Do you remember your first day at your company? Even the most confident of us were wondering what to do and who to meet.

Hopefully there is a wonderful onboarding process to walk you through your first 30 days.. but Day 1 is the best time to make a great impression and set expectations.

First day lunch can go one of two ways. You can grab their new team and all go out to the local hangout for lunch and start socializing across the team, or you can take them out by yourself. The latter works best if you already have a weekly team lunch scheduled, as we do.

The schedule on Day 1 starts with new hires meeting HR to go through salary, benefits, etc, then on to IT for computers, security policies, etc. By lunch they are ready for a break and a social one-on-one to fill in any gaps.

The onboarding process has already put the lunch appointment on yours and their calendar, but usually with a TBD location. At this point you probably don't know their preferences, so I always ask them to choose a location on the way out. If they're new to the area, pick somewhere casual and not too noisy.

I ask for feedback on the onboarding process around day 7 and day 30, and one key element I ask about is how we could make their first day(s) easier - add their feedback to your list!

The learning curve at most company's is steep enough without having to find your own way around.

So the list below is growing and changing a little with every hire, but it is the list that I currently use (it's stored in my workflowy app).

Remember, the overall vibe is to make them feel welcome and comfortable, not just to strictly "give them more information".

Points to touch upon

While at lunch:

  • Start getting to know them; history, hobbies, where they live, etc
  • Ask for two paragraphs of bio and a fun photo so you can introduce them to the company via email
  • Basic information (skim, in case they haven't heard it already)
    • Core work hours, flex time
    • Who to notify when late, need to WFH or run an errand
    • Taking breaks; walk the block, play foosball, etc
    • Attending standup is critical
      • Remind them of standup time
      • Do they know standup format?
    • Purpose of weekly demo
    • Level of detail for timesheets, how often, where to fill in, codes to use
    • PTO requests
      • How much they get, how does it accrue?
      • Does it rollover annually?
      • Is it capped at a specific amount?
      • Rule of thumb - you ask for 1 week notice for every day requested off
    • Dress code; formal/informal, be specific
    • Describe the team
      • Remote, on-site, full-time, contract
      • Teams we have; devops, support, qa, product
      • Highlight prominent team members they'll be working with
    • Describe environment and culture
    • Your philosophy and expectations
      • Core values, e.g.
        • Trust
        • Transparency
        • Relationships
        • Continuous improvement
        • Learning
        • Supporting
        • Servant leadership
        • Blameless
        • Pragmatic
      • Release early and often
      • Over communicate - tell everyone everything early
      • If you do something wrong, or see something wrong, it's ok to raise hand ASAP
    • Describe your weekly email - you'll send them a link to the archive
    • Reporting structure. Make it clear who to go for in different situations
  • Discuss 1-1's, discuss recurring weekly time
    • It's their meeting, bring questions, thoughts, suggestions
  • Discuss their first tasks; learning the ropes
    • Share marketing glossies, white papers and KB's that describe your products from a user perspective
    • Get source, build locally, install into vm
      • Do you have a step-by-step wiki page for newbies?
      • If you do, update it with answers to every question they ask
    • Their first 30 day plan: perhaps bugs to learn codebase, then mini-features
    • Where to find next task, and who manages that list/kanban
  • "Office hours", who can they visit and when (e.g. 30 mins after standup and lunch)
  • Buddy system
    • Pair with 30-60 day newbies that just went through it who still remember Day 1

After lunch, back at office:

  • Introduce them to as much of team as possible, but especially:
    • Their team lead(s)
    • Manager of their tasks
    • Who they can visit for office hours
    • Other newbies
  • Invite to all recurring meetings; team lunch, weekly demo, happy hours, etc
  • Remind them to send a bio/photo
  • Setup Evernote page for them
    • Note their start date
  • Setup 1-1 on calendar
  • Send announcement to team

Tip: Select the bullet lists above and paste them straight into workflowy so you can have it on your phone for your next first day lunch

This first one-on-one checklist is a great way to welcome your new hire and make sure they have everything they need to hit the ground running.

You'll have your first one-on-one with them in a few days, and in the meantime you'll hear from them in tomorrow's standup and have your team available to help.

Don't forget to celebrate their first bug fix/checkin!