Everything I Know About How to On-board, Engage, and Retain New Employees, I Learned from a Kindergarten Teacher

My daughter-in-law is a kindergarten teacher and, when I started to write my book, The Five Firsts: A Simple System to On-board, Engage, and Retain Top Talent, I asked how she’s been trained to help students new to the school acclimate. (In the business world, we call this on-boarding.) In response, she told me about the five questions all kids have on their minds their first day at a new school. The interesting thing here is that these are the same questions all new employees have on their minds on their first day of work.

She also shared how teachers do their best to make the first hour and the first day the best day the new kids have ever had at school. The theory being that, if this day starts off badly, it just gets tougher and tougher to make it right.

Then she told me about the one question every kid will inevitably be asked when they get home that day: “How did you like it?” And what do you suppose every new employee gets asked at the end of their first day? Of course, “How did you like it?” For kids and new hires alike, their answers need to be: “Great! Awesome! Terrific! I can’t wait to go back.”

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What are you doing to make the first hour and the first day on the job the best day first day any new employee ever had?

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


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