It's never been harder to attract great employees than it is now, but in my opinion it's never been easy either. Getting a job is not as hard as it used to be, and potential employees have a ton of options. So when you finally hire someone, it's important to make him/her feel part of the family fast -- with a capital F.
Maybe it's because I'm a girl, or maybe because I'm a Virgo, but in the seven years since I started VerticalResponse, I have felt it is extremely important to make sure new employees feel welcome and were completely set up when they arrived on their first day.
I remember one of my "first days on the job," I showed up to work and my office space was set up Cagney and Lacey style with no divider. That would have been fine, however my officemate was a "loud talker" and even carried on multiple conference calls a day, with just him (and me) in the room. (If you do this, pick up the phone and talk please). I couldn't work my computer (it was a PC) so I asked if I could have a Mac. My boss gave me his credit card and said, "Walk down the street and get yourself a computer."
Wow, I was on my own.
So when I started this company, I decided I would be the one who went to the office supply store to buy pens, a pen holder, business card holder, floor mat, and garbage can. I'd work off of my "new hire" list. I'd also walk to the chair store down the street and actually sit in the chair to make sure it would be ok. When our new employee started, I would take them around our tiny office and introduce them to everyone along with walking them through their job function.
After we started growing and it became someone else's job to set up a new employee, I was relieved to find that the same "new hire" list was being used and that work areas were being set up properly. New employees were being introduced to others and the training process had begun. I have to admit I was a bit worried that my welcome wagon might get watered down.
Then I had one employee who sent me this email entitled "Great First Week!"
I wanted to let you know that I had a great first week and I'm glad to be aboard! I'm impressed by the little things -- e.g. everything was set up for me from the phone and computer to pens and post-it notes. (I love the MacBook Pro - what a relief after years of PC/MS slavery.) Best of all, the people I've met so far are friendly, helpful, and funny. Plus, I love the beer and wine stocked fridge - excellent! Anyway - just thought you might be curious about what the new guy thinks.
Cheers, - Bryan
So even though these things might not seem like a lot to you, think about the major life-changing decision your new employee just made.
Now, why not make them feel like they made the best decision of their lives to come and work for you?