Why Day One Matters

As companies look to the spring hiring season, many leaders are focused on how to attract the best and brightest millennials. If you’re planning to bring on new hires, it’s important to think past the moment the offer is accepted and seriously consider what the first few days and weeks on the job will look like. Do you have best practices in place to onboard millennials for success?

Surprisingly, only 32 percent of companies have a formal onboarding program in place, and yet lack of adequate training is one of the top five reasons new employees leave a company, according to the Aberdeen Group.

We know that millennials value ongoing training and development while on the job. Companies have a chance to start that training from the very beginning. Here’s some of my favorite advice for onboarding millennials in order to get them truly “on board” on day one.

Extend the “Wow” Factor Past Interviews

“‘New employee orientations should also be designed as a defining event,’ [Victor] Settergren [Raytheon’s missile systems director of global talent development] said. ‘Ownership and accountability is shared by leadership, talent acquisition, talent development and IT and a deep supporting cast. Essential components include an executive welcome and overview of the business to begin integrating recruits into the culture. Buddies, mentors and sponsors help recruits more quickly add value and get traction in the organization. Employee interest groups help individual employees feel that they fit.’”—  Talent Management.

Prepare Them for a Successful First Day

“Send a pre-first day email or text to the new Millennial hire that highlights the organization’s excitement and what to expect when it comes to attire, parking, and the day’s agenda. Since employee energy levels are typically higher later in the week, consider starting the new hire on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Start the new hire’s day after 10am. This allows ample time for the new hire to find their way to work and the current employees to address urgent items before the new hire arrives.” — Read more at HR Cloud.

Make Them Feel Like Part of the Team

“Unfortunately, not all graduates have sufficient teamwork skills. With open office plans, shared work spaces, and various levels of interaction, today’s work environment can take some getting used to. Plan some office ice-breakers, team lunches, or happy hours to help workers get to know each other and build relationships. When people are more at ease, they’ll feel more comfortable exchanging ideas.” —  Read more at The Muse.

Look for Ways to Update Your Processes

“Using paper, getting bogged down in layers of approval, and waiting for forms to be sent in the mail are outdated practices. If your onboarding process is second best, your new hires will know about it. The question about your onboarding process will be, ‘what are you doing about it?’ Everyone will think this, but it is millennials that will be willing to say it. They’re less willing to take excuses when better options are available. Everyone will see this settling behaviour as indicative of company culture. Millennials, being less willing to accept second best, will see this as a red flag against your organisation.” — Read more at HROnboard.

Move the Onboarding Online

“There’s a lot to learn during the first weeks and months on the job.  However, new hire millennials are often surprised and dismayed when they don’t feel competent right away. They don’t realize that it takes at least six months to tackle the learning curve and learn what they need to learn. By giving them an online orientation and onboarding learning path they gain a more realistic picture of what needs to be learned and how to get there. Achieving the learning milestones gives them a sense of success and job competence.” — Read more at HR Gazette.

Do you have a creative idea for onboarding new employees? An onboarding success story? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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