Since it’s already stressful and first impressions can make or break a new hire’s success on the job, why not go all the way? Here are ten new and creative on-boarding ideas that will make the newbie’s first day at work memorable — but for all the wrong reasons.

These 10 On-Boarding Fails Might Make the New Hire’s First Day Their Last

No matter how confident they seem, the new hire will probably be worried about making a good first impression with their co-workers and their boss. And no matter how happy they seem to be to have gotten the job, you can be sure they will still feel anxious and nervous about what to expect on their first day at work in a new company.

New employees aren’t the only ones who should be worried about making a good first impression. Given the investment of money and resources that go into the hiring process, employers should also be worried about what happens on the new hire’s first day on the job, and throughout the on-boarding process. For both parties, mistakes, on-boarding mis-steps and mis-cues can all send a new hire packing, and send the employer back to square one.

The first day at work can be every bit as stressful for the new hire as their interview was. On-boarding shouldn’t feel like a Darwinian experiment meant to weed out those who are too weak to survive!

On-Boarding Fails – 10 Ways to Ruin a New Hire’s First Day at Work

1. Make it a paperwork party.

And they thought your application was long! Nothing is more fun for someone who is excited about their new job than spending their whole first day in HR filling out paperwork (unless their new job is actually filling out paperwork in HR).

2. Don’t give them the key – to anything.

Don’t give them the key to the bathroom, the break room, the supply room, their filing cabinets — or anything else at all. They put “problem solving” on their skills list, didn’t they? Let’s see how they do on their own!

3. Don’t set up their workspace.

You’ve had two weeks to get ready for the new hire’s first day at work, but is that really enough time to set up their phone and computer? I mean, after all, what if something happens and they don’t come in that day at all. You would have done all that work for nothing. Better to wait and do it while they watch.

4. Change their job title, job description, salary, or reporting relationship.

Now that they have broken ties with their former employer, turned down other interviews and stopped sending out resumes, you’ve got them right where you want them. Why not demote them right away, and make them earn back the job you hired them to do?

5. Make them move out before they can move in.

The previous job holder left the newbie’s work space a mess, or maybe you have been using it for file storage. Either way, it’s their problem now; let them figure out what to do with all that junk.

6. Lecture them about the mistakes of the previous job holder.

You certainly don’t want your new hire making the same mistakes that got the last guy fired (or made him want to run screaming out the door). Be sure that you spend some time telling the newbie what not to do. In fact, your whole on-boarding orientation could be a recital of all the flaws and failings that have gotten people fired from your company.

7. Don’t have their back during the intro round.

If your new hire’s shirt has a coffee stain on it, their fly is unzipped, they have tags sticking out or they came back from the bathroom trailing a bit of toilet paper, that is going to make for awesome office hilarity as you introduce them to all their co-workers and company executives. SAY NOTHING.

8. Hit them up for ideas on how to save your business.

There’s nothing like putting the fear of layoffs and closures on the table with new hires to get them working at their most motivated, productive best right out of the gate.

9. Warn them about their new co-workers.

Now that they are part of the team, it’s going to be really important for them to know how awful everyone else is who works there. You wouldn’t want them to be surprised later on. Make sure they have a good grip on all of the weakness and shortcomings of their teammates, and let them know that you expect them to make up the gap.

10. Let them know about the ones that got away.

If the new hire was not your first choice for the job (even if the hiring committee didn’t agree with you) or if you offered the job to other candidates who turned you down, make sure you let the new hire know about this on their first day at work. That way, they will realize just how grateful they should be to have the job.

A global study by Manpower Group Solutions cites “type of work” as the top reason employees leave. Employers and HR leaders charged with keeping top employees may improve efforts by updating traditional employee reviews to include opportunities to modify an employee’s role, as well as salary.

Top Reasons U.S. Workers Leave Provide Clues for Keeping Top Employees

Manpower Group Solutions whitepaper “Below the Surface: Emerging Global Motivators and Job Search Preferences” offers clues HR and staffing agencies can use to improve not only recruiting efforts, but retention efforts as well. Factors that impact U.S. employee career decisions:

  • 58% – Type of work
  • 57% – Compensation
  • 49% – Benefits offered
  • 35% – Geographic location
  • 34% – Opportunities for advancement
  • 29% – Schedule flexibility
  • 18% – Company brand / reputation
  • 18% – Industry


Keeping Top Employees - The Top Reasons US Workers Change Jobs

Not only is “opportunities for advancement” listed as a top consideration for U.S. workers in general, it relates to the top reason U.S. employees say they leave for other employers: Type of work.

Both of these career decision factors – type of work and opportunities for advancement – are even more important to today’s younger workers, with more than one third of Gen X and nearly half of Gen Y workers citing it as a top consideration. HR leaders and business owners who persuade workers that there is room for change and upward mobility within the organization may have more success in keeping top employees on board who might otherwise leave for another employer where they perceive increased opportunities exist.

Keeping Top Talent – Making Role Review Part of the Employee Review Process

The traditional employee review speaks to a worker’s performance against their current duties and salary. While some employers may leave the door open for an employee to talk about their future aspirations, its uncommon for an employer to provide significant latitude for employees to weigh in on their current role and list of responsibilities.

Managers who regularly engage staff about the type of work they are doing, are interested in doing, most enjoy doing, and least enjoy will be more likely to uncover a worker’s dissatisfaction with the type of work they are doing before losing top employees to other employers. This could be especially helpful for HR leaders and business owners in small and mid-sized companies, where an employee may perceive few opportunities for advancement exist.

