since I just started at a new company and am in the first few weeks in the “getting-up-to-speed” phase where you go around feeling kinda useless and stupid, I have two good, solid tips for how to make sure to get your new employee a flying start.
So when you have to hire a guy three years from now to your gloriously successful start-up, whip out this post and make sure to:
1) Have everything ready for them.
Computer, chair, phone, keycard, whatever system access they need (especially to SVN/TFS/etc – for some reason version handling always gets forgotten by HR, I wonder why…).
Everything you need to do good work should be there ready to use at day 1 – no exceptions. If the hire has a choice of computer or phone, make sure to sort this during the time between the signing and the first day so everything is ready to go.
If you have this all sorted and stars align on that first day, you have a chance to…
2) Have the new guy/girl make an impact in the company on day 1.
First day at Lavasoft, I got to fix a bug for customer support that caused their support form to give the customer the impression that their ticket failed submitting, causing the customer to type in the same request over and over again in an increasingly agitated tone, producing a nice mess for the support department to deal with.
I wrote a single line of code, managed to publish the change and voila! – instant gratitude by the support department and saved money for the company on day 1. Couldn’t have asked for a better start.
This was by pure chance in my case but in future hires, I will try to make this part of the introduction plan – to have a task that needs doing that day that is important for the company, so they get to be the hero on the first day of work. I forgot this at my last company, so this is as much a reminder to you as it is to me.
Some ideas for suitable tasks might be:
- Fix a bug that can be published the same day.
- Improve the language of a particularly nastily written public webpage / wiki.
- Answer customer questions on the company forum.
- Fixing the resolution of the projector in the conference room so that it actually fits the canvas. (We might have this problem at work…)
Can you think of other useful tasks in the same spirit?