“Good seasons start with good beginnings.”
—Sparky Anderson, Hall of Fame Baseball Coach

How you start matters. Whether it is the first of baseball season (like now), the first few miles of a marathon (when you can sprint too fast), the first words to your kids in the morning (encouraging or discouraging), beginnings are critical. They set the tone and they offer direction.

Brand beginnings matter as well—especially with your new employees. There is only one chance you have to make a great first impression with your new hires. And that is in the first few hours and days they spend with your organization.

What is the first thing you have them do when they arrive for their very first day? Is it complete a bunch of H.R. paperwork, read policy and procedure manuals or watch a boring training video? If that is the case, you just blew a prime branding opportunity. Remember, it is your staff that lives the brand every day. The tone and example you set with new hires is what they will carry to their job.

We often talk about “onboarding” new members or customers. But what about how we “onboard” our new employees. Developing brand standards for how you initially present your financial institution to new hires is critical to your brand’s success.

According to Scott Bedbury, in his outstanding book A New Brand World, Starbucks requires all new employees to attend Brew U., where you learn all the ins and outs of the Starbucks culture, value and brand.

At Neighbors Credit Union in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, they literally roll out a red carpet for their new hires and have tenured employees cheer the new people.

When strategically rebranding one of our clients recently, we spent a great deal of time during a brand workshop with the executive team discussing their new hire onboarding process. They changed the new hire process to now include a unique welcome, an overview of their brand and strategy, and having lunch on the first day with an executive team member. They won’t turn to H.R. training and paperwork until the afternoon. That first morning will all be about brand, culture, strategy and the connection their job has with the brand’s success.

Concerned about social media and its negative effect in the workplace? Some financial institutions turn that negative into a positive on the first day by having new hires take “selfies” of themselves at their new work station and post it to their social media channels.

The key is to look for creative ways to “wow” your new hires.

Many coaches exhort their players to “finish strong.” While finishing strong is certainly important, when it comes to your brand and your new employees you also need to “begin strong.”