Successfully welcoming a new employee into the workplace displays professionalism, a friendly company culture, and solid organizational skills. When an organization provides a smooth onboarding process, a new hire is more likely to experience a good first impression of their new place of employment. Showing a new employee that you are excited for them to be joining the team is going to motivate your new employee and make them feel valued.
Why is welcoming a new employee important?
According to a recent survey, employees who have a negative onboarding experience are twice as likely to look for other career opportunities in the future. On the other hand, research has found that organizations with a positive onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent.
Welcoming new team members to your organization is also important because it extends a formal, professional greeting that makes them feel appreciated and valued from the beginning of their employment. When new people feel welcomed in the workplace they may find it easier to develop positive connections with their colleagues. This can build confidence, improve their willingness to communicate openly, and make it easier for them to cultivate meaningful workplace relationships.
How you welcome your new hires can help them to understand your company culture by demonstrating your core values and brand voice. Welcoming your new employees with a message that reflects your organization establishes your standards for communication. It's an effective way to show new employees what to expect in their role and encourage them to perform at their best in an unfamiliar workplace.
How to welcome new employees to your organization
Transitioning from one job (or from unemployment) to another is always going to be challenging. After their initial excitement of being offered the position, your new hire will be excited about their first day and apprehensive at the same time. They will likely be nervous about making a good impression and fitting in, so it is crucial that you make them feel as welcome and prepared as possible in order to set them up for success.
Below are effective ways that you can welcome new employees to your organization:
Write a welcome email
Sending a well-written welcome email to new employees officially confirms that they have accepted the position and are now part of the team. The email kicks off the onboarding process and opens up a channel of communication before their first day at work. It also provides you with an opportunity to show that you are excited about your new hire and looking forward to what they can bring to the role.
Here is some of the information you may want to include in a welcome email to new employees:
- An official reminder of start date and time
- Outline of work schedule
- Workplace address and any special instructions for checking in – entrance codes or passes, etc.
- Parking information or directions – can include map
- First-day schedule, including info on planned welcome events (Lunch with manager/team coffee chat)
- Items to bring (Social Security card, ID)
- Dress code if applicable
- Contact information
You want your welcome email to make your new employee feel valued, confident, and motivated. Consider including personal details, such as why you hired them, the qualities that caused them to stand out, and what you believe they can bring to the team. Give them a taste of what they can expect and inspire them to be a strong part of your company culture.
If you have the means you can produce a video overview of your organization, featuring any key personnel and points of interest, to bring it to life. This humanizes those at the top, plus with online tools available today it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to create.
TIP: Creating a welcome email template that you can edit and re-use will save you time in your future onboarding, but, be careful it does not come across as overly formal or impersonal.
Sort out the paperwork
The more administrative tasks that can be completed before a new employee officially starts, the better. This is because you want them to be able to focus on people, not paperwork on their first day. There are a variety of online services available for completing work authorization, tax documentation, health care benefit selections, etc. that allow you to reduce the number of forms that need to be filled out on day one.
TIP: Show respect for your new employees by giving them the best chance for a successful start. Don’t schedule an employee to start during a week when their manager is out of town.
Get organized before day one
If you walked into your first day at a new job and found that you couldn’t enter the building because you haven’t been provided with a swipe card and once you arrive in the office your desk isn’t set up and no one knows how to grant you access to a computer, you’re not going to feel great. You’re going to feel awkward, unimportant, and like you should have stayed home.
If your new employee is going to need a parking pass, photo ID card, email address, any kind of equipment, a desk, or any tools or resources, be sure that all of this is organized before their start date. Before they arrive at the office, compile all the new employee paperwork that needs to be filled out in person so they are ready to go.
If you are hiring multiple new employees at the same time, it can be beneficial to have them start on the same day. This saves time and gives them a chance to connect and help each other adjust.
TIP: Decorate your new employee’s work area with brand-appropriate welcome signs, flowers, or snacks before they arrive. Let your company culture shine through in the welcome gifts that you provide. If you have it, company swag is appreciated and will make a new hire feel at home.
