Getting the right employee for your business costs time and money. And after searching for, interviewing and hiring the right one, don’t risk losing them with a poor welcome.
How well staff are received can directly affect productivity, morale and retention so it is important to welcome new staff in the right way.
First impressions do matter so the welcome should showcase who the organisation is. It should be designed to make staff feel part of the work community, not to overwhelm them or make them uncomfortable. To achieve this, divide the welcome into two phases; before the staff arrives and after.
Welcome new staff before they arrive
Share important documents before hand
In addition to the contract, there might be other important documents like an employee handbook that you can email your new hire before they come to work.
This will help them get updated on company policies and to begin to feel like they are part of the team. Ideally, policies should have been covered during interviews but this document will give more information.
You can also use this email to ask for extra documents such as a copy of their ID or photos so that once the employee comes in to work, important things like workplace IDs have been processed or are in the process of being processed.
Don’t forget to attach a welcome message to let the employee know you are looking forward to having them. This is a good way to begin to build a relationship and to establish that communication is an important aspect at the organisation.
Ask current employees how your welcome could be better
Your current employees were once new and were welcomed to the company. Ask them, through one-on-one interactions or through surveys, what they liked about your welcome program and what you could do better. This proactive step will make you alert to the experiences of new employees and help you plan a better experience for them.
It is also important to let current employees know that a new person or people will be joining the team and share their names. You can go ahead and send a welcome email with the team members in copy so they too can send a hello to their new colleague.
This will ensure that when new staff show up it is to a warm environment and not to one where no one knows who they are or why they are there.
Get their workspace organised
You shouldn’t wait till staff arrive to start to organise their desks. It can be very frustrating and a detriment to morale when an employee shows up and the office manager has to temporarily seat them at another colleague’s desk.
Show them that they are an important part of the team by taking care of this ahead of time. If there is need for any logins and access cards, take that into consideration beforehand as well. Alert the person in charge of this, usually IT, so that they can make the necessary arrangements.
Plan for a small get together as an ice breaker
Part of what is going to make your employee thrive is a good working relationship with their colleagues. Before new staff join, schedule a suitable time for a welcome get together with team members your new hire will be working directly with. Coffee, drinks or a meal are simple ways to get everyone in the same space in a relaxed atmosphere.
Welcome new staff when they arrive
Customise your welcome kit
A well curated kit is a great way to welcome new staff. It is one of the first ways to show that an organisation values its employees. Go beyond the requisite items like manuals and include company swag-notebooks, t shirts and hoodies.
The kit can include items that are functional, that is, for work and those that are fun. An interesting book, candy, coupons for coffee at a café close by can land in the fun category. Some companies are able to include gifts like head phones, ear buds or power banks that can tick both of those boxes.
A welcome kit shouldn’t only be reserved for in office hires, be sure to send one to your new remote employees as well.
Line up a buddy
Assigning another employee to guide a new hire is a great welcome tactic and a great onboarding tool. According to research by Glassdoor, proper onboarding can improve staff retention by 82%. It can also improve productivity by 70 %.
A buddy helps the new employee navigate being in a new environment and fitting in. A new employee comes into a workplace with people that already have an established language, customs and tricks to handle that printer that gets jammed.
A new hire can lean on their buddy in confusing scenarios and seemingly mundane situations like how to order lunch.
Use the first days to introduce them to other staff
You might be eager for the new employee to hit the ground running but before they can fully take on their tasks, they need to know their team. If the organisation is very large then limit the one-on-one meetings to those the employee will have more frequent interactions with.
These introduction meetings can be informal and done over lunch or more formal, depending on the company’s needs and culture. They should include what the colleague does and how that work is fed by or feeds into the new hire’s work. This will limit the instances of your new hire having to ask who does what and where to find them.
Remember this information can be a lot to take in at a go so provide a list of office extensions or access to the company structure so new staff can do a quick check when they need to.
The first days at work make a big impression on employees. They can affect morale, productivity and retention. Companies should strive to have an engaging welcome experience that supports employees to do their best and makes them feel like part of the team.