Pre-Onboarding: Creating a New Employee Welcome Packet

Put yourself in a new employee’s shoes. You just got the call that you landed the job. While you are excited to start a new career chapter, you are also nervous. Will you really like your new company culture? What about your new co-workers? How will the company benefits and insurance work for you? These are questions that race through a new employee’s mind. How do you put their concerns at ease before and on the first day on the job? It’s easy if you focus on pre-onboarding.

Before this new employee steps foot in your office as an official employee, make sure they know what to expect on their first day. Send them an email answering the following pre-onboarding questions:

  • What is the company dress code?
  • Where should they park?
  • When should they arrive and who they should ask for at the office?
  • Who else will they be meeting?

Why and what is a new employee welcome packet?

Once this employee shows up for their first day, you want a new employee welcome packet waiting for them. But what is a new employee welcome packet? The welcome kit is a way to communicate to a new employee right away. It sets the tone for a great working relationship and hopefully a lasting one. Companies should include their mission statement, goals, and any policies that new hires should adhere to. Along with company structure information, should be specific documents to help employees acclimate quickly and effectively.

But do you really need a new employee welcome packet? Isn’t a simple employee orientation or a meeting with their supervisor enough? A new employee welcome packet is vital because you want open communication with this new employee from the start. Why? You have heard it’s cheaper to keep a new employee than hire a new one? Well, it is.

According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, employers will need to spend the equivalent of six to nine months of their salary to find and train their replacement. To put this into numbers, that means a former employee with a $60,000 salary will cost a company anywhere from $30,000 to $45,000 to hire and train a new employee replacement before paying this $60,000 salary to this new employee. So you want to keep this new hire and the best way to do this is with a comprehensive new employee welcome packet.

Besides saving the company money, it makes for happier employees. New hires who are well-informed will:

  • Be able to begin actual work faster.
  • Understand what’s expected of the job immediately.
  • Feel all their questions and concerns are answered.
  • Appreciate the pre-onboarding time you’ve given them.

New employee welcome packet contents

So now that you know some of the benefits of a new employee welcome packet, what should go into creating one? How do you determine what’s vital and what’s not? There is a fine line between informing a new hire and overwhelming him or her.

Download our Pre-Onboarding Tasks & Checklist Here

Determining what to include

A simple way to start creating this packet is asking yourself these simple questions:

  1. How do you want to convey your company culture to this new employee?
  2. What should this new employee know about your company?
  3. Does this new employee need to know certain information from day one?
  4. What will this new hire need on a daily basis to do their job effectively?
  5. How will you make this new hire feel welcome and want to stay?
  6. What training will you provide this employee?

Key components

Once you have these questions answered, it’s time to talk components. Every company’s needs are different, but there are some general components that should be considered for any welcome packet. These pieces of information should serve as a reference guide for pre-onboarding. Some vital details to include are:

1. Copy of new hire email or press release

All employees want to feel appreciated and welcomed, especially new hires. Make a copy of the new hire email or press release you have sent out about this new employee. This will make the new hire feel like part of the company from day one and will inform the company and/or the general public about their new position.

2. CEO welcome letter

You will want to introduce your company and welcome aboard this new team member. This is a great tool to communicate your culture, what employees like about working for your company, and what the company’s short and long-term goals are. The format should match your overall company tone. For example, if you are using a Learning Management System, you could create a welcome letter within your learning content. This serves a double purpose to one welcome them to the company and two, introduce them to your training and educational tools.

3. Paperwork and forms

No one likes filling out a bunch of papers on their first day, but unfortunately, a new hire must complete this process. Within this new employee welcome packet should be these necessary forms. Everything from benefit to tax to compensation to emergency contact forms should be included. To save time and less of a headache, consider making all or as many as you can available online via your learning management system.

4. Culture and strategy

It’s hard for a new hire to get a sense of what the company culture is like. A great way to showcase who your company is, is by providing some tools. Some options are a copy of your annual report, the latest employee newsletter or even a video showing some employees on the job. No matter what department this new hire is in, they’ll want a sense of where they fit in and how their job helps the company overall.

5. Management and team structure

Depending on a new hire’s job, they may interact with several departments on a daily basis. A simple chart with photos and titles of management is helpful. Depending on the company structure, it may also be nice to include the various departments and employees in each department with contact information. And depending on the size of your company, where each department is located within the building. If you also employ contractors or freelancers, don’t forget to include these individuals and timezones if they are in different parts of the country or world.

6. Employee handbook

A copy of your company’s employee handbook should also be included. If you don’t have one, including information about dress code, hours, code of conduct, and other pertinent information is helpful.

7. Technology

If you have an I.T. department, make sure to show this new hire where this department sits. Chances are they will have a computer issue at some point and this initial interaction will this new hire allows them to know who and where to go to for help.

