How to get a new employee off to the best start
in Employers

How to get a new employee off to the best start

You’ve managed to recruit the perfect candidate for your job. It has taken you quite literally months to get the person interviewed, and then to accept your offer and then to serve their notice period. But the big day comes when they actually start work with you – so what things can you do to make that new candidate feel like this has been the right move for them?


Firstly, you need to make them feel welcome, and make sure that your staff make them feel welcome. It is all well and good you being exceptionally nice to the new employee, but not great if the rest of your staff don’t make an effort to speak to them from the moment they walk through the door.

You need to be aware of the need to make sure the person fits in to the existing team, without stepping on other people’s toes or into their spaces, and to make sure that you do not upset the status quo of your team in order to accommodate the new person. At the same time, you can alienate all your existing staff who may wonder why you are being so nice to the new person when you are never nice to any of them. Make sure you treat everyone the same, but be extra nice to the new person for a short period of time at least!

Private space and IT ready to go

Make sure the new employee has their own space and ensure that the IT systems they are going to use are set up ready for them from the point that they start work with you, rather than at a later date.

Quite often we hear from candidates who have joined a new firm and ring us the following day to complain that the place is awful, they have not got their own computer, and nothing seems to be set up for them. Make sure that on the day the person starts, you have the right equipment in place for them ready to sit down and commence work. In particular, ensure they have a desk.

I can think of a couple of horror stories where candidates have turned up on their first day only to discover that the firm actually do not have any offices for them to work from, or even worse, the firm have evicted an existing employee from a room or desk to accommodate the new person because they do not have anywhere to put them. Not only does behaviour like this cause resentment between employees, it also makes the new person feel very unloved.


Make sure you have work for the new person to do. We sometimes hear of candidates who join a firm who welcome them with open arms, show them their desk, switch on their computer, introduce them to all their new colleagues, and then go away and leave them sat in a room without any work to do.

If your firm does not have any work for the new person to do, then it is not exactly going to be much of an encouragement for them to stay around with you. People do not like sitting in a chair doing nothing, even if they are being paid. It can be quite soul destroying. With this in mind, make sure you have lots of work ready to give the new person.

Work overload

Do not overload the new person with work. We get telephone calls from candidates who ring us on the second day to say that all was well and good on the first day and everyone was very nice and everything looks to be there ready to go, but on the second day the desk they were sat at was suddenly coated in hundreds of files and things for them to do, and they weren’t sure how to cope in the long term. Gradually ease your new employee in, and do not throw them in at the deep end without any assistance.

Good atmosphere

A very rare occurrence but it does happen – keep an eye on the support staff. You may get along really well with all of your team at the firm but a new person may find that the staff resent them, and there is a bit of an atmosphere going on. As the boss just keep a careful eye on the support staff to make sure that they understand the new person who has come in has your full confidence and is very capable. In due course everyone will settle down with the new dynamic sorting itself out.

We have come across very occasional incidences where candidates have phoned us in tears to say that it appears like a secretary or office administrator is completely undermining everything they do, and going out of their way to make them feel bad about their work. Try to ensure that this does not happen – there is a lot of importance to making sure that the new person has your trust and the support of your team and it is your job as the boss to make sure that this happens.

Moving in gift

It can be a really nice touch for a new person to have something on their desk on the first day to congratulate them on their move, whether this is a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of prosecco or a box of chocolates, it is just a nice thing to do to welcome the person to your business. Small touches like this hardly cost the earth, but they can make a world of difference to the psyche of the person starting a new job.

Photo and social media

Finally, take a photograph of the new person with your team and stick it all over social media. This shows you are welcoming the person with open arms into your firm, and that they are a new valued part of your team. Make sure you highlight their experience and skills so that your clients and other parties can see that you have successfully managed to persuade someone to come and join your practice who has an exceptional level of skills and adds something to your team.


So many of us as employers forget within a very short space of time that everyone who works in your business needs to feel valued. This is particularly so right at the start of their employment, and doing small things like the above simply gets everyone off to a good start.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at