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First day at work really counts!

10th Jul 2014
HR Coordinator Situs
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How many times have we heard from a friend of ours: 'My first day in the office was not what I expected. I don't know if this company is right for me'? I personally experienced that feeling myself and also through many of my friends. But, why is that?

I believe that both first day arrangements are still being designed for members of other generations, such as Baby Boomers or Xers, who naturally possess other values and expectations about work. But few companies have accepted that 'we Millennials' have a different set of values and expect different things from our first day at work.

As pointed out by J.R. Dorsey on his book 'Y-size your business', there are certain values and expectations that make the first day so important:

(i) We have been told that we are important and we can do anything and therefore, our expectations of success at work are very high. In this sense, the first day is the first step of that journey of success and we want it to be memorable.

(ii) We live in the culture of the immediacy and that is why we need employers to engage us from the very beginning. Besides, as we spent several years at university and college, we have been waiting for the first day at work for a very long time.

Apart from the above, I believe there are two additional factors to consider:

(i) We treasure customization, creativity, interactivity and new technologies. We need some bit of that in our first day.

(ii) We are driven by career advancement and incentives. So, if you show us a career plan in our first day you will conquer our hearts.

Based on the above factors, I have created a list of DO's and DON'Ts in a Millennial first day at work:

DO:

1. Send a pre-first day email to the new hire with some basic tips, such as who ask for when she/he arrives, where to park, dress code, what to bring, etc. You can ask another Millennial to help you out with that.

2. Select a welcome 'buddy' to greet the new hire, show him/her around and introduce him/her to at least one senior executive.

3. Arrange somebody to have lunch with the new hire. You would be surprise how many of my friends ate alone in their first day at work!

4. Provide him/her with a career plan within the company and with some meaningful task to do in his/her first day.

5. Inform the new hire about the training and development programmes the company has available, such as mentoring.

6. Set up some kind of welcome gift with meaning, such as a potted plant (the plant will grow along with the new hire in the company), a compass (symbolising that the first day is the initial stage of a complex expedition and the compass will guide the new hire) or pre-printed business cards (showing the new hire you were ready for him even before he/she put their feet in your door).

DON'Ts:

1. Make the Millennial show up in your premises without knowing who ask for. It is really embarrassing and discouraging!

2. Give the new hire your company book and leave him in his/her desk alone without introducing him/her the members of the team or other colleagues.

3. Ignore the new hire and give them nothing to do.

4. Let the new hire eat alone. Soooo sad!

As you can see, the key here is to give the impression you were expecting the new hire with the same excitement as him/her and, according to that, you arranged some activities to make him/her welcome and show them how important they are for your company. 

I would like to end this post asking my Millennial cohorts to provide with examples of some first awful days at work in order to illustrate my thoughts and discuss this topic further.

P.S. If you are a true Millennial you would have scanned this post and maybe got to this PS in the first 10 seconds. Please, try to read the whole post and give me your opinion :)

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