Everyone remembers their first day of work. It may not be the exact play-by-play account of who greeted you first or what you wore on the first day, but it leaves a very lasting impression for the duration of your stay in the company.
Research has shown that organisations with a strong onboarding process increase retention by 82%. In today’s changing workplace where employees’ expectations are changing, first impressions matter a lot. The pandemic and lockdown have shone a light on companies that championed flexibility, work-life balance, and a great company culture. This created a ripple effect where companies now are tasked with the challenge of showing new talent that they care about their employees and invest in their growth and well-being.
The promotional marketing world is no stranger to creating memorable experiences for new talent. Recruitment teams often seek us out to create welcome packs for new employees. This welcome kit often comprises branded merch that helps show them a little appreciation as they join their new team.
In this article, join us as we take a closer look at why welcome kits for new employees are something that companies should consider in their onboarding process, how you can get creative with them, and how to design an effective onboarding kit.
What is in an Employee Welcome Kit?
An employee welcome kit is more than just some branded merchandise. Think about it from the perspective of any new hire in your company. It is their first day and they are anxiously expecting to be ushered into their new roles, awaiting the different welcoming and onboarding processes. One way to give them a proper welcome is through these welcome kits that help them feel prepared on their first few days at work.
More than just a gift, these employee welcome kits allow you to:
- Provide important information — Ensure that employees do not get lost or confused throughout their onboarding process by giving them all the information they need through handbooks and setup guides. This helps equip them with the knowledge, tools, and confidence as they take on their new role.
- Make a great first impression — Give them a memorable start through a welcome kit as they make a transition to the company. This helps make them feel valued and set the tone for a positive relationship with the company.
- Improve their performance — Provide them with the necessary tools, knowledge, and resources that enable them to be successful in their roles. This helps them contribute to the team much faster, which can improve your team’s efficiency and productivity.
- Make them feel welcome — Promote a sense of team spirit and belonging through a company-branded welcome kit.
- Reduce employee turnover — Reduce turnover and save on training costs by ensuring a smooth onboarding process that makes new hires feel welcomed, valued, and engaged.
Essential Components of a Modern Welcome Kit
A welcome kit is not rocket science. It is one way of creating a more welcoming workplace through a package that reflects your company’s values. There are many tried and tested kits that worked for other companies but there are still many ways to add your personal flair to them.
Here are some of the common things to look out for in creating welcome packs for new employees:
- Welcome letter — A personal letter from the manager or CEO that expresses their excitement about the new hire coming on board as well as the expectations for them.
- Employee handbook — This is a comprehensive guide that includes essential information such as company policies, dos and don’ts, company culture, benefits, and more. Even if the HR representatives would inform new hires of this information, it is still great to give employees a copy they can go back to. This can either be a physical handbook or a well-designed sheet with a QR that can lead them to the right digital resources.
- Work setup guides — These guides would walk them through how to set up their company laptops, software, email, and other important tools they would need.
- Branded merchandise — Logo-branded merchandise are items that contain the company logo that help reinforce their branding such as pens, notebooks, notepads, mugs, stickers, t-shirts, and tote bags. You can go the extra mile by printing or engraving their names on the items.
- Office supplies —Everyday items they can use such as sticky notes, paper clips, folders, and desk organisers. These are basic but important necessities that would make their day-to-day jobs easier.
- Tech accessories — Gadgets and accessories that can help aid their productivity such as a mouse pad, phone charger, phone or tablet stand, power bank, and the like.
- Food and beverage — A snack box filled with treats, coffee, or healthy snacks.
- Team Information — This can come in a handbook form or even a flier that showcases the company’s culture and what their idea of fun is outside of office work. This is a great chance to introduce them to their team members through informative bios, highlight team-building activities and breakthrough performers, and show why the employees love working for the company.
- Gift Cards — Gift cards are a great welcome gift as you can let your new hires choose what they want to get.
Crafting a Personalised Starter Pack
Now that you know what items are typically found in these employee starter packs, the challenge is how you can make personalised employee gifts. An effective employee welcome kit conveys your company’s culture and fosters employee pride and loyalty to your new hires. They should strike the balance of showing your company’s personality while being practical enough to be used day-to-day in the office. While the actual components of the kit would vary on your company’s culture and budget, here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Company introduction and culture materials
We have to start with the basics. New employees would need a handbook or guide that would help them in their onboarding process. This can be a manual that contains company policies, a guide for setting up their accounts and tools access, and even a map of the office layout so that they wouldn’t get lost.
Wearable items go beyond company-branded shirts or hoodies. These can be caps, lanyards, or even a tote bag. This can help give them a sense of belonging especially when they can rep these at the office.
Mugs or tumblers for beverages
Staying hydrated is an important part of any person’s day. A drinking bottle, mug, or tumbler is a practical item that can be used every day. More than having the company’s logo on the cup, this is also good for the environment as it is reusable.
