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Employee Onboarding: Make Their First Day Matter

Employee Onboarding: Make Their First Day Matter

Free Resource

First impressions count with onboarding. An employee’s first day instantly shapes their opinion of you as an employer. Your goal is to make them feel welcomed, comfortable and acclimated in an organized and friendly manner. Great beginnings can deliver great outcomes.

Onboard with empathy

We believe you can maximize success with empathetic onboarding practices.The best way to onboard with empathy is to treat the day like it’s your first day. Be mindful of the last time you started a new job, and what made it feel special — or even isolating. For a new employee, the first day of a new job is a mixture of discovery, excitement, and apprehension.

We find it helpful to remind ourselves that the first day for any new team member starts with a new office, new people, new policies, new challenges, new culture. That’s a lot of new all at once. A new employee will spend much of their first week evaluating whether or not they fit in and if they made the right job decision.

What’s in a first day?

Keep day 1 focused on understanding the basics, the people, and the culture. Below are our recommendations for how to structure the day.


Set your new employee up with all they need to be a recognized and contributing member in your organization. Knock out the employment and payroll paperwork right away, and review your company benefits.

Quickly cover the company’s operating basics. Giving them insight into a few key things like the payment schedule, company holidays, how to receive packages at work, where to park a bike, etc. will acquaint them with their new home.

Walk them over to their desk, and get them set up with their equipment and the necessary account log-ins. Introduce the newcomer to their new neighbors to establish connections early.

Getting organized helps a new employee feel grounded.


Take a moment to remind the employee why they chose you! Review your policies, and perks — throw in an anecdote or two about the company.

Leave them with a welcome gift to show off when they head home at night. This helps bridge the gap between interviewee and embedded employee. For example, a company t-shirt is an instant way to make them feel like part of the team. Or, mini-cupcakes for celebrating later that night. Get creative.

Exciting your new hire will inspire them to hit the ground running.


Reserve time to connect the employee with the rest of the organization. Send out their welcome email in the morning. No one likes to be walking around anonymously in a new office filled with unacquainted future-collaborators.

Give them a tour of the office & facilities and introduce them to their immediate team. Walk them through your online employee directory, so they have a visual reference they can return to. Send them on a welcome lunch with a group of employees they will work closely with.

By engaging your new hire you help get them on the same wavelength as the rest of their team.

Set them up for tomorrow

Onboarding goes beyond Day 1. By the end of their first day they should feel excited, and ready to return tomorrow. Leave them with a suggested list of to-do’s during the remainder of their first week. Some typical examples are:

  • Company mission statement
  • Company org chart along with a list of “people to meet” so they can schedule introductory meetings over the next few weeks
  • Instructions for the additional accounts they should set up
  • Links to a few company blog posts to read, or videos to watch
  • Summary of the available extracurricular committees, google groups, forums, etc. they can join

Happy onboarding!