As companies try to navigate what their post-pandemic workforce will look like, new employee onboarding plans are just one of a few things they’ll need to consider reviewing, revising, or even creating if they don’t currently have plans in place. Although in 2020 turnover rates had decreased to their lowest levels in nine years, according to a recent article on shrm.org, more than half of employees surveyed in North America plan on looking for a new job in 2021. The article stated, “Retention and turnover experts now predict voluntary job-leaving will increase significantly in 2021 as employees resume job searches they put off for the past year.”
What companies may not realize is that a quality onboarding plan is not only vital for properly integrating new employees into an organization, it’s also vital for keeping them. In fact, new employees who participate in a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to be with that organization three years later (source). You may wonder, “How drastically does a poor onboarding process really affect the bottom line?”. In a 2019 interview, Christian Harpelund, an onboarding consultant, noted that “The cost of losing a new employee within the first 12 month equals 2 years of salary”. That’s pretty drastic.
Working in our industry for the past 20+ years, Identity Works has helped companies of all sizes incorporate new hire welcome kits into their onboarding processes for teams that are fully office-based, 100% remote, or a hybrid of the two. Not only can new hire packets be used to share important paperwork and information about the company, they can also utilize branded swag to provide practical tools and offer a fun glimpse into the company culture. If you’re looking for fresh ideas or you’ve been tasked with developing your company’s first new employee welcome kit, we’ve put together some general guidelines and suggestions for you.
New Hire Welcome Kit Guidelines
If this is your first foray into the world of welcome kits, here are few guidelines you may find helpful.
1. There’s No Formula
Although we see some consistent trends in items our clients choose for their new hire welcome kits, there’s no tried-and-true formula for success. It really depends on your culture and your newcomer’s needs. Some companies provide just a few branded necessities in high-end packaging. Some change up their kit’s components, depending on the season or employee’s position within the organization. Some go all-out offering practical items, apparel, gift cards to nearby coffee shops, and more. Organizations who see the most success build kits that are unique to them and the needs of their new teammates.
2. Offer Helpful Content
On their first day, no one wants to feel like an annoyance by peppering their new counterparts with basic questions about “where to find this” or “how to get that.” A welcome kit provides an easy method for sharing information a new team member needs to get started right away no matter if they’re fully remote or in the office. You may want to consider including a list of FAQs, login information, or a company org chart for all new team members. In-office teammates may also appreciate parking instructions or a map of the office to help them find bathrooms, conference rooms, etc. Some companies also include a list of items employees should complete or a printed schedule of their first week to help them be productive out of the gates and understand where they fit right away. Whatever you choose to include, make sure your communication is clear, easy to understand, and welcoming.
3. Choose Quality Giveaways
When selecting branded welcome gifts for your new employee kit, make sure to include pieces that employees want and will be proud to use. Simply put, your time and investment are pointless if team members don’t use the items you’ve given them. Choosing quality swag shows that you have put thought into your welcome kit and helps new employees feel like part of the team faster. It also shows off your brand in a positive light when they use your branded swag in public or online. A blog post from Element Three, a well respected marketing agency who specializes in employer branding, notes, “And one way to get the word out—positively—is through your employer branding. If your employees are hitting the town in your company swag, they’re essentially a walking billboard for your brand. And your reputation will grow”.
4. Make it Thoughtful
As the job market becomes more and more competitive again, sometimes it’s the personal touch that can solidify an employee’s tie to their new org. Making a new hire packet thoughtful doesn’t have to be as labor intensive as it may sound. It could be as simple as including a book that the hiring manager or company president finds valuable. It could even be a handwritten welcome note or a personalized piece of swag made just for them.
Now, you may be thinking: “Choosing ‘thoughtful, quality swag items’ is a nice idea, but what does that really mean and how can I do this without breaking the bank?” or “With thousands upon thousands of items to choose from, how do I know the kind of swag that will delight our new employees, especially if some may be remote and while others are in the office?” or “How many pieces should I include in our welcome kit?” In our experience, we’ve seen a few basic pieces that are consistently used in welcome kits across different industries. A good first step you take might be to choose practical items you know that your new employees will need, then one ‘fun’ item that reflects your company culture (think something unexpected, like a slinky, bobble head, or socks).
