“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.” – Henrik Ibsen
A new employee’s first few days on the job has a big impact on how fast he/she ramps-up to meeting and exceeding your expectations. I’m the first to admit that I’ve had more than my share of new employees whose first days were less than stellar. I all-too-often completely missed the opportunity to teach them how important they were to our business, and also neglected to teach them the culture of our business.
Here are seven tips to improving your new employee’s experience.
1. Staff up for an employee’s first couple of days. Even better, don’t depend on your new employee for floor coverage for at least a week. Yes, it’s an additional payroll cost, but chances are if you get busy the new employee is going to lose you as many sales as he/she makes you.
You could be in the biggest traffic slump of all time, but start a new employee and you’re sure to get slammed. It’s vital to be able to spend time working with him/her and not having to cover the floor. And along the same lines, never start an employee on a day you can’t be there to welcome him/her. I don’t believe in delegating the employee’s first day experience.
2. Get the employee’s paperwork completed before their “official” first day. I think filling out paperwork and reading the employee handbook is a boring and unproductive first day. I want someone’s first day to be the best first day of a job ever! I recommend requiring that a new employee stop by and complete their paperwork before the official start.
3. Throw a welcome party. Imagine a person’s surprise to see a big welcome sign and a cake celebrating their joining the company. Now that’s a WOW! I’ve never figured out why we wait until employees leaves to celebrate them. I also think it’s a great way to introduce the new person to everyone. I know many of you have started this wonderful tradition. Love it!
4. Give the new employee your undivided attention. That means starting your employee on a day that you don’t have a conference call or other meetings going on. I cringe every time I think about the employee I brought on who spent her entire first day waiting for me. Talk about a poor first experience!
5. No scheduling them on the floor until they’re able to add value to the customer’s experience. An employee doesn’t have to know all of the products or how to do everything before hitting the floor, but he/she does need to have the ability to contribute to a customer having a good experience in the store.
Expedite the employee’s learning, and soon he/she will make a positive impact on the floor. And the faster the impact on the floor, the better they’ll feel about themselves. The better the employee feels about him/herself, the better the experience they’ll deliver. Got it?
6. Have them spend several hours of their first day observing on the floor. Rather than hearing about, reading or watching a video about the customer experience, get the new employee out on the floor to observe it.
Here’s how I like to do that. Give the new employee a list of things to watch for when other employees are engaging a customer. Have the new person write down specific examples that they see or hear, and then review them.
7. Partner your new employee with a mentor. I think we can all remember how awkward it is to start a new job. You don’t know how to do much and you walk around feeling like you have two left hands and two left feet. The last thing you want to do is keep asking your new manager so many questions you’re afraid you’re bugging your boss to distraction. With a non-manager as a mentor the employee will feel more comfortable asking questions – and we know the staff knows more than you do anyway!
So let me ask, is your new employee’s first experiences a good one? – Doug Fleener
Reprinted with permission from Doug Fleener of Dynamic Experiences Group. A Retail customer experience consulting firms that helps companies improve their customer experience and their sales results.