Within this technology portion of the new employee welcome packet should be information about the company policy. Things like what websites are allowed to be accessed during work, if there is an Intranet how does the employee access it, and where other important documents can be found. Also, don’t forget about any initial training this new hire needs. A quick tutorial on your learning management system on day one is crucial. You want this employee up and running as quickly as possible and training is a necessary component of this.

Along with Internet policies, let this new hire know their new email address, phone number, and any logins they will need to access files and/or documents.

There should also be information as to what technology this new hire will receive such as a laptop or company cell phone. And also, what the policy is for taking any company property home or for business travel.

8. Ongoing training

Within your new employee welcome packet, you have already shown this new hire your learning management system. But it’s important to emphasize that this person will receive training throughout their life as an employee. In order to keep employees longer, you need to add value to their careers. Giving them plenty of opportunities for training and development is a great way to do this. Build some pre-onboarding time in to showcase everything contained within your learning management system. Make sure to point out all the ways this new hire can learn and grow.

9. Personal worksheet

You want to get to know this new hire as more than a team member. In order to make them feel welcome, ask them to fill out a brief questionnaire about themselves. What are their hobbies? Did they take a memorable trip? Are there any favorite foods they like to eat? Once you have gathered this information, use it as an icebreaker with their team or in an email introducing this new person to their new department.

10. Pre-onboarding survey

How was this new hire’s experience on their first day? Did you answer all their questions? Did they leave this orientation day feeling confident in their new role? You want to allow this new hire to critique you on your new employee welcome packet. A quick online survey on your learning management system is a great way to gather this feedback. Not only will you make this new hire feel they already have a voice, but you may get some great feedback that enhances your future pre-onboarding process.  Plus, this is another opportunity to show your new hire how to use your learning management system.

Download our Pre-Onboarding Tasks & Checklist Here

Optional components

Now that you know the key items to include in your new employee welcome packet, how do you take it up a notch? There are some fun and unique components to consider that will really set you apart from the competition. Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing.

Personalized/company swag

You want this new hire to feel welcomed. A great way to do this is by giving them a personalized gift. Consider something with their name on it that is also useful on the job. It could be a mousepad or coffee mug or even a unique screensaver. The other option is something with the company name or logo on it. A company branded item will make them feel like an instant team member. And it doesn’t hurt for some free advertising if they use this product outside the office!

Motivation products

Every employee could use some words of wisdom from time to time. Maybe there is a great book that your industry reads as a reference for success. Or maybe there’s a particular market influencer who created a great webinar. Whatever it may be, including this in a new employee welcome packet gives this new hire an added learning bonus. If you can’t think of anyone tied to your industry, search for corporate motivational speakers. You’re sure to uncover some great options.

Work calendar

Consider providing a wall, desktop or even online calendar personalized for your company. You could include events like birthdays and work anniversaries. This will give a new hire insight as to other team member milestones. A simple, “have a happy birthday,” goes a long way to building new co-worker bonds.

Provide a mentor

This may not work with more seniored new hires, but matching employees with an established team member builds an instant bond. It allows a new employee the chance to ask questions and develop a great working relationship. It can also show where an employee can go within your organization the longer they stay.

Examples of new employee welcome packets

There are several great items to put into a new employee welcome packet. It’s one thing to talk about what to include and another thing to actually see it. The good news is there are some great new employee welcome packet examples. Here are some creative and innovate welcome packets for inspiration compiled by Workopolis.com:

1. Cactus (ad agency):

The kit includes a pen, USB, custom t-shirt, employee handbook and a custom copper letterpress that can be used as a nameplate.

2. Ogilvy & Mather (PR):

Some of the components include a floorplan of the office, a slinky, and a copy of Ogilvy’s book.

3. TAP Portugal (airline):

The kit includes a welcome letter, notebook, lanyard, USB, pencil and a pen with the company colors.

4. Percolate’s (marketing technology):

This company takes a two-tiered approach to onboarding. Once a new hire accepts, they are sent a t-shirt, mug, some granola, a tote bag, Kindle, and a handwritten letter of congrats. On their first day, they receive stickers, notebooks, a mousepad, and more items in the branded Company colors.

5. YourStudio (interior architecture design):

The kit includes a seedling in a personalized pot. Included in the package, is a link to a digital toolset with inspirational articles, goal tracking, and communication and contact details.

 

Put your spin on the new employee welcome packet

We’ve given you some details on the pre-onboarding process and why it’s important to create a great new hire experience. Hopefully, these details will inspire you to create your own unique new employee welcome packet.

If you still need assistance creating the technology portion of this onboarding process, we can help. Investing in a learning management system (LMS) is a great way to centralize the learning needs of new hires and beyond.

We’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Do you currently have a new employee welcome packet? If so, what makes it successful? If you are thinking of creating one, what will your key components be and will you have any creative features?

Kristy is a content writer for Continu and marketing freelancer. When she’s not working on her latest blog post, she enjoys tackling new recipes and destressing during yoga sculpt.