3 Creative Ways to Make New Employees Feel Welcome
[Note: I’m pleased to feature this guest post from Rosemary McKee, Account Manager at Rocket Badge, a quality-certified ISO9001 company serving the U.K. With more than 22 years of experience, McKee shares what managers can do to enhance the new employee experience.]
As a hiring manager, your goal is to make new hires feel welcome, valued and part of the team from the moment they say yes, I accept! This is the perfect opportunity to extend a sincere welcome to new employees and promote your company culture.
Taking steps early on to create a structured, thoughtful onboarding process can vastly improve staff retention rates and enhance employee satisfaction, ultimately saving you precious time and money in the long run. Not only a resource-saving measure, implementing a thoughtful onboarding process welcomes new employees, boosts morale and contributes to a positive company culture as a whole.
In this post, we share our top three creative ideas to maximise your onboarding efforts in a way that is easy, fun, and cost-effective.
- Create a ‘Welcome’ Package
Adding a pre-start package to your onboarding process is a great way to welcome new employees before they’ve even stepped foot in the office. Take the time to craft a creative, personalised pre-start package jam-packed with goodies that welcome your new hire and reflect your brand identity. The key here is to keep it relevant, on-brand and on-budget. Prioritise functional, wearable items such as tote bags, t-shirts or badges that your new employee will use and enjoy well into the future.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and include wackier items that are a little more out there, too. Alongside the tried-and-tested pens, pins and stationery combo, Salesforce gifts new employees fun items like a nifty nerf gun. This mix of practical, personal development items with kooky gifts reflects their out of the ordinary company culture and emphasises their focus on fun.
Another effective strategy is to take the conceptual route and create an impactful package themed around your brand’s identity. Payments company Square have designed a novel pre-start package themed around the company’s core values: ‘The Four Corners of a Square’. The contents of the sleek black box includes a square-shaped pamphlet explaining the set of principles, a Square credit-card swiper, a notepad and a copy of the founder’s favourite business-savvy book, ‘The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right.’ Each item is useful, well-designed and helps tell the brand’s story.
- Gamify Your Onboarding Process
Adding a gaming element to your onboarding process is a great way to make new employees feel welcome, build long-lasting interpersonal relationships and break the ice on their daunting first day. This could be as simple as holding a quick-fire quiz in the team’s new starter welcome meeting, organising a scavenger hunt around the office or even setting up a life-size version of the childhood classic ‘Guess Who’ game!
The possibilities really are endless, and can be scaled to suit any size and budget. If you’re struggling for ideas, try reaching out to team members for their input. What could have been done differently to make their first day even better? This is a great way to generate some fresh ideas and involve existing staff in the onboarding process. Why not ramp up the competition even further and get the whole office involved on the day itself, buddying up new employees with more experienced colleagues. This takes the heat off the new hires and contributes to a wider positive working environment.
With lots of information to absorb in those crucial first few days of on-boarding, adding a gaming element can also help with information retention and avoid brain-overload! Project management gurus ProofHub ‘gamified’ their onboarding process with a virtual treasure hunt, making their new-hire’s information-heavy first day of training fun and memorable. The new starter has to scavenge for clues hidden in different areas of ProofHub’s online software, such as tasks, notes, or on individual’s profiles. This is a fun and novel way of familiarising new staff from the get-go with the software they’ll need to know inside-out.
- Outfit the Workstation
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! Kitting out your new employee’s workstation with personalised, branded swag is another great way to start building a positive connection to the company and set the foundation for a stellar first day. This should include all the practical tools they’ll need to hit the ground running, and some extra touches too!
Some effective and cost-friendly items include branded pens, notepads, mugs, laptop stickers and mousepads. A simple gesture such as personalising your new employee’s mug with their name, initials or team mascot goes a long way to creating a welcoming experience and integrating them into the company. It also helps avoid awkward office kitchen mug stand-offs!
Get inspired and think outside the box- make sure their first day is a welcoming and memorable experience that they’ll want to shout about for years to come. One clever and creative idea is to gift new employees a branded desk plant, cactus or succulent. They’re eco-friendly, unique and brighten up the office!
Encourage newbies to get snap-happy and share pictures of their new greenery on your company’s intranet, or using your brand’s hashtag on social media. This is a great opportunity to create engaging content for your social channels and showcase your instagram-worthy office! Take this one step further and incorporate social media into your onboarding process by introducing your new starter with their new company goodies across your social pages. This is a great opportunity to promote your employer brand on social sites like Linkedin and build buzz for your brand.
Incorporating a thoughtful onboarding process is a critical component of smart hiring, and essential for any successful business today, no matter the size or industry. So, what are you waiting for… choose one of the ideas above to get started on the road to maximising your onboarding plan today!