HRIS to create a reusable template so you always have a draft on hand.

Interested in more information about onboarding? Sign up for information about upcoming blogs and watch our webcast “5 Reasons Your Onboarding Process Falls Flat”

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Delia O'Steen

Delia J. O'Steen is co-owner of ROI Talent Development, a Texas-based HR consulting firm. She is also a faculty member and the Director of Business and Professional Communication in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University.

Reader Interactions


  1. Ryan McInnes says

    The Gallup statistic is shockingly bad. With so many resources put into ATTRACTING and hiring new people and the development of induction and onboarding programmes, sometimes it is the human element that is lost out.


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