First Impressions

“We don’t know where our first impressions come from
or precisely what they mean,
so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.”
– Malcom Gladwell 


Think about the last time you met a friend’s family. Was it a welcoming hug or a pleasant handshake? How about a greeting shouted through the house? Were you even invited into the home?

Starting a new role with a new company can be a bit intimidating, even for seasoned employees. It is a lot like meeting your friend’s family for the first time. Clearly, a new job will not begin with a mom’s hug and a home cooked meal however, feeling as though you were left standing on the porch doesn’t work either.

History has shown the tech community can be a standoffish bunch. No one gets too close to the new guy. Usually, he’ll receive a nod across the room or an occasional handshake. Everyone is busy. Those environments make onboarding the new guy’s responsibility. Mapping and finding the right printer is his problem to solve.

This week, I began working at Mercury New Media. The company has been extremely welcoming. Leadership took the time to email the team to announce my arrival. The responses were inviting. The environment was immediately productive and satisfying. All required tools are readily available. The coffee is hot, drinks in the fridge, and snacks in the cupboard – help yourself. If I needed something, all I had to do was ask – anyone. That is as close to a hug a new guy can get on his first week.

Take time to develop your work family and treat new friends the way you want to be treated. Greet them with a smile, a handshake, and some ice breaking small talk. Help them feel good about the new chapter in their life. They just might return a favor someday. An effective onboarding strategy is beneficial to the new hire as well as the team. Everyone wins when the new guy hits the ground running and the team has made room for him to fit in. There are fewer questions and social barriers.

A new team member will not remember exactly what you said. They will never forget how you made them feel. Appreciate the fragility of first impressions – and the first week.

Want brilliance sent straight to your inbox?