Get new hires started right

Jun 01, 2005

Regardless of his or her work history, a staff member's first day on a new job can be intimidating. For some, it's so overwhelming and confusing that they don't return for a second day. Don't let this happen! Make a staff member's first day welcoming by taking these steps:

  • Send a welcome letter to the homes of new employees before their first day. It lets them and their family members know they're important and you're looking forward to working together.
  • On the first day, pair the new staff member with a co-worker who'll serve as a cheerleader and coach. This approach has two advantages, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Ernest Ward Jr., of Calabash, N.C. First, it gives a new staff member a one-on-one way to learn the ropes from someone who's been in his or her shoes. Second, the coach feels proud you chose him or her to be personally responsible for the new team member. You can choose any qualified staff member who's had a couple years of experience at your practice, exhibits leadership qualities, and wants to help new team members grow in their jobs.
  • Review the employee handbook to familiarize new staff members with your policies, and answer all their work-related questions.
  • Finally, let all team members know that a new employee is starting, and ask them to make him or her feel welcome.

Bob Levoy
"How new employees are treated on their first day," writes James B. Miller, author of The Corporate Coach (HarperBusiness, 1994) "makes an indelible impression that affects long-term performance. Quite frankly, it is the most important day in an employee's career. It sets the tone for everything that will follow."

Editor's note: Next month we'll look at other ways to keep employees happy on the job.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is a seminar speaker based in Roslyn, N.Y., who focuses on profitability and practice growth. Please send questions to