New Employee Onboarding: What to Expect On Your First Day

new employee onboarding

You are in the market for a new job and finally seal the deal with a great company and position. The next step is getting ready for your new job and starting the new employee onboarding process. You have probably heard of onboarding before but may not know what it entails. That’s fine because we’re going to dive into it here.

New employee onboarding is how you are brought into the company. This could be the welcome email to the position, a series of follow up informational emails and access to the HR and company system, information about your team, your healthcare plan, getting set up with your computer and a series of other things. A thorough and smooth onboarding process helps you get up to speed as fast as possible and gives you a feeling that you made the right choice.

What does a successful new employee onboarding process look like?

Starts before the first day: Successful new employee onboarding is done before your first official day on the job. You may and should receive a series of emails and possibly calls from the company to inform you about the company. This could be information about what to expect on your first day and what you may need to prepare.

Helps new employees prepare: As a new employee, you may not know what the dress code is – whether it is formal, business casual, casual or just non-existent. You also might want to know if there is parking at work or if there isn’t, where can you park, or how can you get to work. Is there a bus to get there or other public transportation?

Briefing: This initial orientation talks more about the company, its mission, values, and what the company does. It also serves to answer any questions you have.  During the employee briefing session, you might also receive a handbook or manual about the company or specific job. Certain companies and roles tend to have these, and they help clarify issues. Other companies may have these manuals in Google Drive or another cloud solution.

Wrapping up paperwork: Either in the briefing or right after, there will be some papers for you to sign. This will be the company contract, tax forms, direct deposit forms, employment eligibility verification forms (to prove you are eligible to work in the USA etc.). It could also be a Non-Disclosure Agreement (a document that guarantees you won’t reveal certain information about the company if you exit), compliance documents (normally employer policies delivered in a handbook or manual) or a document to stating that your new developments with this company (intellectual property) belong to the company etc.

Getting to your work area and getting online: Normally someone from HR will give you a walk-around the company, show you the different departments, and answer any questions you have. After this, you should be presented to your work area and desk, and get your computer along with login credentials. Along with your new computer, you will be given your company email and a phone if it is in your package. You should also get the licenses to important software programs that will be used on the job.

What else you can expect on the first day

Don’t expect to be diving into your work on the first day. If it is a corporate job i.e. at an office in your profession, this just isn’t likely.

You will have some time to meet with your boss and meet other team members. Take this time to get a deeper understanding of how the company works. Even before going in on your first day of work, you should come up with some questions to ask the team and leader.

In many companies, HR will send out a Welcome Email to the rest of the company so other employees can know who the new hires are and can help welcome them. Some of these emails contain a short bio and photo of the new employee with his/her experience, aspirations, and something unique about the person. Each company is different, and it comes down to what the company culture is like.

Expect to take another walk around the office with HR, a manager, or maybe even a colleague. They will show you the rest of the office such as the printing room, kitchen, bathrooms, restaurants, and whatever else the company has to offer. They will probably also introduce you to other people along the way, so be ready to do a lot of meeting and greeting.

On-the-job training

As a new employee and part of the job onboarding process, you will get job training. In some cases, you may already know how to do a particular task, but sometimes the company has a different way of approaching it – their way. On the job training is habitual and important. Don’t worry if you don’t get everything the first day. You’re not supposed to. There is a learning curve to a lot of jobs and it’s part of the onboarding process (HR expects it to take time for you to get accustomed to the new job and become trained). Take it slow and have fun learning the new tasks.

How should you prepare for your first day?

Dress for success: Try to find out what the dress code is for the company before your first day. It can be as easy as just dropping the HR rep an email and asking, “What is the dress code at the company?” For your first day, you should dress up.

Check Linkedin for people you might be working with: If you are being hired as an analyst for let’s say marketing role, check out the company’s Linkedin page and the other employees that work there. See who holds the same role as you. What are your peers’ experience? Do some digging.

Be ready to get down to business: The first day on the job could either be super lax and you don’t have much to do (just training), or, they might want to put the pressure on you from day one to see how you respond. The second scenario is far less typical. Either way, be ready and willing to hit the ground running. Bring your game face.

Try your best to remember names: It can be difficult to remember each person you meet on the first day, but make sure you try HARD.

Accept and attend all meetings (if possible): This is a great opportunity to meet other people throughout the company. It is also a good way to learn about its mission and projects.

Go out to lunch with others: Never eat alone. Grab lunch with a colleague, boss or other members of the company. Take this time to learn about the person and what he/she does.

Who are your immediate team mates: Find out who your possible team mates are. You more than likely will be working with them on a daily basis, so it’s best to know a little bit about who they are and what they do.

Make the effort to meet others: Even though you are new at the company and you figure that most people should introduce themselves, take the proactive approach and introduce yourself to others. Find out what they do. Grab lunch. Grab a coffee. Working in a company is about building relationships and communication.

Listen and observe: As a newly onboarded employee, you will have a lot to learn. When you participate in meetings, be sure to listen and observe as much as possible. Avoid giving your opinion about matters unless specifically asked to do so. Focus first on learning how things are done at the company.

Think of an answer to why you left your past job, if relevant: There are many occasions where you will be engaged in small talk with colleagues and others throughout the company. Someone may ask you why you decided to leave your past job and join this company. Make sure to have a plausible reason for doing so and never bash your old company or boss.

Think about a solid answer to why you accepted this job: Some people will be curious why you decided to join the company, so once again, do your homework and come up with a plausible answer in case this comes up in small talk.

Wrap up

The new employee onboarding process can be a bit intimidating as you don’t always know what to expect. Rest assured, most people feel the same way. However, most first days on the job as a new employee are pretty similar and not too daunting. If you’ve done your homework and prepared for your first day, you’ll be fine.

For more articles on Job Hunting and Interview Tips, checkout the CareerPrep Youtube channel and CareerPrep Blog.

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