Inform other team members
It is important that your current employees know that a new team member is starting, especially their co-workers and superiors. Depending on the size of your organization this could include a company-wide announcement, emails including a short bio, or one-on-one meetings. This can help to ensure your new employee is not met with confused stares and questions and rather receives friendly greetings and conversation starters.
Have training prepared for the first day
You don’t want your new employee to spend their first day at work wondering what they’re meant to be doing. You should have some training ready for their first day. Plan to give them a copy of the employee handbook, discuss the most important policies and procedures, and show them how to use relevant technology like any HRM software and services. You may also want to create general new hire training on topics like cybersecurity, safety, and non-discrimination.
This shows your new employee that you want to catch them up to speed and properly prepare them for the job so that they feel confident and qualified to take on their new role.
TIP: This is your last chance to make a positive first impression on your new employee. Don’t go overboard and let the day contain nothing but paperwork and HR meetings. You don’t want to overwhelm your new employee with information they will struggle to retain.
Set Clear Responsibilities and Goals
It’s essential to set clear job responsibilities and goals so your new employees know what to do to be successful. During the first week, make sure new hires review their duties, tasks, and expectations with their managers. It takes everyone time to adjust to a new role and workplace. It can be helpful to set goals, objectives, and priorities for the first 30, 60, and 90 days.
Help them form strong work relationships
Employee satisfaction increases by nearly 50 percent when a worker develops a close relationship in the workplace. These working relationships make a job more enjoyable and positively impact an employee’s commitment to their career and their co-workers. This means your new employees are likely to be happier and more successful if they have a strong support system. You should be aiming to help your new employees develop key relationships and quickly feel like they’re part of the team.
If possible, speak with your new employee’s co-workers and arrange a schedule for them to offer to connect for lunch, a walk, or a coffee break. This means that if they would like to, the new hire has the opportunity to meet up with multiple new team members over their first week on the job. Of course, you can suggest that your new employee reaches out to other people on the team, but this can be pretty intimidating when you are starting out. If other team members are inviting a new employee out casually to grab a coffee, they’re sure to feel more comfortable. It’s also the perfect opportunity for a tour of the office or the grounds.
If you have multiple people in your organization with the same role, you can pair new employees with their more experienced counterparts. This allows them to ask relevant questions, get advice, and shadow their work. Your new employees will probably feel more comfortable discussing certain topics such as navigating office politics and the unwritten rules of the workplace with a peer instead of their boss. Depending on the size of your business, consider creating employee mentorship programs to help your new employees create connections across departments and seniority levels.
TIP: There are numerous social platforms and online communication tools available that encourage face-to-face interactions. These help to strengthen personal relationships and enable frequent, consistent interactions regardless of time or location.
Schedule regular check-ins
Starting from the first week of hire, new employees should be having regular weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with their managers. These meetings should be designed to help your new employees feel recognized and supported and to develop a strong relationship with their superiors.
These meetings also set aside time for employees to ask questions and share feedback away from other team members so they can learn how to improve and be more successful. Once an employee has been integrated into the workplace these meetings can be reduced, but you should consider having 30, 60, and 90-day performance reviews for new employees.
Ask for feedback
Creating an onboarding process that suits your company, retains employees, and improves productivity is not always going to be smooth sailing. You need to ask for feedback if you are going to move forward. Of course, not many new hires want to criticize the business that has just hired them, but you should encourage them to provide observations on its effectiveness and whether a positive change could be implemented.
Ask questions such as:
- Do the steps of the onboarding process flow smoothly?
- Did you have any questions during the process that went unanswered?
- What areas of the onboarding process would you change?
- How was your first day?
- Are there areas of training you need more support in?
- What are your preferred ways of absorbing and learning new information?
Over time you may start to notice similar feedback and concerns from multiple new employees. This signifies that you need to make adjustments so that you can optimize the onboarding experience for all concerned.
Welcoming new employees – A conclusion
It’s easy to concentrate on the impression a new employee gives you - how they react on their first day, how motivated they appear, or competent they seem - and forget that you and your organization are also making an important first impression.
How an employee is treated throughout the onboarding process and during their first few days at work will have an enormous impact on their experience at your company and their overall well-being and performance. It is worth your time and attention to make sure all new employees are welcomed into your organization with a warm introduction to your business and the initial resources they need to get started.