Employee development programs, team building workshops and employee satisfaction surveys can also be helpful in discovering strengths and abilities managers – or even employees themselves – may not have been aware of. For instance, Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath includes the same StrengthsFinder assessment that can be completed individually online. Identifying the strengths and preferences of workers isn’t just about giving people a chance to do work that is enjoyable and meaningful to them, it can also help employers identify role changes that might make workers more productive – and their business more profitable – in the process.

According to, “People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.” StrengthsFinder 2.0 and similar resources also provide guidance for managers, so that every leader in a business from the owner to department manager or team leader is on the same page when it comes to using an individual’s strengths as motivator, barometer and even for setting performance goals.

Employee Retention – 4 Questions to Make Anyone’s Type of Work More Meaningful

Here are three questions business owners and HR leaders can ask about anyone’s role within the company to identify ways in which an employee’s role could be make more meaningful – impossible to replicate in any other workplace. The first three questions come from a post which was re-shared by Jeff Haden on; the fourth question is derived from an American Psychological Association ( report on psychologist discoveries of what makes work meaningful and “how to create value in any job.”

  1. Autonomy: How much control does the employee have over their own choices?
  2. Complexity: Does the employee have opportunities to master new skills and improve?
  3. Connection: Does the worker see a payoff – a connection between effort and reward?
  4. Aspiration: Does the worker feel an innate higher calling to their job or type of work, or that fulfilling their responsibilities supplies what might be an intangible “good” for someone else?

Employee retention can reduce expenses and give your company the competitive advantage it needs to win in a competitive marketplace, but many companies expend far more on recruiting and hiring than on efforts to keep top employees. Make sure you’re in touch with workers to ensure they are satisfied with the type of work they have to do today and what they feel their role is in the future.

You might also like: A Bad Employer Rap Can Scare Top Talent Away

The U.S. labor market is an increasingly diverse workforce when it comes to age as more and more Millennials enter the labor force and U.S. workers stay on the job longer. Here are three top causes business owners need to champion in organizations with a multi-generational workforce.

Business Owners Must Successfully Cultivate 3 Things for a Multi-generational Workforce

1. An Organizational Culture that Works for Everyone

Life expectancy in the U.S. is at a record high and more Americans are staying in the workforce to an older age; for instance, in 2015, workers aged 65 and up outnumbered teenage workers for the first time since 1948. Indeed, between 1977 and 2007, while the numbers of workers aged 16 to 24 increased by 59 percent, the growth rate for older generations was even higher:

  • 101% more workers aged 65 or older
  • 75% more men in the workforce aged 65 or older
  • 147% more women in the workforce aged 65 or older
  • 172% more workers aged 75 or older.

Business owners and human resources leaders are increasingly faced with unique challenges directly related to managing a multi-generational workforce, especially in bigger organizations. One of these challenges is how to nurture an organizational culture that works for everyone, regardless of generational divides.

Multi-generational work forces in large organizations, in particular, are likely to have a significant number of workers represented in each generation. Each of which (generally speaking) leadership styles, work ethics, world views, and wage and benefit needs that vary significantly from one another.

When considering how to nurture an organizational culture that is conducive to success across the four-generation workforce that currently exists in the U.S. (Millennials, Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers), leaders have to consider the issues of work-life balance, the role of technology, and factors that result in high levels of employee engagement as they pertain to generational characteristics.

For instance, Millennials may be less likely to accept work that impinges on their family or personal life than member of older generations. Members of younger generations also have more experience with technology and are less likely to find a workplace attractive that prohibits use of social media and personal technology.

While the factors that produce employee engagement among younger workers may be vastly different than those that stimulate engagement for older workers, organizations that purposefully shape and manage internal culture may naturally enjoy higher levels of employee engagement across all generations.

2. Flexible Benefits Options

The benefit and compensation packages that will appeal to top talent across generations in a multi-generational workforce may vary widely, from preferences and needs regarding health and wellness to paid and unpaid time off, educational reimbursement and training, and so on.

Even worker preferences for the way benefits are communicated and managed (or self-managed) may be widely disparate by age range. Human Resources can bridge these gaps by giving employees more ability to tailor their own options and ensuring that benefits are communicated in multiple formats (written, in-person, digital, etc.)

3. Relatable Leaders Who Value and Bring Out the Best in Workers of Any Generation

Seven out of 10 of U.S. Human Resources pros surveyed in a Randstad Sourceright Talent Trend Report listed managing a multi-generational workforce as one of their biggest challenges. With a workforce now representative of Millennials, Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers, the report summarizes that “companies need to look to developing a balance of different incentives to engage, motivate, and ultimately improve workplace productivity.”

Regardless of age, the individuals who emerge as the most successful leaders in succeeding years will be those who members of any age group find relatable. These leaders will have an innate or learned ability to value the workers who report to them for their strengths as well as to bring out the best in them, regardless of the generation in which they may fall within the multi-generational workforce.

Indeed, HR Executive Online points out that Millennials are coming into their own, emerging as new leaders within the workforce, noting that HR leaders in large companies devote time and resources to development and retention of these emerging leaders who will “morph into leaders who will, in turn, guide the subsequent generation.”

The U.S. labor market is evolving and will continue to evolve with the emergence of each new generation of worker. Consequently, the challenge business owners and HR professionals face in helping to foster an organizational culture attractive to talented individuals across or regardless generational divides will continue to be an ever-present one.