With 65 percent of professionals actively looking for new positions, companies know the value of investing in the employee experience. This is good for hiring teams feeling the brunt of longer hiring cycles and higher turnover. Seeing happy new employees has never felt more rewarding.
Keirsten Greggs is a talent acquisition consultant who is no stranger to drawn-out days helping companies navigate the Great Resignation. She describes the past two years as a period where many in her position felt both overwhelmed and very alone. Seeing excited new hires unboxing their employee onboarding kits on LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok became a frequent morale booster.
Keirsten says that the ramp-up period after an employee signs an offer letter is critical for building and maintaining workforce satisfaction. “During the onboarding phase, we need to do everything we can to stay connected and to make people feel like they belong,” Greggs adds.
This guide teaches how to instill an early sense of belonging by building an employee onboarding kit that makes new hires proud (and loud!) about joining your ranks.
What is an employee onboarding kit?
An onboarding or “welcome” kit is a curated package of gifts and office supplies that help introduce new hires to your company’s culture and brand. Include the kit in your pre-onboarding process or present it as a fun surprise on their first day.
Organizations that invest in a memorable onboarding experience will likely retain 69 percent of their employees for at least three years. At companies like Google, Ogilvy & Mathers and Wrike, this investment includes taking the time to add exceptional value. Each of these companies offers a robust onboarding kit.
Why your company needs an employee onboarding kit
A successful onboarding process is hard to forget, and it plays a significant role in shaping how employees perceive their workplace.
Once a hire signs their offer letter, companies face a new challenge — convincing them to stay. With employee turnover reaching historic highs in 2022, companies with a warm welcome are more likely to stand out.
Think of your employee onboarding kit as a tangible representation of how a company wants to be seen by new team members.
“[Onboarding kits] are a reflection of your company culture, and you’re going to want to show employees that you care about them. If your new hires have their arms full and are saying, ‘Look what I got today!’ it just adds to their excitement and reinforces their decision to work for you.” – April Faulcon, talent acquisition manager at COMCO Inc.
Here are a few ways companies can use employee onboarding kits to encourage early engagement from recent hires:
Show employees a future with your company
Seventy-eight percent of employees are likely to stay with a company longer if they have better ways to envision a career path there. This path starts by helping new hires feel a sense of belonging and long-term identity right from the very beginning.
The onboarding kit is also an exercise in showcasing your messaging, vision and brand. The Ogilvy & Mather Induction Box had many companies rethinking their approach to building early enthusiasm for company values. The box is a physical representation of the eight creative habits that represent the company.
(Source: Ogilvy & Mather)
It also includes a printed book introducing Ogilvy & Mather’s rich history. These additional pieces help new hires embrace those creative habits and visualize their context, instilling a desire to make their own mark.
Deliver a unique first impression
Your onboarding kit gives new hires a taste of what’s to come. You don’t want them to associate their early days with dry onboarding documents and radio silence.
Instead, show them that your team invests in building the best employee experience. One way to develop a unique onboarding process is by giving new hires a say in their onboarding kits. You can do this by sending them a short survey with options.
“Maybe some new hires might want four notebooks instead of a mousepad,” – Keirsten Greggs, talent acquisition consultant
Creating an impactful experience can also be as simple as paying attention to your conversations with candidates throughout the recruiting process.
“I once had a candidate share that he loves keeping tropical fish, so we included a bunch of small Goldfish snacks as "packing material" in the box with his other onboarding goodies,” says Caro Griffin, founder of the tech operations community, Opsy. “His manager included the usual welcome note with a, "PS. We hear you like fish." It was a huge hit and something that he referenced throughout his tenure!”
Build brand advocacy
If you’ve ever received an onboarding kit or employee appreciation gift, you know what it feels like — appreciation, unity and a sense of pride for what you do.
Welcome kits trigger excitement while building brand advocacy. Give new hires the chance to feel that enthusiasm from the very beginning. Include branded swag or an onboarding packet highlighting your company’s vision, mission and values.
