I had the opportunity to attend the HCI Employee Engagement conference in Denver recently and really enjoyed Bek Chee’s talk, “Beyond On-Boarding: Using ‘Day Zero’ Engagement to Kickstart the New Hire Experience.”
She described Atlassian’s approach to handling the “dead zone” during those weeks between a candidate accepting a job offer and their first day of work. Atlassian really wants new employees to feel welcome, reassured, valued, and excited during this time. They use the following five touchpoints to engage with folks before their first day.
1. Manager’s Welcome
Within 24-48 hours of a candidate accepting an offer, their new manager reaches out via text or email to welcome them and share a “So glad you’re coming!” message. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, but it creates a connection and demonstrates that the team is aware of and anticipating their arrival.
2. New Hire Welcome Pack
Atlassian also mails each new employee a welcome pack. This is a nicely branded box full of company swag. My favorite part is that they include a viewfinder with custom reels. This is a cool and creative way to demonstrate the importance of company values and share them in a fun, engaging medium.
3. Gift Certificate
The welcome pack is followed by a $100 gift certicate. The idea is to congratulate the recipient on their new job and suggest that they should celebrate! Perhaps they could spend the money thanking the people in their lives who are making this change possible and supporting them through the process. Or maybe they’d like to celebrate with their friends, get a massage, or go for a pedicure. Interestingly, Atlassian found that they get roughly the same response from sending a $100 gift certificate as they do from a $500 certificate.
4. 90-Day Roadmap
Atlassian shares a 90-day roadmap with each new employee. This is a custom Trello board with cards indicating what they’ll do on their first day, during their first week, etc. It gives new employees a chance to read and digest this information prior to their arrival so that they can show up feeling informed and ready to go.
5. Human Point of Contact
Finally, each new employee is assigned a second point of contact in addition to the manager. Folks need to know where to park, what to wear, when to show up, what to bring, etc. They likely won’t want to bother their new manager with all of these details, but their recruiter may not have the answers. So Atlassian makes sure that they have a contact who can help with these questions from the start of the “dead zone” period.
New Hire Experience at Atomic
Atomic hires a cohort of college seniors as part of our Atomic Accelerator program each fall. These folks start the following summer, so their “dead zone” is measured in months rather than in weeks. This has led us to adopt similar touchpoints to the five listed above. We do a couple of additional things that are worth mentioning:
Atomic hosts an intra-company conference for the entire company. We invite all of our new hires to attend this three-day event. It’s a great way to get to know some folks prior to arrival and get a better feel for our interests and culture.
We invite new employees to our quarterly company parties and happy hours. We host social events roughly once a month, so there are many opportunities for new employees to come join us for a nice meal and some time to meet their new colleagues.
Hopefully, some of those ideas can help you improve the experience for folks starting at your company. If you found them useful, I’d encourage you to watch the full talk—Bek’s a really great speaker!