Reduce your new hire's first-day jitters by giving them the perfect welcome.
Talent scarcity and high turnover are some of the most prominent challenges organizations face, so it's essential to engage and retain employees from day one. In a research brief, Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. Furthermore, per SHRM Foundation's Effective Practice Guidelines Series, Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success author, Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D., "Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster the new hire feels welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm's mission."
So, what new employee warm welcome are you including with your onboarding? Keep reading to learn what our top managers recommended during a Q&A assembly!
- Virtual Meet-and-Greet
Do a small group meet-and-greet over Zoom before your new employee starts, and in addition to the manager attending, include the assigned mentor. This way, your new employee will start their first day having another friendly and recognizable face, which shows your consideration. It also helps alleviate those frequent butterflies most of us have when starting a new job.
- Welcome Gift(s) and Personalized Card
There's nothing like getting a little surprise in the mail. We all like free things, and getting mail that isn't a bill or jury duty notification can be pleasant. Do you have company SWAG? If you don't, it's worth investing in it to mail things such as company pens, notebooks, coffee mugs, and attire to new employees. Don't forget to include a nice hand-written congratulations card; maybe even have the team sign it. You can also research providers such as Blue Mountain to send a digital package with an eCard and link to your online store. You can set a budget to allow the recipient to select their gift(s), which is like a perk and adds to the warm welcome.
- Team Outreach
During our manager Q&A assembly, one of our favorites was simple yet effective. Imagine that you're starting a new job next week, and on Friday, you get LinkedIn connection invites from your new teammates, with pleasant and welcoming notes. What a great way to connect, put faces to the team and learn from their profiles.
- Personalized Org Chart
In addition to getting invitations and notes from teammates, imagine you have a team directory that helps connect the dots on who's who and more. Provide your new employees with an org chart, including names, titles, pictures, and fun facts about each person. You can also provide your new employee with team autobiographies one week before or the week they start.
- Welcome Video
Videos can be relaxing, informative, and fun. Our founders' video shares the company's highlights, history, early struggles, and triumphs. It also showcases our founders' excitement for the future, as in what's to come and how we can contribute to making it happen. That's inspiring!
Another angle you can take is a series of short Q&A videos built into a 4-week orientation. Growing a rapidly expanding team, one of our managers did Q&A session recordings with three team members. The sessions included questions that introduced insightful responses and were very effective at demonstrating the team's culture. Questions will obviously be unique to your group or organization, but the following are a few of our examples:
- How do you describe your position and responsibilities to family and friends?
- What advice do you wish you had known earlier?
- What advice would you have given yourself the first week or month?
- What are some of the favorite parts of your job?
- What are some of the not-so-favorite parts of your job necessary for what you do?
Once you've recorded the sessions, you can pair them according to your needs depending on the number of questions and responses. Ours have been compiled into four 5-6-minute videos and built into our organization's 4-week orientation.
- Welcome Email or Post
The first day on the job can be overwhelming, so make an effort to ensure a welcome email is at the top of your new employee's inbox. You can also send or announce the welcome via your office Teams Channels, Slack, etc. The use of these platforms introduces a little more engagement and fun with the help of GIFs, memes, emoji, and instant messaging. After the nice welcome lead-in, you can send other more traditional communications for guidance, resources, and support, i.e., onboarding training, equipment, HR resources, etc.
- New Employee Introduction Meeting
Nothing helps people feel more associated than connecting the dots on shared interests, backgrounds, experiences, etc. During a new employee's first week, take the opportunity to give them the floor to share more about themselves. Another recommendation includes doing a new employee, About Me one-pager. Ask your new employee to take some time to review and complete the About Me sheet, knowing that they'll be sharing it during their first or second team meeting. It's a great way to give the reins to the new employee while initiating team engagement and discussion.
- Welcome Breakfast or Lunch
Many of our managers' teams host a team breakfast or lunch the first week to welcome their new teammates. It's a nice way to encourage a gathering for the entire team at the office. It's also a nice break from working from home and being isolated from your team.
- Round-Robin to Share Advice
Here's a quick leadership tip around creative, effective teams that prove powerful ten years later. Have a team round-robin when new employees start and have the team take a moment to share a piece of advice or wisdom for being successful in that role. By implementing these types of round-robins, you're making a visible effort to create a cohesive team full of committed individuals who feel valued. Imagine how much managers can learn from what their team has to say!
Each of the above is an excellent team-building opportunity that communicates just how invested you are in your new and existing employees' success. And when it comes to building teams with positive, meaningful relationships, making sure that your new employees feel welcomed contributes a great deal from day one. Not only will it help warm and fire them up for starting their new position, but it will make their transition more manageable, and it might even help turn that person into one of your best office cohorts!
Download and share our New Hire Welcome Ideas List.
Additional resources you can share with your new employees before they start, include the following:
- Managing Anxiety When Starting a New Job – One of our top three most leveraged articles
- New Job, Now What? Orientation & Performance Best Practices Panel Discussion Series – Conveniently watch recorded learning webinars for added insight
Article Contributors: Chris Smith, Chad Macpherson, Erica Woods, Heather McCabe, Karen Pormento-Yu, Kelsey Metzler, Max McKinnon, Shannon Wenger, Vivek Mehta