We first started drafting this article about employee welcome kits before COVID-19 stormed the world. We realize many companies are not hiring right now, and some have even had to make painful reductions in staff. That said, these ideas not only apply to welcome kits but can also be used for comfort kits.
Right now is a great time to take care of your staff if you have the means to do so, and the ideas we discuss don’t have to break the bank.
When times are tough, a little thoughtfulness truly goes a long way.
That said, let’s assume you are hiring, or have plans to do so once the future brightens (which it absolutely will). Now put yourself in the shoes of your newest hires.
The first day at a job can be nerve-wracking. One of the easiest ways to help new hires take the edge off is to provide them with a welcome kit. But such kits do more than just greet your recruits—they should get new hires excited and set the tone for their role in your firm. That’s why putting together a rad new employee welcome kit is crucial.
What is a welcome kit?
A welcome kit is the bundle of materials, tools, and gifts that introduces new stakeholders to an organization and helps them feel special. While the kit may include practical elements like an employee manual or pens, don’t stop there. With some thoughtful design, it can both prepare the parties you’re onboarding and inspire a meaningful working relationship with them.
Why employee welcome kits matter
Welcome kits are especially important when bringing new employees into the fold; a thoughtful, helpful kit makes a big difference in how quickly a new staffer becomes a productive part of your team. Something as simple as an org chart and a map can help them learn who’s on their team or navigate between buildings.
However, the best welcome kits go beyond only including practical items, mixing in things that add social connection and personal inspiration. With this balance, an employee welcome kit can:
Encourage employee engagement
Treat your welcome kit like you would giving a great gift. When it delights your new team member, they can’t wait to talk about it. You might even plan for that engagement with fun onboarding tasks or challenges that require new employees to seek out answers from their new colleagues.
Reinforce your company’s culture
Everything about your welcome kit reflects on your company culture—from the materials and items you use and include to the design details. New employees can glean a lot about your culture from these details. Because of that, the best welcome kits are those that are thoughtfully designed, similar to how you might think about marketing materials or corporate gifts. Packaging, presentation, and messaging all reflect the company culture and set a tone for the new team member to emulate.
Foster a sense of community
Winning welcome kits get to the warm heart of your organization. Use humor and highlight team building activities and philanthropy programs to help new staffers get to know the community that surrounds the company. These softer, social elements give new employees a sense of how they’ll be treated.
Clearly define expectations
As important as warmth is, this welcome kit also provides a good opportunity to clearly define your expectations of new employees. Checking boxes to show that new hires are aware of policies isn’t enough. To clearly define expectations, you might need to work with your HR director or in-house counsel to simplify policy language related to areas like harassment, insider trading, and other formal policies. Handling these issues too casually can lead to serious problems down the line.
Set employees up for success
At its heart, a great welcome kit is part of an onboarding process that sets employees up for success. For instance, make sure they’re aware of any training resources or mentors available to them. Plus, be sure to include tools that facilitate their job, like a bluetooth headset or a wireless charging dock for a company-issued cell phone. By ensuring that your new hire has everything they need for the challenges ahead, you can give them the best possible chance to blossom in their new role.
What are the essentials of an employee welcome kit?
Of course, every company will have their own take on a new-hire welcome kit. But there are some basics every kit should include:
- Welcome letter from the team: A personal welcome from team members—and better yet, leadership, too—sets a positive tone for the whole package.
- Any relevant new hire paperwork and forms: Include legally required paperwork like tax withholding and emergency contact forms as a basic part of the kit. It’s a great way to be sure every employee fills out all the necessary paperwork.
- Employee handbook: Since the employee handbook already compiles key policy statements, you’ll want to be sure it’s a core part of the welcome kit.
- Staff directory: Include a directory or high-level org chart so that new hires recognize key people and can look up anything else they need to know.
- Any relevant training resources or schedules: Since your goal is to give the new hire their best chance for success, don’t overlook training resources. By including them in the kit, you’ll be giving them the tools they need to get up to speed.
- Company swag: Nothing says “We’re excited to have you on our team” better than a gift in the form of swag. Depending on the nature of the role and the company, that gift might be modest or generous, but don’t overlook the sentiment.
What are some popular new hire onboarding gifts?
A consistently popular new employee welcome gift is something the new hire will use and appreciate every day. Examples include:
- Notebooks and journals: Emblazoned with the company name and or logo, these notebooks represent the company in both internal and external meetings.
- Pens/pencils: To make these special, choose something that’s a few steps up in quality from what’s available in the company’s office supply stockroom.
- Power bank or wireless desktop charger: Access to power for mobile devices like phones and bluetooth headsets is a must.
- Water bottles and specialty mugs: These are perennial favorites in an office setting, because they’re on hand at most every meeting. Plus, with coffee shops now offering discounts when you bring your own mug, these gifts are more popular than ever.
- Wearable goods like t-shirts, hoodies & polos: Nothing says you’re an insider like a team shirt. But to be sure that wearable swag will fit, ask new hires what their size is before they even start.
Examples of employee welcome kits
As a swag company, naturally we try to drink our own champagne whenever possible. Notebooks, drinkware, wearables, and other accessories comprise our welcome kits. We frequently send swag gifts to our staff, including work-from-home items that make life more manageable during pandemics, for example.
(Credit: Erika Stutzman Deakin, Barnraise Communications)
Though it’s great to be able to include all sorts of impressive swag, employee welcome kits don’t need to be extravagant. Barnraise Communications, a boutique content marketing firm based in Colorado, put together this kit. It features office essentials like a company-issued laptop and monitor, security key cards, and an employee handbook.
Items like these are crucial to helping new team members do their jobs and know what’s expected of them.
But new hires were greeted with some other items, too: a welcome card and a gift card to a nearby grocery store where many employees grab lunch. These thoughtful touches help showcase company culture and help bring fresh faces into the fold.
(Credit: Dispatch marketing team)
On-demand delivery technology company Dispatch welcomes its new employees with a mix of practical and fun, branded swag. Included are pragmatic gifts like ballpoint pens that double as touchscreen styluses, and an insulated mug to either keep in the office or use on the go. There are also some bonus items such as a branded shirt and decal to help new hires feel like they’re part of the team.
The easy way to build your employee welcome kit
Clearly, welcome kits serve a vital and special role in onboarding new employees. Not only do they outline what you expect from new hires and provide the resources to get them started, welcome kits also make newcomers feel like they’re a valued part of the team.
However, curating, sourcing, and managing all of the swag and gifts that go into a killer employee welcome kit can be a daunting task.
But with Printfection, it doesn’t have to be.
Our team works closely with vetted vendors to craft a catalog of on-trend swag that employees love and handles all of the logistics—ordering, storing, and distribution—so you don’t have to. Contact us to learn more and set up a demo today.