How to welcome new employees: your complete guide
It’s hard being “the new kid” at work—not knowing who to come to with questions and feeling in over your head before you even get started. From day one, employees should feel supported, excited, and engaged at their new job, especially if they’re working remotely.
Welcoming a new employee the right way doesn’t only reduce their stress and anxieties about starting the job. It also lays a solid groundwork for higher employee productivity and workplace satisfaction. In fact, 70% of employees who had an exceptional onboarding experience stated that they “have the best possible job.”
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Check out our guide on how to welcome new employees.
Goals of welcoming new employees
It goes without saying that ghosting an employee after they get through the initial paperwork doesn’t leave a great impression. Going incognito right after you introduce a new hire can make them feel isolated and unsupported.
A positive onboarding experience with regular check-ins will make your new hire feel like they can ask questions, give input, and want to give their best performance.
Additionally, a job that has fun and positive onboarding methods can help improve productivity all around. When employees feel welcomed, it can improve productivity, intra and inter-team connectedness, company reputation, and employee retention.
Things to focus on when welcoming new employees
Whether your new hire is working remotely from home or is planning on joining you in the office, the process of welcoming a new employee starts before their first day. It’s important to have a plan in place ahead of time for onboarding and introducing new hires.
Let everyone know you’ve hired a new employee
Throwing a new person into the mix without warning has the potential to disrupt workflow and make everyone feel a little awkward.
Let your existing team know when the new hire starts and what their position will be. You can also invite the new hire to your team’s Slack or other virtual communication channel to get them familiar with it.
Welcome your new teammate
It’s important to make your new employee feel welcomed and excited to work with you from the start. Showing that you care about their interests, likes, and dislikes will help new team members feel connected and included. This can be done through a fun survey or a casual coffee-chat.
You could also send over a personalized welcome package with some of their favorite things, a personalized work water bottle or mug, and a handwritten card welcoming them to the team.
Whether they’re at the office or working from home, small gestures like these will help them feel a part of the team.
Take care of the basics ahead of time
As far as the nuts and bolts go when it comes to onboarding, see if there are any simple tasks your new hire can do ahead of time, such as signing papers or filling out tax and HR paperwork. This will make it a lot more organized and less stressful for everyone on the first day.
Supply a company handbook and employee directory
In addition to any training materials, you should supply your new employee with the company handbook with information about their new team members. Knowing where to turn for specific questions can take a load off of a new employee’s mind and is helpful for workflow processes down the line as well. you can also inform them of which Slack channels will be the most helpful—and which are the best for pet photos and funny memes. [Related: Optimizing for happiness]
Set up their workspace
Imagine that you’re starting a new job. If you’re working remotely, you might open your laptop and realize that you have none of the passwords, your work email isn’t set up, and you’re clueless about how to set up your online calendar.
In-office? It’s the equivalent of sitting down only to realize you have no pens or paper, the Wi-Fi password is a mystery, and you can only guess where the IT room or supply closet is.
Avoid this frustrating situation for your new employee by making sure they’re set up from the get-go. Remote workers should be given access to password managers and have instructions on how to set up their email, calendar, and anything else that will get them up and running.
For those working in an office environment, set up a clean, stocked, and organized place for them to work right from the start. Give them everything they’ll need to start working, and show them where they can get more supplies or technical help if needed.
Personal user manuals
Give your new employee a chance to create their own personal user manual. Use a template that asks for them to describe their ideal conditions for work, how they best communicate, and anything else that might help their teammates get to know their work style better. Show them how to add it to a shareable folder, and encourage them to read the rest of the team’s manuals. [Related: EAs are the backbone of your org; here’s why they deserve all the praise]
Make employee introductions
Onboarding is important. However, welcoming new employees is about more than setting them up on the first day. Other members of the team should welcome and introduce themselves to new hires through an all-staff meeting. This is especially important if your whole company is remote, or if your new hire is the one working in another location. Making meaningful connections is important and can contribute to a more positive team morale and increased productivity among employees.
Set up a virtual meeting for your whole staff and encourage the use of cameras so your new hire can put a face to the name. Existing staff should introduce themselves, their position and what they do, as well as some fun facts or nonwork-related things about themselves.
You can ask employees to give a piece of advice. Or something they wish they knew before starting that might not be in the employee handbook. Anything from “This client always takes about three days to get back to you” to “On Fridays we share our favorite song to make a weekend playlist” can be helpful and put the new employee at ease.
Taking an interest in your employee as a whole person rather than just a new hire will make them feel more comfortable. Immerse them in company culture right away. Ask for their input, check in regularly, and invite them to work get-togethers.
After the first few weeks, solicit input on the onboarding process. Do they have any lingering questions? Did everything seem pretty organized? Studies have shown that soliciting new hire feedback improves work relationships by a whopping 91%.
[Related: Boosting team morale in the new year]
Fun ways to welcome new employees virtually
Setting aside time to welcome new employees is crucial to help new hires feel connected to the team. In a remote work environment, there are plenty of ways to connect with new employees in a fun, and meaningful way.
Follow these tips to welcome new employees virtually.
Share welcome messages
Give your new employee a shoutout on your company’s communication app, such as Slack. Encourage your existing employees to reach out and share welcome messages. You can also use email.
Send a gift card for lunch or coffee
If it’s not possible to grab lunch together, send over a gift card for your new hire to get a special lunch or tasty coffee on their first day.
Mail some company swag
Send your new hire a coffee mug or water bottle with your logo on it. Even if they’re located far away, they should still get the office swag.
Organize a virtual get-together
Organize a virtual hangout or happy hour with the rest of your team. Plan some fun games or questions, or simply keep it casual and low-key.
Match up employees with similar interests
Match your new employee with an existing teammate that has similar interests or hobbies. Make the introduction via Slack or email and encourage them to chat it up and lean on each other for advice or answers to questions. Having a “best friend” at work can help ease feelings of insecurity and isolation, especially while working remotely.
Fun ways to welcome new employees in-person
In addition to simply being available, friendly, and supportive, consider these other fun ways to welcome new employees in-person to your workplace.
Organize a welcome lunch
Plan a welcome lunch after you have your introductory meeting with the rest of the staff. Organize a catered spread, or if there’s a delicious spot nearby, plan an outing during an agreed-on lunch hour.
Decorate their desk
Decorating the new hire’s desk can be a cute and welcoming way to make them feel excited and at-home. Consider adding:
- Welcome messages from your team
Set them up with swag
Consider a gift with your company’s logo on it, such as a mug or water bottle, so that they feel they’re part of the team.
Plan something they’ll enjoy
Show your new hire that you care about getting to know them—and also about having fun. Plan out an event that you know they’ll enjoy. Find out their favorite foods or activities. For example, if your colleague is new to town and a pizza-lover, order one of your best local pies for delivery.
Mystery can help you give a warm welcome
Are you interested in learning more about how to make your new employees’ welcome a positive and exciting experience? We can help you start off on the right foot. Mystery offers event subscriptions designed to help hybrid and remote teams feel engaged and connected to their leadership, team, and coworkers at all levels.