I’ve worked at more than 15 companies in the past 15 years — I enjoy the variety and the choice of ‘holiday’ time to spend with my little kids. From these 15+ companies, I can certainly say without the slimmest doubt, that there is a right way and a wrong way to welcome new staff, even if only a contractor. I’ll keep with the
Know when your new member of staff is arriving, and meet them at reception. Sounds obvious, but I’ve had to wait for thirty minutes for an interview with a chap at the one place.
Show them around the office. Offer a cup of tea, coffee, water as you show them the facilities.
Show them the fire exists — you are legally obliged to do so, at least in the EU.
Please have their personal computer ready, with monitors, and any licence keys. Again, this may sound obvious, but most companies do have a computer for me when I join, even though their ‘policy’ prevents me using my own machine.
Please prepare an account for them on all relevant servers.
Give them something to read to help them settle in — your technical documentation is better than your corporate blurb.
Show them your product, show them your code. You are probably very busy, you probably have a sprint ending or a release due (which is probably why you got to hire a contractor), but to leave the new member of the team alone, unattached to a team, without but SCM access, is a false economy — more efficient is to pair the newbie with a senior dev for a day and a bit.
Show them around, set up what needs to be set up, introduce them to who they will need to know, and let them join the sprint as it starts.
Next time, a guide on starting a new contract (in short: expect nothing, and be polite!).