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3 Ways to Give New Employees a Great First Day That Makes Them Excited to Be Part of Your Team As a manager, you don't want to just hire good people. You want them to stay.

By Scott Greenberg

Key Takeaways

  • Before you train new employees on the job, train them in your culture.
  • Making a good first impression as a manager helps new hires mentally commit to staying with you.
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The following is an excerpt from business expert Scott Greenberg's new book, Stop the Shift Show: Turn Your Struggling Hourly Workers Into a Top-Performing Team, available now.

As a manager of hourly employees, you may be eager to get new recruits working as soon as possible. But remember: you also want them to stay.

Before you train them on the job, train them in your culture. Don't just tell them what your mission and values are. Discuss them. At In-N-Out Burger, no one puts on the red apron until they've watched a series of videos explaining their culture and ways of doing things. A lot of great hourly workplaces use videos, information packets, and even quizzes to confirm new employees understand the culture they're joining. Make sure new employees appreciate who you are as an organization, not just what you do. Share stories of your culture so they can understand how your workplace is different. Even better, have other employees explain the culture. It'll be more credible if it comes from co-workers.

Buy 'The Shift Show' Now: Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Never underestimate the emotional rawness of starting a new job. Here are some ways to get new employees comfortable and excited about being on the team.

Create your own welcoming customs

New employees have probably applied for other jobs and may still be communicating with those employers when they start with you. You need to make a good first impression so they mentally commit to staying with you. You also want to set them up for success.

It's nerve-racking to start a new job—not just because they're having to learn how to do new tasks, but also because they're joining a new team. People worry about how they're going to fit in, what their social role will be, how to remember who everyone is, and how people get along. A first day at work is like your first day at a new school. Remember, we create culture on three fronts—in the head, in the heart, and on the floor. Your first priority is the heart, which means easing those first-day feelings.

Begin with a memorable, warm reception. Hang a sign with their name and perhaps some festive decorations to welcome them to their new family. Have co-workers greet them at the door with a round of applause. Give them a welcome basket or bag of goodies. You'll never get another opportunity to create this moment, so give them something to tell their friends and family about.

Rituals like this also communicate something to the rest of your team— that new people are important and should be treated with kindness. Your team is probably wondering how this new person will impact the work environment. A good welcome ritual cuts through that initial iciness and promotes camaraderie.

I met one business owner who sends new employees home with a small gift for their family and a note thanking them for sharing their loved one. He commits to protecting their well-being and invites the family to visit the workplace sometime. This may seem a bit over-the-top, but it's an interesting way to win over an employee's family and stand out from other employers. As the owner told me, "You can never have too many people telling your employees how lucky they are to work for you!"

Be sure to take photos of your welcome customs. Share them with the new team member and post them on social media. Let the world see your hospitality toward your employees and see how you should be the employer of their choice.

Assign a mentor

Mentors (sometimes called "coaches," "big brothers/sisters," or "buddies") can offer guidance without eliciting the anxiety new employees sometimes feel around their boss. Co-worker mentorships promote a more collaborative atmosphere and get your team invested in one another's success.

Also use this first day to establish your relationship with the new employee. Explain your management style. Inquire about their goals, how they'd like to grow, and what kind of management they respond to. Find out what they like (which you can use later for rewards and incentives). Explain your approach to providing feedback. Let them know you'll be checking in with them from time to time, and what to expect from those conversations. Help them see you as an advocate for their growth, not just an authority figure.

Don't issue a uniform, give them swag

Clothing creates community. Sports jerseys and caps, college sweatshirts, military battle dress, and other uniform attire don't just identify people's affiliations—they promote them. But the power of clothing doesn't lie in what people are wearing. It's in their relationship to it. There's a pride that comes with visual affiliation. It feels good to be part of an institution with other members. Clothing is a way of saying to the world, "I'm part of this group."

That's how you want your employees to relate to the clothing you provide them. Whether it's Walmart's blue vest, UPS' browns, or anything with McDonald's golden arches, the smart use of uniforms can create a sense of belonging.

Make a fuss over your company clothing. Don't "issue uniforms." Instead, give them "swag." Put the uniform in a gift bag, perhaps the one you give them on their first day. Or consider starting them with a low-key (i.e., cheaper) shirt or hat and let them earn the official gear once they complete training. Make it a moment when they earn their stripes. Offer additional branded clothing as prizes and incentives.

Presentation matters, and so do rituals. Honor your colors. Let employees feel lucky to receive a uniform, rather than burdened to wear one.

Get more management tips and strategies from 'Stop the Shift Show,' available now at the Entrepreneur Bookstore.

Scott Greenberg

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Franchise Expert, Speaker & Author

Scott Greenberg designs game-changing steps to grow businesses, build high-performing teams and create unforgettable customer experiences. For ten years Scott was a multi-unit, award-winning franchise owner with Edible Arrangements. His operation won international recognition: "Best Customer Service" and "Manager of the Year," out of more than 1000 locations worldwide. Today he's a sought-after international speaker, consultant and franchise coach, with clients that include McDonalds, Great Clips, GNC, RE/MAX, Smoothie King, Global Franchise Group and countless other companies in all 50 U.S. states and throughout the world. He's also a VIP Contributing Writer for Entrepreneur.com. Going beyond numbers and profits, Scott delves into the human-side of business to help organizations boost performance and make a memorable impact on the lives of customers and employees. Scott is the bestselling author of The Wealthy Franchisee (2020), as well as his newest book Stop the Shift Show (2024).

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