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What do I do with the new person?

June 28, 2010
Remember your first day on the job? Probably not if you have been in your current position any length of time. Chances are, you were overwhelmed, disoriented, desperate to make a good impression.  You may even have needed to pee and been unsure of where the restroom was, or what the protocol was.
Now that you’ve been on the job for some time you may in a position to train new hires. As a supervisor, its your job to make your new employees comfortable on their first day. Good preparation is the starting point. Meet with your leadership team and determine who  is responsible for what. Create an orientation and training schedule. Set aside time to cover information about the company such as products and services, management team, place in the market. Also make time to discuss benefits information and policies.
Preparation includes the new person too. Before the first day, call your new hire and let them know:
* what time to be there
* who to ask for
* what the public trans options are or where to park
* let them know what the dress code is
* what tools or equipment to bring
* what the culture is around lunch and breaks – does your building have a cafeteria? does the break room have a microwave? (No one  likes to have a pb&j in her purse all day)
Once the new person arrives, be sure their office or workspace is equipped. They should have any tools or equipment they need. Their passwords and logins should be ready to use. Introduce the newbie to the people in their department and the people they will be  training with.
Next comes the dreaded PAPERWORK. Did the employee complete and application? If they submitted a resume and had a formal interview the application information seems redundant, however it is wise to have the app signed anyway for legal protection. Next is the ever confusing W4. Rule of thumb, the lower the number, the more money goes to the government. Any number greater than 10 is effectively claiming tax exempt status. The IRS frowns upon tax exempt status. Don’t give tax advice, suggest if your employee is having trouble. The I9 is next on the list. You have 3 days from the hire date  to complete the I9, but they should have the documentation if you called them the night before.  The rest of the paperwork will be unique to your organization.  It is best practice  to include something to let your new folks know that sexual harassment and workplace violence won’t be tolerated.
Discuss the employee handbook and policies. If any benefits are immediate or auto opt-in be sure your new hire understands this. You don’t want his or her first pay check to be a shock.
Other Day 1 activities should include a facility tour, include restrooms, break room.  Also conduct a safety tour: eye washes, MSDS sheets, fire extinguishers, emergency exits. Talk about company culture in addition to the facts. You want the new person to feel comfortable and get acclimated quickly.
The new person should have a meaningful task to complete on the first day. Having a task will help them feel valued right away.
The goals of any new hire program is not just to complete paperwork. It is to help the new person feel comfortable in the job. Preparation is key to meeting this goal.
Stay tuned:
next in the new hire series will be Day 2 – Orientation & training.
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