How to Capture the Enthusiasm and Commitment of Your New Employees from Their First Day at Work
By Mac McIntire, President, Innovative Management Group (PDF Version)

An employee's first day at work sets a precedent and makes an indelible impression on the new employee. How one feels at the end of the first day determines whether the worker's enthusiasm for and commitment to one's job will wax or wane.

Candidates being interviewed for a job know they have just a few minutes during the job interview to make a good impression on the hiring manager. They know the relationship will either be solidified or tarnished during those precious moments.

The same is also true, only reversed, once the person is hired. The company has a short amount of time on the new employee's first day at work to make a good impression on the new worker. The company will either build a solid relationship with the new employee on that first day or it will diminish the rapport.

The quality of your company's new employee orientation and departmental training programs, to a great extent, determine the quality of the performance you will get from your new employee later on. Many managers miss the wonderful opportunity to capture the initial enthusiasm a new employee brings to the company on the first day of work. Yet there is a simple way to keep that enthusiasm going throughout the employee's tenure at the company if you create a positive impression on that first day.

An employee's first day at work sets a precedent and makes an indelible impression on the employee. How she or he feels at the end of the first day determines whether the worker's enthusiasm and commitment to the job will wax or wane. Your job as a manager is to make sure your employees feel good about the work they do, feel good about the company for whom they work, and feel good about working for you. The most critical determining factor of how well an employee will perform is how good one feels at work. If they feel good, they do good. If they feel bad, they typically perform poorly.

Cost of Missed Opportunity

According to a Staffing.org survey companies spend anywhere from $2,000 to $11,000 to hire a new employee, but few put much effort into helping workers acclimate and become productive once they are hired.

If a new hire doesn't receive proper training and support when they are first hired, 47% leave their job within the first six months. This means the most important training a company can provide to its employees may be that which occurs immediately after the employee is hired. Unfortunately, many companies have weak or non-existent new employee orientation or on-the-job department training programs, thereby missing a great opportunity to capture the enthusiasm and commitment from new employees from their first day at work.

I've been designing new employee orientation and other employee training programs for companies for over 35 years. I've become adept at delivering high-quality training products at a very low cost because I have a systematic way of developing courses that achieve very specific performance and behavioral outcomes.

The strongest indicator of a training course's impact and effectiveness is how the participants feel at the end of the session and how capable they are to carry out the needed tasks at the desired performance level. Both the right capability and the right feeling are necessary for employees to fully internalize what is taught and actualize the performance behaviors they've learned.

Over time I have concluded that, regardless of content, every training – particularly new employee orientation and on-the-job department training – must result in four essential feelings at the conclusion of the event. The sooner the employees experience these four feelings, the sooner they will perform competently in their positions.

Four Essential Feelings

To succeed in their jobs, new employees must feel comfortable, confident, proud, and included in order to perform at acceptable levels.

Consequently, new employee orientation should be designed to help employees feel comfortable with their new company, work environment, job classification, manager, and colleagues. People in new situations are out of their comfort zone. They are unsure about who the key players are in the organization. They don't know where things are. They are uncertain about what is or is not acceptable behavior in the company. They proceed cautiously, hesitant to make even minor mistakes.

On-the-job training should anticipate the discomfort new employees experience and design into the training ways to alleviate the uneasiness of the workers. Everything possible should be done to lessen the stress of learning a new job.

New employee orientation and training at both the company and department level must also provide the employees with the requisite knowledge, skills and behavior to perform all job requirements without hesitation or timidity. By the end of the training new employees should feel confident they made the right choice when they took the job. They should feel fully capable of performing their assigned tasks at the performance level required.

Self-confidence is the key to self-action. The more a company does to build the confidence of its employees the greater the chances are the workers will perform at optimal levels.

When designed properly, orientation and training programs ought to make the employees feel proud of their new company, department, and team. The content of the orientation and department training should instill a sense of ownership and wholeness within the new employees. The greatest indicator of successful training would be for employees to leave the session telling others how proud they are to be a part of the organization or group. Proud employees are the best recruiters for future employees.

Finally, the orientation session should ensure the new employees feel included as bona fide members of the team. By the conclusion of the training the employees should be viewed and treated as fully functioning, contributing members of the team, not as rookies. They should feel a sense of unity and oneness with the group. Most importantly, they should feel they are on the same level with other employees in the group.

Those companies who consciously and deliberately design their orientation and department training programs around these four critical feelings will ensure their employees literally hit the ground running from the first moment they step into the workplace. However, astute leaders realize these four feelings are what employees must feel each and every day they come to work, regardless of how long the employees have worked at the company. These four feelings are the keys to maintaining the commitment of employees over the course of their careers with your company.

Innovative Management Group has been designing highly-effective new employee orientation and department training programs for over twenty years. We can help you create the processes that will capture the enthusiasm and commitment of your new employees from their first day at work. We can also help you instill these same attitudes, behaviors and skills within every employee at all levels of your organization. Call us today to learn what we can do to improve the effectiveness of your business.

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