> First-Day Memos
Hiring a new employee? Everyone knows the first day is often the toughest - new names and faces to learn, new ways of doing things, perhaps questions about "did I do the right thing in coming here?" The worst thing a manager can do on the first day is to let the new hire sit in their cube and get bored - it will set the wrong tone for their whole experience at the company. I usually try to stack the first day full of meetings so that the new hire gets a broad exposure to everything going on at that point in the company's development, gets acquainted with the company's meeting style and culture, and can even start thinking about some projects they might want to dive into.
A great way to orient the new hire to the company right from the start is to provide them a first-day memo that covers everything they need to know to get started at your company. Although it may take a little while to write your first first-day memo, thereafter it's very easy to adopt the template for successive new employees. Here's what it should include:
- Welcome to the company
A warm welcome to make the employee feel good about their decision to join your company
- Important contacts
A list of key people the employee will be interfacing with, along with their roles and contact details
- Important links
A list of the key tools the employee will be using (intranet, wiki, bugbase, development and production environments, etc.) along with any user IDs/passwords if necessary or appropriate
- Important meetings
Any standing meetings throughout the week the new employee should expect to attend, so they can add them to their calendar (or request to be added)
- First 3 projects to work on
A description of the first 3 things the employee should start investigating and/or specific deliverables you expect. When the employee has a few minutes during the first few days, they can already start working on them.
Of course every first-day memo is different, and you should customize each one to suit the individual and the role. You may also wish to include more about your management style, any specific expectations you have, or specific information about your organization that all employees should know.