Trends or industry-specific items
If your company is fast-paced and one that is constantly evolving with the times, then having a trendy item is a great way to show your hires that you are up-to-date. An example of this is having a branded fidget spinner or cube, which became popular as a way to keep people occupied with something to fidget with. You could also go with industry-specific items such as having tech accessories like phone chargers or pop sockets for tech-focused companies.
Showing off your company culture and fun side through customised welcome kits is one way to give your new hires a stronger connection with your company and leave a lasting first impression. If travel is a big part of your company culture, including a travel kit would be a good idea to get them excited about your future team-building trips.
Navigating the Digital Landscape – Online Onboarding Resources
The adoption of technology in the workplace has also seen the rise of digital onboarding resources. This is useful for online employee orientation and onboarding or if your company values sustainability by forgoing paper waste.
These can come in various forms but here are the most common:
- Welcome videos — Short video messages from the manager, team members, or CEO. This video can talk about the company’s mission and culture and show some excitement about the new hire joining the team.
- Visual presentations — Keynote slides that talk about necessary company information, policies, and benefits creatively and engagingly.
- E-learning modules — Online courses, short videos, or guides on learning more about the company’s products and services or the industry.
- Knowledge repository — This is a central database containing the policies, FAQs, and other necessary employment information that the new hires would need to access.
Technology is at the forefront today and it is important to show how you can blend technology seamlessly into their onboarding process. It modernises and optimises once traditional processes to make for a more effective and streamlined welcoming process.
One of the benefits of this is that new hires can access the relevant information and resources on demand. Centralised information repositories are there that give them the documents and resources that they need. Anytime and anywhere, they can engage in independent learning and problem-solving. A recruitment staff wouldn’t always have to be there for them to learn more about the business and their work.
For virtual teams, online onboarding processes are an invaluable way for them to connect with their colleagues and be up-to-date with the job even without setting foot in the office.
Creative Employee Gifts for a Memorable Onboarding Experience
Creative employee gifts are another way to make their onboarding experience memorable. This goes beyond just giving them company-branded items and showing that your company values them by getting to know them or by going the extra mile. Here are some ideas to make their welcome kits memorable:
- Engraved items — Pens, journals, coasters, or paperweight containing their engraved names is a nice personalised touch to have.
- Birthstone or astrological-related accessories — Go the extra mile by giving them a small token whether it be a necklace or keychain that reflects their astrological sign or birthstone.
- Curated music playlist — If your team has done some extra research on your new hires, you can curate specific music playlists that suit their preferences.
- Caricatures — Hire a caricature artist who can draw funny portraits for your new hires.
- Wellness kits — Let them unwind from a busy day at work with items like a massager, neck pillow, yoga mat, and more.
- Eco-friendly items — Show them how you care for the environment through bamboo pens, bamboo golf accessories, recycled totes, and sushi sets.
- Personalised fortune cookie — Give them a personalised fortune cookie that contains a heartfelt message.
The Role of Company Culture in Welcome Kits
Tips for Designing an Effective Onboarding Kit
Determine the budget
The first step is determining your budget. How much you can do is constrained by this so it’s important to determine how much you can allot for every employee welcome kit. If the budget is a bit tight, then you should focus more on practicality than creativity. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo more creative ideas altogether. Try to strike the perfect balance!
Focus on practicality but don’t forget creativity
Going practical is always a safe choice. Focus on items that they can use and rep on a daily basis such as branded pens, notebooks, or shirts. These practical items will serve as the ‘must-haves’ and then you can think of other creative items you can toss in the kit such as company-branded socks or a pack of cupcakes with their initials on it.
Tailoring your employee welcome kit to each new hiree is a small gesture that goes a long way. This has many levels from tailoring their package to their department or industry, like including a sticker of a tech joke for developers, to actually including their names and preferences to each item. You can create a pre-onboarding survey to new hires to learn more about their interests and hobbies, which can help you personalise each kit.
Gather feedback and improve
Employee welcome kit are not one-size fits all. Some may appreciate it more than others. The only way you will know is if you get feedback. Gather feedback from new hires and ask what they liked, what item they found the most useful, and what could be improved. This will help you design future welcome kits.
At the end of the day, the employee kit is a reflection of your company’s values. Don’t force anything that does not feel genuine to your company’s culture. When designing onboarding materials, think hard about the main values of the company you want to focus on and how to best convey this with the chosen items.
Level Up your Onboarding with A Welcome Kit for New Employees
Creating a welcoming workplace plays a huge role in an employee’s likeliness to stay and be motivated in their jobs. Welcome kits are great as they can help new hires get a better grasp of the company’s culture and values and give them a headstart at adjusting to their new roles. Part of employee onboarding best practice is to create a package by personalising the kits, focusing on practical items, and showing your company’s authenticity are all equally important to remember.
We at Red Tomato are passionate about creating promotional products that help give you the best first impression. Explore our different welcome packs to kickstart creating your onboarding kit! Get in touch with our team today!