One of the trickiest parts about talent acquisition is onboarding new hires properly. Your onboarding strategy can set you up for long-term employee success when done right. But here's the kicker — studies show that 76 percent of organizations follow a poorly designed onboarding process.
Because so many companies are underutilizing the potential of a good onboarding plan, there's nowhere to go but up. But if you want to truly create a program that resonates with your recruits, you have to pay attention to the little things. Those small steps can make a huge impact.
A welcome packet, also known as an onboarding packet, is one of the biggest "small" steps out there. It's an initial line of communication that serves as a reference point for the onboarding process, FAQs and other important details.
Let’s learn more about the idea of an employee onboarding packet and the 10 things you should definitely include in yours.
What is a new hire welcome packet?
A new hire welcome packet is a collection of virtual and physical items to introduce a new employee to the company.
A welcome packet makes the first impression of your company and sets the tone for a healthy work relationship. It also offers quick access to all the information an employee would need to get started, such as login, desk setup and other resources.
5 benefits of sending an onboarding packet
An onboarding packet is more than just a nice-to-have. It's an ideal way for businesses to welcome a new employee to the team and kick-start their journey. Besides communicating the company's expectations of a new hire, a welcome packet can:
- Streamline onboarding: This packet informs an employee about the action plan from day one. New hires get necessary details like the office location, company policies and FAQs.
- Improve retention rates: A personalized onboarding kit makes employees feel valued and wins their trust early on. The positive impact on a recruit can ultimately translate to employee loyalty and longer tenures.
- Share your company values: Include a company culture charter in your onboarding packet to showcase your workplace values. This can nurture their understanding and interest in what you stand for.
- Maximize employee productivity: 62 percent of companies with a structured onboarding process enjoy a higher time-to-productivity ratio. A welcome packet gives employees a primer on the company and its role in fueling their productivity.
- Show appreciation from the start: Use this packet to extend your appreciation for an employee. Include customized gifts based on the brand or their interests.
Now that we understand the difference an employee onboarding packet can make, let’s look at 10 elements that you should get started with.
Top 10 must-have things to include in your welcome packet
No two welcome packets are alike. Every company can create a unique onboarding kit to create a solid first impression. But to ensure that your welcome packet ticks off all desired objectives, here are 10 components that you must add:
1. Personalized welcome letter
A welcome letter from a top-level executive — usually the CEO — is the most exciting part of the onboarding packet. A personalized letter elaborating why a candidate was selected and what the company has planned for them is an ideal way to get them excited on day one.
This welcome note sets you apart from other employers and shapes a positive employee experience from the start.
Here’s how you can write a personable welcome letter:
- Congratulate the employee on getting selected and tell them why they were selected.
- Share the company’s core values and outline what’s expected from them.
- Convey key details about the welcome packet, like what’s included.
Write this letter to reinforce your confidence in the candidate’s ability and give them a hearty welcome to the team.
2. New hire announcement email (or social post)
Note that while this won't physically live in the packet sent to your new employee, it's an important piece of the puzzle. An email announcing the news about a new hire on the team is super crucial. While this might seem like a no-brainer, many HR teams fail to make the most of this announcement email.
An announcement email should inform the entire company about a new hire to ensure that the candidate receives a warm welcome. To do that, the email should ideally:
- Introduce the new employee with details about their experience, current designation and direct manager.
- Speak about the candidate’s achievements, hobbies and quirks to create room for friendly conversations.
- Encourage all employees to welcome the new joiner to the team by doing small actions like sending a note or reacting to the email.
This email is the best way to introduce new hires and acquaint them with the entire workforce. You can also do this on a public scale by posting to your social platforms (such as LinkedIn) and tagging the new employee.
3. Paperwork and forms
A welcome packet is virtually incomplete without all the documents and forms that a new employee must complete. Although these documents might differ from one company to another, they'll typically rely on the same standard requirements.
You can include these forms in the onboarding packet:
- I-9 form.
- Employee contract.
- Direct deposit form.
- Emergency contact form.
- Confidentiality and non-compete agreements.
Add a dedicated section in the welcome packet for all these forms. You can also use a learning management system to handle these documents from a single dashboard and avoid mismanagement.
4. Employee handbook
The employee handbook is one of the most valuable parts of your welcome packet. It tells a new hire everything they need to know about the organization — from policies and code of conduct to workflows and role expectations.
Share the employee handbook to give your new hires a quick head start before they reach their formal training.
This detailed document can answer initial questions and explain all the company policies. It also clarifies the org’s expectations from a new employee in various ways, like dress code, grievance redressal, workplace behavior and more. That way there are no surprises when they walk (or log) in on their first day.
5. Onboarding plan overview
Share an overview of the onboarding program to prepare new joiners from the start. Knowing their schedule for the first few days or weeks can better manage their time and produce optimum results.
This 30-60-90 day plan overview can include details like:
- Date, time and venue for the orientation session(s).
- Training schedule and trainee information.
- Breakdown of activities and training for 30, 60 and 90 days.
- Learning goals and performance expectations.
An overview of the onboarding program both shows that you're prepared and lays out what your new hire can expect — and what's expected of them.
6. New hire questionnaire
A new hire questionnaire is a perfect way to get to know your new team member. This short survey collects details about the employee, how they work and how to best support them. It's an easy way to collect important data and show your employee that you care. In a best-case scenario, you'll send a new questionnaire at important milestones throughout onboarding. The first part of that survey can go directly into this welcome packet.
7. Branded welcome kit
The most exciting part of your onboarding packet is the welcome kit with branded goodies. Many companies curate a package of items like a backpack, notebook, t-shirt, bottle, mug... the list goes on! Onboarding kits welcome a new hire to the company and indirectly promote your company. More often than not they'll want to showcase their "swag" to their network.
A welcome kit doesn't need to break the bank. The real value here comes from conveying your excitement and making them feel part of the team.
8. Team structure and directory
Most new employees feel lost in a pool of strangers when they first join. To avoid this feeling and empower your hires from the outset, give them access to the team directory. This would help in putting faces to names and encourage them to communicate. Want to go the extra mile? Add a link to everyone's LinkedIn and encourage your new hire to connect!
Along with a team directory, you can also attach an org chart for a peek into the organizational structure.
9. Company culture essentials
Your company culture is one of the biggest pillars of your onboarding plan. Introduce new hires to the work environment you believe in and offer a glimpse of your professional values with a company culture outline.
This document can include:
- Company goals and team ethos.
- Snippets from your org-wide events.
- Core value propositions for employees.
- People policies that are unique to your company.
- Company culture videos and employee spotlights.
Give new hires an accurate picture of your organization and how their role will support the growth of the entire team.
10. Resources and tools
Lastly, the final part of your onboarding packet should have all the details the employee needs to get started. So, include handy information like:
- Office location and map link. (If they're remote, make sure they have all their logins!)
- Office amenities that they can use.
- Office supplies like a company device.
- Login access to tools and platforms they need to start working.
Keep these details for the end so that your employee can be totally prepared before they get started.
Design a fantastic onboarding packet
An effective onboarding plan can be a game-changer in winning a new hire's trust and loyalty. The onboarding packet is an easy and effective way to streamline processes, remove potential friction and share crucial information that gets the ball rolling.