How to make a new recruit’s 1st day at work special?

The first day in a new job is an important and nerve-wracking one for a new hire; first impressions matter. Huel, the nutritional food brand, seems to have recognised this, based on a Linked In post I saw by one of their enthusiastic new hires.

Here I share three ways to make a new recruit’s first day working on a brand special, inspired by the Huel example and my own experience starting in new jobs.

1. Make it PERSONAL

I still have bad memories of my first day as a European Marketing Manager at Sara Lee, where I worked after doing an MBA at INSEAD. I was shown to an empty desk in a bare office, with no briefing documents or information about the brand I was working on (Hanes Athletic Wear and Underwear).

In contrast, a first day at Huel seems to have a PERSONAL touch, based on the photo below. The basic equipment is there, with a laptop ready to go. But there is also a personalised welcome booklet (‘Hey Lousise’), a nice notebook, a brand t-shirt and a selection of products. This welcome works at two levels:

  • Rational: thank god, the company seems to have its s**t together and knew I was arriving!
  • Emotional: this is a company that cares about its people and its brand

Action point: have you got the basics in place (desk, laptop, mobile) but also some nice personal touches that show you care about your company, brand and people?

2. Share PRODUCT passion

The other photo posted on Linked In suggests that Huel is a company that is passionate about its PRODUCT, mucic to the ears of a guy trained at P&G. It looks like Louise got a detailed product briefing on day 1, with a selection of different products including drinks and bars. This is, I suggest, a much more effective and emotionally compelling introduction than the classic first day routine: being given a big lever arch file of company briefing info to read by yourself.

Action point: are you set up to share your passion for your products and services, with a proper, in-depth product induction on day 1?

3. Make day one PRACTICAL

Feeling you’re welcome and getting a sense of the company’s product passion are both great ingredients for a first day at work. But I suggest adding a third step, based on the first day of my career at P&G’s office in Egham, back in the last century: give some PRACTICAL work to do from the off.

My first role was brand assistant on Vidal Sassoon haircare. And I was immediately given the task of designing and writing copy for the inlay leaflet of a promotional music cassette (for younger readers who don’t know what an audio cassette is, there’s an image below!)

This may seem like a mundane task, but for me it was a great start. I had to learn about the brand and its products to be able to write the copy. It gave me my first experience of briefing a creative agency. And though the project was small, I had ownership from start to finish and ended up with something tangible. All these years later, the ‘Style Mix’ cassette still sits on my office shelf! Its a lovely reminder of the first day of four and half brilliant years at Procter.

Action point: how can you give your new year something practical to do on the first day, ideally something that they can take ownership of, however small it is?

In conclusion, first impressions matter a lot when you start working on a brand; they may even last a lifetime, as my own example shows. So, its worth investing a bit of time, effort and care to make the first day special by ensuring its personal, full of product passion and practical too.