by Kercofa Francois

So congrats — you’ve done it!  After screening resumes, thoughtful interviews, and painstaking consideration you’ve hired the newest addition to your team. While an integral part of the hiring process is behind you, it is essential that you keep the momentum going through the (all too often-overlooked) on-boarding process.

Let’s face it…being the new kid can be painful to say the least. The anxiety of fitting in is stressful enough, not to mention the added pressure of wanting to be a top-performer.  As a leader and as a company, it should be your duty to create an easy onboarding transition while setting your team up for success.

It turns out that where you can have some of the biggest impact towards a new hire is on their very first day of work.  Make sure you designate a clear and directly responsible individual who is in charge of new hires on the first day and their onboarding thereafter – whether that is you, a team member or someone from HR, it begins by having clarity.  Once that is clear, here are 3 easy ways to ensure a meaningful, jitter-free first day for your newest hire.


  1. Team & Office Introductions

Welcome Email: One should never underestimate the power of a good ol’ fashioned introduction email. With so much happening in a busy office, it’s easy to mistakenly forget this simple step.  Even a brief note can do the trick. Be sure to outline their name, role, and a little about their background or hobbies. This can serve as the ultimate ice-breaker, taking the burden off of your team and eliminating what can otherwise be a day of confused glances and awkward conversations.


A Quick Tour: Take a few moments to point out the who, what, and the where! Try to focus on aspects that are easily overlooked: Which is the color printer?  Where are the good snacks hidden? In introducing teammates, be sure to mention how their role fits in relation to your new hire.  There is a lot that will be foreign– play your part in bridging those gaps!

  1. A Super-Prepared Desk

Work Station:  One of the best ways to set the tone and express excitement towards your newest teammate is to have their work station completely in order.  Nothing will make an employee feel like more of an afterthought than scrambling for post-it notes and emptying desk drawers at their arrival.

Reading & Purpose Statement: Industry essential reading? Company favorites? A book or collection of articles is a great way to inform your new hire on which trends, ideologies, and leaders are most relevant or most inspiring for your company.

Outside of the external reading list, make sure there is the internal reading essentials – especially the purpose statement. Why do you do what you do? What drives your organization? Remind your new team member why they wanted to join in the first place!  Highlight your purpose, passions, standards and values while setting the tone for the culture of your team in a collection of slides or video.

  1. Buddies & Mentorship

Assign a buddy:   Having a buddy to help in understanding firm priorities, setting goals, and to answer embarrassing questions like “How do I transfer a call?” is truly priceless. Having a dedicated person for checking-in helps keep people engaged and motivated.  The best form of leadership is when you can positively imprint onto another individual and if you have a buddy program – whether formal or informal – it says to a new employee that you care about their success.

Mentorship:  At Cue Ball, mentorship inside our own organization and for our portfolio companies is one of our top priorities.  It is no secret that successful companies invest time to develop and grow their team members. Understand that all successful mentorship begins with having a baseline of an authentic relationship.  You need some level of chemistry to establish mutual trust and respect.  After that, so much of mentorship is just about listening. So listen to their ambitions and celebrate their capabilities, and always focus on ways to further cultivate the character of someone (as much as the competencies). In the long run, it is growth in values, leadership and self-awareness that will outpace any hard skills. It’s about being authentic, compassionate and overall just about having good people. With these 3 tips in mind, you will be sure to create a positive and memorable first impression on your newest hire’s first day. In taking the time to focus on learning and experience you can truly build confidence, set the tone, and add meaningful value by growing your company’s culture.

Want more? Here are some other quick and easy tips to ease the transition:

Be there! A warm greeting will set the tone for their first day. Be sure to have someone meet them when they arrive to the office and to show them around.


First Day Schedule:  Now that they’re settled into their work station, let them know what to expect on their first day. While you don’t have to delve too deeply into the details, a general overview will ease any anxiety on what they should be doing or where they should be.  Generally speaking, a little more scheduling and direction that first-day tends to be more appreciated than leaving things more open.  One of the things on that schedule will likely be filling the requisite HR forms – get the formal stuff out of the way early.

Lexicon & Favorite Haunts:  If you can, create a go-to manual for FAQs.  This can include team acronyms, important dates, or adored restaurants and most frequented lunch spots.  It’s great to have this insider guide as part of  new desk inventory.

Computer/Email Details: The sooner they can log in, the sooner they can hit the ground running! Bonus points for showing their inbox some love– send them a welcome email and relevant meeting invitations in advance of their arrival.  As part of that day-one schedule, have at least a mini IT orientation (even if its 10 minutes from a buddy colleague).

Business Cards: If you’re anything like me, receiving your first set of business cards was an emotional moment brimming with pride and accomplishment. Nostalgia aside, business cards can serve as an intrinsic link to company identity and dignity in their role on the team. No business cards? No worries. The same applies to your company’s website, directory, or phone extension list.

Swag: While not necessary, it is always nice to include a welcome gift, like a branded bag, fleece, or baseball cap. Like to think outside? A gift that is unique to your company culture can be a quirky, standout gesture on a first day.

Check In: While first day lunch or drinks can be a treat, making the effort to really check-in is integral to a first day experience; make sure you do that at the end of the day and a few times during those first couple of weeks.  Now that they’ve had some time in the office setting, provide a forum for them to ask questions and provide insight to what their coming weeks will look like.  Keep your EQ antennae up to make sure they are on-boarding as you expect (and as they expect) and let them know that you’re available to help.  And remember– it doesn’t hurt, ever, to ask them what you can be doing better with the process.