“To reach people no one else is reaching, we must do things that no one else is doing.”
Craig Groeschel

Am I Supposed to Be Here?

I recently attended an event at which there was not a name tag prepared for me when I arrived. As the individual running the registration table fumbled to figure out why I didn’t have a name badge, I stood there staring at the 100 plus name tags that were laid out on the table. “Am I supposed to be here?” I wondered to myself. How often do new employees have this same thought on their first day?

When Laura arrived at her first job out of college the office doors were locked. When she knocked, no one came to the door. Eventually, someone with a keycard let her into the building, but they were unable to provide her direction on where to go beyond that point. “I had wandered into a sea of closed doors. I felt so lost,” said Laura, “I wondered if I was supposed to be there.” Laura only stayed with the organization for 10 months. 

Many companies put an emphasis on onboarding and development to “fulfill” new employees but simultaneously fall short in the first impression by failing to make the new employee feel known and welcome.

Succeeding at the First Impression:

In today’s job market, it’s no secret that top-performing job candidates have numerous options. As you hire, you must constantly remind yourself that not only are you trying to select the ideal candidate, but they’re trying to select the ideal company. First impressions matter. Would you rather work for a company that made you feel welcomed at your interview or a company that made you feel intimidated?

Ten Points for Positive First Impressions:

  1. Select someone to greet the individual and guide them through their first day.
  2. Provide an itinerary for their first day.
  3. Make sure all required materials and resources are prepared and ready.
  4. Clearly communicated expectations for the first day.
  5. Meet, greet, tour and introduce.
  6. Be prepared to answer simple questions like “where’s the restroom?” or “where should I go if I have questions?”
  7. Develop a handout of company language and terms.
  8. Create a connection and talk with them about your first day on the job.
  9. Don’t tell them about your company’s culture, show them examples of how your culture is experienced and lived out.
  10. Remember what you’d want to experience if this was your first day on the job.

Do Your Actions Reflect Your Words?

I constantly hear leaders say, “We value our people!” That’s great, but let’s make sure our actions are a reflection of our words. No new employee should have to wonder if they belong at your company on their first day.


When was the last time you invested time in understanding what a new employee, at any level, experiences on their first day?

Given the experience, would you feel welcome and want to work for your company?

Final Thought

What if your entire paycheck was based on the first impression you created for new employees? Would you get paid?  Are you willing to challenge yourself to change something that isn’t working?

People deserve better than our scraps of thought regarding their first day and first impression.


P.S. How does your company/organization work to make positive first impressions on new employees? Let me know in the comments.