By Chris Bongard
15th November 2012

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that we took on our first apprentice, Rachael, earlier this year.

This got us thinking about first impressions, and not just about how important they are. It spurred us to take a look at ourselves, how we work and how we conduct ourselves in everyday business – both internally as well as with the people that we work with outside of our four walls.

When taking on an apprentice, or introducing anyone new to recruitment for the first time, you have to keep in mind that they are a blank canvas, ready to absorb all the paint you can throw at them.

With this comes a huge amount of responsibility, as you will be a central influencer to the foundations on which they will build their career. As they start to form their own values, ways of working and discover their talents, they will look to you, and the people around them, for guidance on the best approach.

We decided that reflecting on our company values was a good place to start as we introduced our newbie to the world of recruitment. This also got us all talking about best practice and how we approach things at KDR.

Our company values have been drawn up by the whole team, ensuring every KDR team member has the same standards and methods of dealing with people and approaching their daily work. In a nutshell, they are to act with integrity, to listen, to deliver on promises and to work as a team.

The process that we've been through in inducting our new apprentice has really opened our eyes. It has helped us to realise the importance of reflection and how it can help you to really understand how you operate on a daily basis, how the people around you behave and the impact they have on each other. In fact, just how powerful first impressions can be.

We've learnt that our values have become an intrinsic part of our business and that they are visible throughout our operation.  We are now working hard to inspire good practice in our new team member.

It’s clear to see that our apprentice is learning fast, absorbing new tasks and information daily. These first few months are also the time when it’s easy to start to form bad habits. It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure that those starting out have the best possible chance to develop and succeed.

With this in mind, it’s important that the more senior people in a team are aware of the impression that they are giving so that they can help instil good practice. During this time it’s important not to lose sight of your values, to keep them close to you and to have your eye on what’s really important.

If you’re taking on someone totally new to your business and sector it could be a good time to get back to basics and really think about the impression you and your staff portray. What are your company values? How did they come about? Are they shared by your staff? Are they visible in your daily operation? If not, how do you ensure people take them on-board  How do you make sure that all of your first impressions are good ones?

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