How you approach a new hire’s first day may determine whether he’s with you for the long term.

Fact: 46% of new hires are gone within eighteen months,1 and almost half of those losses occur in the first forty-five days of employment.2  Those numbers aren’t just startling; they’re expensive.  How can you design your hiring process to help your company do a better job of retaining its talent?

The most critical point in your hiring process actually occurs after the hire is made: the employee’s first day on the job.  You must have a systematic and comprehensive onboarding process to:

  • Help new employees feel welcome and comfortable in their new surroundings.
  • Minimize the time before new employees are contributing value to your organization.

Helping New Employees Feel Welcome and Comfortable

New employees are excited, but they’re also nervous.  They don’t know what to expect and may still harbor doubts as to whether they made the right decision.  Overriding that nervousness, however, is an intense desire to make a good impression and contribute right away.

Here’s the secret most new hires don’t realize: most of that could also be said for you, the hiring manager!  This is your chance to make a magnificent first impression!  The last thing you want is for the new hire to spend his first day sitting alone in a cubicle, filling out paperwork, wondering where to get a cup of coffee…and thinking about contingent plans if this doesn’t work out.

Make the first day a celebration!  Imagine if the new guy walks in to find a bottle of wine on his desk, his computer ready to go, and supplies waiting?  Wouldn’t that leave a lasting impression?  More importantly, get to know him!  One of the primary reasons cited for unsuccessful onboarding is the inability to establish effective working relationships.3  To proactively avoid this problem, perhaps each team member could take him out to lunch over the first few weeks.  Furthermore, each executive could schedule a special one-on-one meeting to lay out the goals of the organization and cast a vision for the employee’s role in achieving them.

One thing’s for certain: that employee will leave his first day more excited than when he arrived, and that bodes well for the people who hired him.

Minimizing the Time Before New Employees Are Contributing Value

You can’t just throw a new employee into the mix and expect great results.  In addition to technical training, he needs to be taught the core values of your organization and how his work helps achieve the company vision.  Training should also include suggested action plans for issues the new hire may encounter.  This will save valuable time as he settles into a new role.

A study of employees in the United States and the United Kingdom found that businesses lose an estimated $37 billion annually due to employees not understanding their jobs.4  The faster the new hire assimilates to your organization, the faster he can leverage the skills for which you hired him in the first place.

How Brightwing Wins at Onboarding

To help new employees feel welcome and comfortable, we provide:

  • A welcome basket
  • A tour of the building
  • Introductions to staff
  • A profile of the new hire sent to all employees
  • Pictures of existing employees for easy identification
  • An assigned mentor
  • A personal overview of paperwork, company programs, and benefits
  • Lunches with all employees
  • An introduction of the new hire at a company-wide meeting

To minimize the time before the new hire is contributing value, we conduct:

  • A review of assessment results
  • A core values overview with the CEO
  • A company history lesson with the company president
  • One-on-one conversations with the manager
  • Clear communication of goals and objectives
  • An overview of the corporate marketing philosophy and materials
  • Training on email and phones
  • In-house software training
  • Meetings with various employees to understand their roles in the company

Failed hires are expensive.  Brightwing can help you take deliberate steps to avoid that cost starting with the onboarding process.


  1. Leadership IQ
  2. The Wynhurst Group: 22% of staff turnover occurs in the first forty-five days of employment.
  3. Journal of Management
  4. International Institute for Management Development