The anticipation's been building. You've been through the first and second round interviews and the phone rings. As the first day of the new job starts you are excited and ready to go to work.
As much as employees need to take advantage of this situation employers have a lot to gain or lose as well. Several places I've started it's been clear that they just plain weren't ready for me. If the job involves more than flipping hamburgers it's worth spending some time planning out the first days and weeks of a new hire's work with some care.
1. Make the tools available - Nothing is more unsettling than going in to a new company and not having the basics. At the minimum a phone, email and office or cubicle need to be ready to go on day one. Make sure the employee has keys or whatever things are necessary to get in so they can come in early or stay late (which they will often want to do).
2. Introductions - Make sure the new employee is introduced, face-to-face, to everyone in the division, office, or company depending on the size of the firm. This is a great chance to get your new employee more familiar with the work environment and learn a little bit about each person.
3. Projects - Have some projects lined up for the first few weeks. The best projects involve getting in to the organization and establishing working relationships with key people she or he will be working with. Map out a mixture of some projects and time spent in less structured exploration for the first few weeks.
4. Information - The basic information about leave policies, how to call in sick, job description and hours are a must. In addition any information you can provide about the general direction of the group like strategic plans, project plans and the like are useful to help the new person get oriented.
5. After the first day - After the first day be sure to follow up with making sure the workspace is suitable and that any necessary changes are attended to promptly. In the first few weeks you'll likely want to meet on the evaluation process so the new employee knows from early on how it works and what to expect. As projects become more autonomous and training more detailed setup meetings to coordinate with the new employee and the department.
Keeping in mind the first day on the job is the first time that you have to impress the newest member of your firm with how your firm treats employees is key. Just as a new employee wants to make a good impression the employer should pay careful attention as well to what the employee will think of the firm.