by Cord Himelstein | March 21, 2017

The first year of employment is crucial in establishing a positive rapport with new hires. When a company invests in the happiness and well-being of new employees, a successful first year can increase the chances of their staying with the organization beyond the average job tenure.

In our new ebook, "First Year Impressions Are Everything," Michael C. Fina Recognition presents a timeline for a typical first year of employment, highlighting the major engagement and recognition opportunities with ideas for leveraging them along the way. Here's an overview of that timeline.

Reaching out and preparing a new employee for their first day is a great way to show you care, and can help get them on board with your brand and culture quickly. Some pre-boarding ideas:
 Send a branded "Welcome Kit" ahead of the first workday
 Send an email or make a call to check in
 Make sure their equipment and work-station have been set up and personalized

The First Day
The employee's first day is your chance to welcome them to the organization in a memorable fashion. Be sure to personalize the experience:
 Greet them at the door or front desk in person and personally introduce them to coworkers
 Treat them to breakfast, lunch, or both
 Introduce your recognition programs
 Provide an onboarding mentor

Days 1-3
Plug the new hire into your organization's social networks within the first three days. This includes:
 Announce new hires companywide
 Send an email within the new employee's department introducing him/her and thejob duties
 Have the manager arrange a departmental lunch to get to know team members

Days 31-89
When an employee decides to stay past the one-month mark, they are more likely to stick around until the next major milestone at six months. Maintain momentum by:
 Holding informal but regular check-ins on the employee's progress
 Providing timely, ongoing, and emotionally intelligent feedback

Day 90
At three months, enough time has passed for the new employee to develop opinions, but no concrete biases, so it is a great time to administer a survey about the onboarding experience.

Days 91-179
After finishing your onboarding and/or engagement survey, you can use the feedback to begin adjusting your efforts. Remember to:
 Have a conversation about work/life balance and try to meet the employee in the middle for any challenges
 Address any barriers to job performance and have clear expectations laid out
 Adapt feedback and praise to the employee's personality

Day 180
Six months marks the end of the "Honeymoon Period." Make sure to:
 Give special recognition for reaching the six-month milestone
 Continue informal, regular progress meetings
 Proactively create opportunities for informal praise and engagement

Days 181-269
By now the employee should be somewhat acclimated, but this phase still requires presence and involvement. It is important to:
 Ensure the employee is challenged enough with the work
 Ensure the employee has the right tools, resources, and training
 Continue meaningful feedback from senior leaders
 Enlist managers to encourage daily recognition between colleagues

Days 271-365
The final three months you should:
 Ensure the employee is socializing well; address any personnel issues
 Keep up frequent positive feedback and reinforcement
 Continue to find opportunities for team events and celebrations

One-Year Service Anniversary
It's time to celebrate the employee's first year by having a work birthday. Among the things to do, be sure to:
 Notify the employee's direct manager ahead of time to prepare for the day
 Invite the employee's peers and colleagues to attend and/or participate
 Provide refreshments, party snacks, and healthy alternatives
 Provide presentation pieces to managers to enable a formal ceremony
 Have managers prepare a few words highlighting the employee's contributions
 Invite senior leadership to attend and give personal thanks
 Give the employee a gift of choice   

Cord Himelstein is vice president of marketing and communications for Michael C. Fina Recognition. Learn more at