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Do you make new hires feel welcome before they start?

Created: January 13, 2021

Before the Dark Times (read: 2020), did you ever walk into a party or other social gathering knowing only the time, the location, and maybe one person there? I always get this nervous fluttering feeling in my chest. Then you find that no one is there to greet you or let you know how the event will unfold or introduce you to anyone. That fluttering feeling suddenly turns into a solid rock which then sinks slowly into the bottom of my stomach.

Magnify that feeling by about a million, and that's what Day 1 can feel like for a new hire as the stakes are quite a bit higher than some meetup.

As the person doing the hiring, you can help alleviate or prevent that feeling by being able to answer Yes to the second of our 11 Questions to a Better Developer Onboarding Program:

Do you make new hires feel welcome before they start?

I've written previously about my own experience starting at a NetSuite firm along with a few recommendations for what you can do before a new employee shows up on their first day.

One of the simplest things you can do is to send a welcoming email response after they've notified you of their offer acceptance. Some helpful things to include in the "pre-boarding" email (or series of emails):

  1. Expression of genuine interest and excitement to work with them
  2. Agenda for Day 1, including start time
  3. Names and emails for important points of contact, especially for anyone they're going to meet on Day 1
  4. Reminders for any physical materials they'll need to have ready (e.g. voided check for direct deposit)
  5. Invitation to ask questions or start conversations before Day 1
  6. A quick summary of what the team is currently working on or what type of project the new hire will soon be involved in
  7. Expression of your feelings on why this person is a good fit for that team/project

You're looking to strike a balance among being welcoming and informational without being overwhelming. Unfortunately I can't tell you where those lines are; it's up to you to find the tone and balance that's right for your team.