Congratulations! You’ve gotten through the hard part: hiring a new direct report to join your ranks. Hopefully they’ll be starting soon and you can get going on all the exciting goals you’ve set for them in their new role.
But before their first day arrives, there are a few things you as a manager should do to prepare to welcome a new employee with open arms. Some are more logistical—like figuring out where they’ll be sitting and what they’ll be working on in their first week—while others are about ensuring that the person feels appreciated, included, and comfortable coming into a new work environment. In fact, many of these tips are drawn from things we do here at The Muse when new hires join our team.
Here’s what you need to do in the week before they arrive.
1. Connect With Them on LinkedIn
You’re about to work together closely, so why not let them into your professional network? You certainly don’t want to have to awkwardly request them after months spent sitting next to them every day.
Additionally, this is a great opportunity to welcome them before they’ve even entered the office. When you request to connect, include a nice note along the lines of:
Hey [Name], just wanted to say I’m so excited to work with you and can’t wait to reconnect in person!
Welcome to the [Company] team! We’re all thrilled to have you join us.
2. Create an Onboarding Document
This is probably the most important step to take whenever you hire someone new. This document will be the person’s life raft as they get situated in their role. It should include:
- Your goals for the person’s first 30, 60, and 90 days
- An outline of the tasks you expect them to own or take over
- Any relevant documents, links, calendars, or logins they’ll need
- Any meetings they’re expected to attend in their first few weeks or regularly
- Names, contact information, and background of team members and colleagues they’ll be working with
Ultimately, the more you document the better—that way you proactively answer any questions they may have.
In many cases, it might even make sense to have the person’s direct teammates contribute information about projects they’ll be working on together or should know about. This gives your new hire the lowdown, while also allowing your other direct reports to feel more involved in training their new teammate.
Lucky for you, we have the perfect onboarding template for you to work off of. Created by our founder and president Alex Cavoulacos, this is the template we often use to help our newest team members get situated.
3. Jot Down Your Initial Questions
Your head is probably swimming with ideas, questions, and opportunities for this new employee.
Rather than let those thoughts get away, start a document to jot down anything that comes to mind. You may find you won’t need or want to address them when the person actually starts, but having them written down will make you feel confident you’ve covered everything.
4. Shoot Them an Email
The best bosses do this! Why? Well, as Muse writer and editor Stav Ziv points out, your new employee probably just went through an exhausting stretch of giving notice and transitioning out of their last role. And, “as a manager who wants this person to hit the ground running, you’d obviously hate for your shiny new employee to start off on a stressful note.”
Sending an email before they start to convey how happy you are that they’re joining the team will make them that much more excited for their next adventure. It can cover some important stuff, too. Obviously you want to welcome them to the team, but you can also use that note—if HR hasn’t already—to address their official arrival date and time, discuss company dress code or culture, request any relevant documents like their passport or ID, or even provide an outline of their first-day schedule.
Of course, you should always end by letting them know that you’re happy to answer any questions they have before they start. As someone who has been on the other side, I’m sure you know how intimidating it can be to start a new job with zero context. So make it really easy for them to feel comfortable walking in the door that first day.
Read more about what that welcome email should look like (and use the handy template!).
5. Get Their Desk Space in Order
This may require some IT help, but make sure everything technical is squared away. Getting this done now saves you from spending three hours on day one figuring out how to turn their laptop on.
Do they have a computer ready for them, and is it charged and updated? Do they have an email account set up? How about setting up your internal chat system or other important programs they’ll need access to?
Is their desk space clean and empty? Are you sure you’ve moved out everything belonging to the last person who sat there? Is there any other equipment—a keyboard, mouse, USB, extra monitor, extension cord, or filing cabinet—they may need that you can provide?
This is most likely your new employee’s first stop when they arrive, so make it a welcoming space. Throwing in some company swag, their favorite snack, or even a card signed by the team never hurts, either!
6. Send Over Any Relevant Docs
These may be included in your email to the new hire, but it also may make sense to share any documents you want them to review beforehand in a separate email. This could be your company’s employee handbook and benefits packages or your team’s onboarding document.
Regardless, give the person context so they know why you’re sharing these documents, what they mean for their role, when you expect them to look them over, and if they need to prepare anything.
(Oh, and of course, make sure all these resources are up-to-date and accurate before your new hire digs into them.)
7. Find an Office “Mentor”
Maybe your company has a buddy program. At The Muse, every new hire is given a “Muse Buddy” from another team that they grab coffee with their first week to talk about our company culture and mingle outside the office.
If there’s no formal system in place, consider pairing your upcoming new hire with a “mentor” outside your team—it could be someone they may not work with directly or someone in a completely different department.
This helps the new hire immediately get to know others within the company, and it also gives them another outlet for asking questions they might be afraid to bring up with a manager they barely know. Having a third-party contact can ease some of their concerns and allow them to be more open and curious about your company’s culture and workflow.
Just be sure whoever you choose is available and eager to be a mentor—nothing’s worse than connecting your new hire to someone who immediately ghosts them.
8. Block Off Time on Your Own Calendar and Set Any Important Meetings
Just as you need to prepare your new hire for getting onboarded, you also need to prepare yourself for doing the onboarding.
Training a new employee takes time—time you usually spend on your day-to-day responsibilities. So it’s smart to proactively set aside slots when you’ll be working closely with this person so you can gauge how you’ll get the rest of your work done.
Not only should you be scheduling at least one one-on-one meeting every day their first week to check in on their progress, but also making time for any training sessions they’ll need to attend that you’ll be joining.
Doing this gives you a chance to reserve any conference rooms or other resources you might need. If you’re onboarding a remote employee, for example, you’ll want to make sure your video chat works and you both have a space to talk privately. Or, if you need to loop in a third team member (or several), you should check and see if they’re available to meet that day.
9. Schedule a Team Lunch/Coffee/Drinks
Hitting the ground running is a priority, but so is getting to know your employee as a person (with a life outside work!)—and letting the rest of your team get to know them, too.
Schedule an outing (or two) for your team to grab lunch, coffee, or drinks together so that it’s on everyone’s calendar ahead of time. You can keep it intimate with just your direct team, but if it’s a smaller company you can consider inviting other departments you work with to join as well.
This isn’t about showing off your newest talent, but rather providing your new employee with an opportunity to bond with their colleagues outside the office. And being the kind of boss who values camaraderie and fun as much as hard work. Keep the talk to non-work related topics (but keep it appropriate). If you need some conversation starters, check out these great get-to-know-you questions.
When I first started, the entire editorial team went out to a nice lunch, and we’ve done the same for other new team members since. Not only was it a treat to splurge on the company card, but it also immediately shattered any awkwardness we felt toward one another.
Check all these things off your list, and your new employee will start off on the best possible note—and so will you!