In the section below, you’ll see our top choices for items in four “branded basics” categories and one non-branded category that you may want to consider. The branded items listed below have been researched, tested, and will offer excellent quality for your investment. Many welcome kits we’ve helped create, store, and distribute for our clients have included two or more of the following things.
One of the most common items to include in a welcome kit is branded drinkware. Whether your new team member is remote, commuting, or somewhere in between, branded mugs, bottles, and tumblers are a staple among our client’s new hire gift kits. These three new styles are high on function and high on style to make a great first impression.
Contigo Byron 2.0 Tumbler
Perfect for hot or cold bevvies, with a truly leak-proof Snapseal lid for peace of mind at the desk or on the go.
A new take on an old favorite, this low-profile vacuum mug features a trendy cork bottom and color-matched swivel lid.
H2go Marino Bottle
This budget-friendly bottle is great for all-day use, featuring a handy carrying loop lid and plenty of space for your branding!
Custom journals are another practical option to consider. With so many things to remember during the onboarding period, a branded journal offers a new team member one single location to keep track of all their orientation-related notes. These trending journals give you options that can appeal to a wide range of audiences and help get the best look to fit your brand.
Rocketbook Fusion Executive Journal
A planner, sketchbook, and notepad in one. Teammates can jot their thoughts as inspiration strikes, blast them to the cloud, then wipe it clean and repeat!
ApPeel Medio Journal
Made from apple pulp and vegetable fibers, this ever-popular organic, eco-friendly, animal-friendly journal has a great feel and takes well to any ink.
Heathered Soft Journalbook Bundle
A super soft-touch journal with a heathered cover and ruled cream paper, paired with and an easy-writing ballpoint stylus make this book a kit favorite.
Once they’re settled in, team members are sure to find branded desk accessories convenient and handy gifts they will use often. Whether you want something fun or functional is more your style, these accessories are great for both in-office or remote employees.
Chaos Desk Kit with Charging Pad
With storage trays for office essentials and a wireless charging pad, this compact, multi-functional kit helps new teammates keep their workspaces neat and organized.
This handy tool helps keep employee phones off their desks, but still easily accessible when they need them for video calls. Just stick it to the side of a monitor and they’re good to go!
The Wedge Mobile Device Stand
A classic, this multi-functional stand can easily hold a phone or a small tablet. It features an ultra-soft plush back to quickly clean screens and can be ordered with a built-in wireless charger.
To increase the feeling of being part of the team, companies frequently choose to include a tee shirt or branded hoodie as one of the core items in their new hire kits. Give your new teammates something that will be their next favorite closet choice with one of these trending styles we love.
The Fan Favorite Tee
Made from an ultra-soft ringspun cotton, this is our absolute favorite budget-friendly tee! Available in men’s and ladies sizes with a wide range of colors and looks, this tee offers tons of brand-friendly options.
Available in both men’s and ladies sizes, the ultra-comfortable and eco-friendly Re-Tee is made from 100% reclaimed/recycled fabric. This fabric is never redyed, making it an affordable option with low environmental impact.
Custom Private Label Tees
Those looking for something truly unique may want to consider a fully custom private label tee. These tees offer tons of high-impact decoration options and Pantone matching to remain perfectly on-brand and on-trend.
Even though everyone loves a good branded piece, sometimes that one, non-branded item adds that special hint of personalization that really solidifies the good feelings with your new employee. Here are a few popular ones we’ve seen:
Coffee Shop Gift Cards
Simple, yet thoughtful! A gift card to a local coffee shop can be a nice treat for in-house employees on their way into the office and a reason to work from a different space for remote employees.
No matter if it’s a classic, like “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek or a book written by the company CEO, there’s no easier way to show that your company values personal development than by gifting a book.
Treats are always an easy and thoughtful choice as a non-branded option (some can even be branded!). Go with sweet, go with savory, or choose a mix of both! New employees are sure to love them.
In a competitive labor market, many times it’s the little things a company can do that will not only help welcome new employees, but also retain them. Even though a beautiful welcome kit can never be a replacement for quality company culture and good benefits, if its contents are well thought out, it can go a long way to helping your newbies start off on the right foot.
This post was originally published on 7/25/2019 and updated on 4/29/2021 for comprehensiveness and freshness.