(NOTE: This post originally appeared on 8.22.12.)
Remember those Head & Shoulders shampoo commercials that said you can’t afford to have dandruff because You never get a second chance to make a first impression? They were a little corny, but they spoke to something pretty deep. We never forget our firsts – first kiss, first day of college, first time at a baseball game, first beer, first breakup, first pet, first car…firsts resonate. Because of that, today I want to talk about a super important first: first day of work.
I was thinking about this because recently it was the first day of work for our new crop of interns at Steiner Sports. For the most part, it went okay – I gave them my little welcome spiel, my assistant Andrew gave them the tour – but some things could have been handled a little better. We didn’t have computers set up for all of them – the IT team had to scramble to get that done; some of them hadn’t yet been assigned to specific employees, who would show them the ropes; we didn’t have an intern manual to pass out. Basically, the first day was too hodgepodge for some of these interns. It must have been confusing to them, and on our part, it didn’t command the proper amount of respect.
This was a stark contrast to the first day of work a new employee gets at Steiner Sports. Or, maybe I should say the first impression of Steiner he or she gets.
I put it that way because even before the first day, a new hire will get a letter from us including: photos of everyone in the division in which he or she will be working, along with little bios; a photo of their new workspace; the phone number they’ll have; and a small gift. That way, before they even arrive on their first day, they’ll start to feel comfortable with their new situation. And they won’t have to spend any time playing catch-up, calling all their old associates with the new phone number.
When they do get here, they’ll have a Steiner employee ready to greet them, help them settle in, and give them a tour. And they’ll spend at least two days shadowing that person around the office, being trained by that employee, and being introduced to as many people as possible. And of course, they’ll receive an employee handbook, that answers countless questions. This way, when they’re ready to really start working, they’ll feel pretty comfortable with everything, and they’ll really be able to hit the ground running.
But just as importantly, they’ll have a firm impression that as a company, we have our “stuff” together. That at Steiner, we run a tight ship. And since that’s their very first impression, that respect will carry through a lot of the frustrations and bull(crap) that is unavoidable in an office in the long run.
How about you? Do you put in the prep work for your first impressions?