You don’t have to break the bank. Add a personal note from HR or a direct manager. Greggs’ most memorable welcome gift was a travel mug. It wasn’t anything extravagant, but when she popped the lid, she found a handwritten note.
“New hires like this, and you can always tell that they do,” Greggs says.
Introduce personalized employee experiences
Employees produce their best work with a company that respects and supports their individuality, creativity and professional aspirations. An employee onboarding kit is a perfect opportunity to better get to know new hires.
You can include a questionnaire or survey in your kit, asking about their favorite activities or interests. You can use this information for office celebrations, birthdays or even plan team-building activities.
Greet your employees with proactive efforts to promote their future involvement with your company. They’ll be just as inclined to match your energy and fully invest in their work.
Prepare new hires for what to expect next
Beyond the swag and fun gifts, your employee onboarding kit should help new hires navigate the next steps of the onboarding process — whether that’s forms to fill, policies to learn, or new protocols to follow.
For example, you can provide branded folders or binders containing a(n):
- Employee onboarding guide.
- Outline of benefits and perks.
- Printed slide deck or brochure.
- Login credentials for office devices and accounts.
For a visually interactive approach, prepare them for day one with step-by-step documents for accessing materials, logging in to their portal, or even using role-related tools. Platforms like Scribe give you instant access to automated guides that you can easily update, share and use for each new hire.
“With new hires, everything’s pretty much a blur. You can share things with them verbally, but then also have something that they can go back to in that kit and say, ‘Oh, they did mention this, and I see where it’s outlined here. It’s not just the nice mug or items like that, it’s the information and how that’s presented — presentation matters, and candidates are impressed by that.” — April Faulcon, talent acquisition manager at COMCO Inc.
8 themes to inspire your employee onboarding kit
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to welcoming your new hires. Companies today are spoiled for choice with several unique concepts, designs, and items to choose from.
The ongoing shift in workplace culture is an opportunity for companies to make fun choices. Whether you include apparel, office supplies or even something for their next self-care night, your onboarding kit is a chance to add a creative personal touch.
1. For the ones who love being plant parents
Gardener or not, it’s hard to go wrong with a little green buddy to spruce up the home office.
2. For the working parent
Go beyond the office with items that inspire family fun. This mini S’mores set is perfect for a movie night in!
3. For the ones that told you about their favorite snacks
Some work better when they’re well fed! Ask new hires what their favorite snacks are and surprise them with some delicious treats.
4. For supporting local delicacies & small businesses
This kit by Tech Knowledge Solutions highlights local goods from their locale in New Brunswick, Canada. Build community and support local. It’s also a great way to make remote employees feel connected.
5. For promoting work-life balance & self-care
Show new hires you care about their wellbeing with items they can use for a relaxing Friday after work.
6. For the home chefs & foodies
Employees are more productive when they can be creative and explore new hobbies. Here’s one way to support those who find joy in great food. (Don’t we all?!)
7. For the ones with workout regimes
Whether it’s yoga, pilates or going for runs, encourage physical health and activity, especially for new hires who will be hunched over their desk all day.
8. For the ones with the big ideas
This box of goodies helps creative juices flow. Have some fun with it and include items to stimulate the mind during coffee breaks or for a mid-day distress after hours of deep work.
You don’t need a big budget to welcome new hires
A great employee onboarding kit doesn’t have to include branded items or hundreds of dollars worth of goodies. New hires will feel special based on your effort, not the dollars you spend.
“We think that it costs a lot of money to make people happy,” says Greggs. “And I promise you that a lot of it is just about being human, being caring for one another.”
By planning ahead and clearly defining goals and outcomes, HR teams can reduce the cost of putting together onboarding kits by keeping a few tips in mind:
- Think of a central theme or message that you want to convey.
- Work together with marketing teams and direct managers to present your story in a relatable and relevant way.
- Focus on what adds the most value to your new hires’ day-to-day.
We hope these ideas encourage you to get to know your new hires a little better. Take a chance and surprise them with a fun onboarding kit that shows appreciation and investment from day one.