Preparing For an Employee’s First Day

Effective on-boarding enables new employees to establish a network and foster a spirit of collaboration.


Once the decision to hire has been established and the new employee is on board orientation is paramount.

The first day at any new job can be a little crazy. Preparing before the employee arrives will foster a spirit of teamwork and collaboration. The following checklist provides a broad overview of the documents needed and the timetable at which you should have them ready:

One week in advance

  • Set up email account and technology log-ins
  • Print business cards
  • Appoint a mentor for the new hire

Three days in advance

  • Prepare new employee folder with attendance (arrival, lunch, breaks), daily check-in information, payroll calendar, sick time, jury duty and vacation policies and medical absences (Family Medical Leave Act)
  • Prepare contract for employment, if applicable, with salary and benefits information
  • Accumulate insurance forms
  • Print I-9 form and documentation checklist
  • Assemble all documents into a folder or on-line file.

The forms are fairly self-explanatory. In selecting a mentor, think of a friendly employee who can answer questions about culture and help the new hire learn about the company, its customers and business. Ideally, the mentor is someone different than the supervisor.

Should an employee's first day be fun?

There is a war to attract and retain the best talent.  Studies show that employees stay at an organization because of the people. The first day is a great time to show the new hire how much you care for him/her and all your employees.

Ask the mentor to meet the new hire at the office at a designated time on the new-hire’s first day for a tour of the office.  The mentor may also want to briefly introduce the new hire to co-workers. After the tour, give the new hire technology log-in information and the new hire folder (prepared above) so he/ she can complete vital employment paperwork.

I like to save more thorough introductions and office discovery for an exploratory scavenger hunt.  In a scavenger hunt, the new hire learns 1-2 facts about co-workers by interviewing them. Provide the new hire with a set of intriguing facts about his/her co-workers and instruct the new hire to match each fact with a name. Facts should be fun ("drove a school bus on an Indian reservation in North Dakota for two years before moving to NY to attend graduate school"). The purpose of the hunt is to build rapport between the new hire and co-workers. You can also expand the scavenger hunt to include learning about the surrounding area, nearby amenities and even clients.

Next page: Ok, but I hired the person to delegate


About the author

Brian Heese

Brian Heese is the Director of Corporate Work Study Program at a unique high school in Harlem called Cristo Rey. Cristo Rey’s mission is to provide a college-preparatory, high school education to students who for academic or financial reasons cannot attend another quality high school.  Since the students’ families can’t afford to pay private school tuition, the students work at premier companies and assign their earnings to the school. The jobs pay about 45% of the cost of their education; the remainder is funded by donations and a small amount from the students’ families. Brian leads the job program by establishing relationships with companies, training the students for their positions and servicing the 100+ clients that hire the school’s students. Learn more about the Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program here