What I Learned from The Guy in The Mailroom

A man is looking at books on shelves.

First impressions are everything. And when it comes to starting a new job, it’s do or die. But how your coworkers view you isn’t the only thing that matters. The impression your new work environment gives off is equally as important and it will tell you a lot about your future at a company.

Horror Stories

I’m sure you’ve either experienced it or heard horror stories from family and friends about the less than perfect first day of work. You attend orientation for a new job, and your boss mixes up the start date. Chaos ensues as they rush to get things back in order. What about the new hire who just went over the last of their paperwork, only to be told there’s no desk available for them to get started? Or how about getting to your new desk to find the previous employee’s old ketchup packets and family pictures? Some companies don’t even provide computers, pens, pencils, and other essential gear.

After these experiences, the overwhelming feeling I’m sure you’re left with is disappointment. What you once hoped would be a fulfilling career move with a great company turns into a thought process that’s all too common.

“If this is the best the company can do for my first day, I’d better start looking for something else.”

Invest in Day 1

One of the most essential parts of the employee life cycle is onboarding. But it’s also one of the areas where companies tend to fail the most. Today, these companies are facing challenges having too many open jobs and not enough workers to fill them. In a post-Covid world, workers are demanding more recognition and respect. According to a study by Workhuman and Gallup, there’s a huge correlation between employee well-being and employee recognition. And it’s no surprise, recognition leads to better workplace dynamics and improved employee performance and productivity.

Sometimes the simplest acts significantly impact you, especially when you’re anxiously starting a new job. Coworkers or bosses reaching out with kindness gives a great start to your relationship and allows them to feel more comfortable in their new environment. These experiences stick with you, and sometimes, you’re able to pass on the same kindness when you meet a new hire. Unfortunately, most leaders fail to see the power that lies right in their hands.

A Lasting Impression

Let me give you one example of a positive lasting impression. It’s my first day as the head of talent acquisition. New job, a new location, and I had just finished the never-ending paperwork process. I get to my office to get organized when I hear a knock at my door. In walks a gentleman who introduces himself and welcomes me aboard. “I’m Brett, I work in the mail room. I’ll be handling your mail. Just wanted to stop by to say hello and put a name with a face.” I thanked him and asked if he welcomed every new hire like this. He said he tries his best to do so.

This simple gesture significantly impacted me, and I began doing it myself. I would go out to the lobby each week as new hires gathered, introduce myself, and welcome them aboard. This took only a few minutes out of my day but made an impact on the new hires. It provided them recognition and support as they started their first day on the job. Some even felt comfortable enough to stop by my office in the passing days just to say hi, ask questions, or begin a conversation. Who knew a simple introduction could begin a collaborative, positive relationship with new coworkers? And I learned this from the guy in the mail room.

If you need help developing an impactful onboarding experience, contact us here for a free first consultation.