Creating a Memorable First Day for Interns and New Hires

With Memorial day behind us and the first day of summer quickly approaching, we all know what is coming next…interns! OpenSesame will welcome 10 of our own interns in the coming weeks and, like many of you, we’ve begun planning for their arrival. As companies make these preparations, it’s important not only to focus on the tasks and expectations for these young adults, but also making them feel welcome right from the start.

For many interns, your company will be their first experience with a professional environment. Naturally this can cause a lot of anxiety before they ever set foot in your facility. Arriving into an impersonal environment and spending the entire first day alone filling out paperwork won’t help reduce those tensions. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to put your interns or new hires at ease and encourage an open, welcoming environment year round.

Send a First Day Schedule
Informing your new hire of what to expect on the first day is a simple way to reduce anxiety and set expectations. Create a simple one page email or post on your site dedicated to first day tasks, with links to the necessary paperwork. If your company hosts an About page with employee profiles, include this as well. 

Above & Beyond – Send a goodie bag with company schwag or a card signed by team members with whom the intern will be working.

Create an Onboarding Plan
When an intern arrives for the first day, have a printed welcome packet prepared with the necessary paperwork, a map of the office and an employee facebook. Additionally, provide a new hire checklist to keep your intern on track and give them a sense of accomplishment in those first few days. 

Above & Beyond – Turn the onboarding packet and corresponding tasks into a game. Transform a boring office tour into a treasure hunt and have the intern use a set of clues to hunt down offices supplies, bathrooms or popular local lunch spots. The New York Times ‘You’re the Boss’ blog provides additional creative ideas for a new hire’s arrival

Lead with the ‘Why’
Before an intern or new hire begins to work on tasks, they should understand the value of the company and how their work contributes to that value. Focusing on these two points encourages intrinsic motivation and helps interns see their work as part of a bigger picture.

Above & Beyond – Print an inspirational letter or poster, such as the one purportedly given by Apple on an employee’s first day.

Creating a memorable first day for your interns or new hires not only eases anxiety, but increases retention and enhances recruitment efforts. Give your interns something to brag about to all their friends and you won’t have any trouble finding interns in the future.

Have a great onboarding story to share, either personally or as a company? Tell us in the comments!

New Hire Image by merydith