was it the right decision?

[NOTE: the other day I did a post on customer service called ‘why did you bother?’ I had a great conversation yesterday that reminded me that the same issue applies to HR and onboarding.]

First day at work and almost everyone suffers buyer’s remorse. Was it the right decision? Would it have been better to stay at my old job? Will I like my co-worker? What’s my boss like? My old job wasn’t perfect – I hated parts of it – but there was some good stuff, too. I wonder if they’ll take me back if this doesn’t work out? I don’t know anyone here.

Was it the right decision? That’s what almost everyone is asking themselves when they come in to work that first day. Was it the right decision? Even when it’s a step up in pay, title, responsibility, or moving to a great company. Was it the right decision?

Based on the first hour of the first day on the job at your company, how do you think they would answer that question? How would they answer it at the end of the first day?

Some factors to consider:

Did they know what to expect?

Did they know how to prepare, what to bring, what clothes to wear?

Was someone there to greet and welcome them? Was that person excited to see them?

Were they given a tour of the building so they know where to park, find the bathrooms, and get to the cafeteria/break room/vending machines?

Was their boss there to welcome them, introduce them to the team, show them their workspace, discuss expectations, and help them get settled in?

Was their workspace clean and ready for them? Or did they have to spend time figuring out where everything being stored there needed to go?

Did someone offer to take them to lunch? Or did they have to eat alone?

Was there a plan in place for what they would be working on or doing the first day, and then the first couple of days? Did that plan make sense?

Was someone responsible for creating a fantastic onboarding experience? Is there even an onboarding plan or process in place?

Basically, it comes down to: did they feel expected, welcomed, important, and successful that first day? Did they leave feeling like they made the right decision to work at your company?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, give serious consideration to this one: Why did you bother?

It’s like a car dealer spending huge money on advertising and promotions getting you to come down to their business, set you up to get a car that you think you’re going to enjoy, and then make the actual negotiating and purchase experience miserable. So miserable, that even though you love the car you vow to never buy from them again. And you tell all your friends to never go there. Why did that dealer even bother?

You (hopefully) put a lot of time and effort into advertising for positions, finding candidates, interviewing, and putting together an attractive offer. You have a lot invested in them before they even walk in the door. After all that work to hire them, why not set them up for success from the first moment?

Did they make the right decision? They’ll know after the first day. What’s their answer going to be?


  1. Ah … your post brought back memories of my first day on a job. I arrived, there was no one to greet me. The wonderful young lady at reception pointed me to my office. I went in, sat down, the phone rang, I picked it up and went to work. There was no orientation to the company,there was no tour of the office. After I had been there for about an hour, people started poking their heads into the office to introduce themselves. The continuing challenge was trying to figure out just what my expectations were. Did I mention there also wasn’t a job description?! Plain and simple, it took me longer to get up to speed simply because I had no introduction or direction. But me being me, I just took it upon myself to create a plan and a vision and unless I was told otherwise, ran with it.


    1. Wow! You clearly made it work (though I can imagine the conversation with friends and family that night), but as you point out you could have been more successful much more quickly. I can’t help but wonder what less motivated, engaged, or experienced new hires did at that company.


      1. Fortunately, some other leaders did a much better job at trying to overcome buyer’s remorse. As I built my team, I made sure to incorporate all the elements that were lacking from my first day on the job. On a positive note, I have a wealth of topics for my blog!


    1. Greg, glad you enjoyed. You’re right – it’s an issue that often gets overlooked and falls between the cracks of recruiting, HR, and the departments the employees are going to. It’s such an easy thing to get wrong that it’s really cool and stands out when companies get it right.


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