Make or break in the first few days

“We used to have such programs in a Star Hotel earlier. Any reason why we are not doing that now?”

“I’ve heard that the Induction program used to be all week long, with awesome lunch provided. Why is the duration reduced to just 2 days? And, why isn’t lunch provided anymore?”

“My team members say that the first few days after they joined, they played a lot of interesting games. We want to play too!”

I hear the above way too often. Some questions come up as soon as I walk-in to the session to address a new batch of employees; some come up after the scheduled session for a day or two is complete. And, some come up out of the blue, in lunch lines, coffee breaks and lift lobbies.

Unarguably, some are rhetorical questions. People take solace in asking those questions when they are well aware of the answer. It’s just that they are not happy with the answer.

Team Building Session

Here is why I think the first few days are important for an employee at an organization:

  • When the Induction program is conducted in a better environment (eg., a Star hotel), with luxury treatment and free lunches, the impression that is made of the organization is of a high standard. It shows the employees that they are cared for. Even when the times turn bad at the organization, these are the employees that think of ‘good times’ and hope for better everything, but stick with the company telling these tales they were part of.
  • When you are high up the ladder making financial decisions, saving money counts up to your effectiveness, efficiency and all those factors that make you look good. So, cost-cutting is a natural choice that is of course explored in every possible area. The more money you save, the greener your graph looks. Unfortunately, it’s evident. It shows that you don’t consider your employees important.
  • “There are no free lunches” works better as a metaphor than as a literal statement in situations like this. Believe me you can impress people with a free lunch or two! 🙂
  • I personally think that the impression that is created matters more than the cost involved. I’d rather you consider it as an investment, and not cost. When the employees are impressed in the first week or two, it goes a long way. They feel that they ‘belong’ and not just work.
  • When a later ‘batch’ attends the same Induction program in-house, in a cramped over-crowded room with a few cookies/ eclairs, it doesn’t set the same high standard impression. There is already little discomfort inducted that will only get worse with the time.
  • The initial time we ‘invest’ in grooming the employees, especially campus recruits, does a lot of good in the long run. Time and money invested in helping those individuals to get accustomed to the corporate environment is directly proportional to their relationship and stay with an organization.
  • Something that appears as trivial as a organization handbook that an employee receives on Day 1 has an impact too. That’s the direct sales promotion of the company’s image! Imagine a photocopied and stapled two page document left at your table, versus a printed brochure in color on hard paper, that comes in a ‘packet’ along with a small notepad and a pen – get the idea?

This list is not definitely exhaustive but a start of how the first few days can be perceived by employees at an organization, and why the first few days of the employee are important for an organization.

Whatever you aim for, or settle for in the first few days, makes or breaks the deal.

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