I’ve been in 6 companies throughout my whole career, and based on my experience, definitely one of the most exciting times in joining a company is the first day and see what they include in the employee welcome kit.
A new environment, new people to meet, processes to learn, and best of all, you start with a clean slate. It is a fresh start, and one of the things that I love is to wear the cool swag they give you. Whether it be shirts, tech or cheeky company jokes each business has their own way of doing welcome kits.
The Employee Welcome Kit
The Employee Welcome Kit serves as the employee’s “welcome to the company toolkit”, with essentially all of the important things they need as they start in your company, plus some bonus items here or there.
So what should they be seeing in this kit?
Well, allow me to share with you some of the best things I’ve received when I started in the companies I worked for. Note though that these did not all come from one company, but the most significant items I got from them.
For folks in the company that are in charge of preparing things like this, my list can be your guide as to benchmark where your company is right now, and how you can improve on this and potentially be a key selling factor towards getting people to join your company.
If you are the one in charge of managing this, whether you are in HR, shared services or you run your own function. Let’s start of with a simple list of what to include in the employee welcome kit:
- Your company essentials (security, health, and access).
- Onboarding file handbook (employee handbook, policies, and guides).
- Work from home equipment (chairs, accessories, and tech).
- Getting to know you sessions (team building sessions).
1. Company Essentials
Of course, when starting with a new company, you want to ensure that the employee’s essential items are with them already on their first day.
This should include their company ID so that the temperamental receptionist at the lobby would no longer ask them where they’re going and who they work for whenever they pass by her area.
If the company provides health insurance/HMO cards starting on day 1, let’s make sure that they get it at the soonest possible time. Accidents may happen anytime (knock on wood!), and you want to make sure that the employee is covered for any untoward incidents.
If the laptop/computer has not been issued in advance (mostly for work from home/virtual employees), then it is expected to be received on their first day as well.
If the company’s IT team wakes up on the good side of the bed, they might go to their workstation with their computer/laptop already up and running. Let’s not let our new employees labor through getting their IT equipment set up by themselves. It’s not a good way to spend their first day.
2. Onboarding File/Handbook
This is something that I have only experienced in the best companies that I’ve worked for. The onboarding file/handbook serves as the employee’s cheat sheet/reference guide to anything related to their work.
This should contain the more generic portions like facts and details about the company, perhaps a brief history, just to get them up to speed on the company they joined.
The meat of it though should be more devoted to the intrinsic details of their work. I have experienced receiving a file that contained all the countries that I will be handling for my work, their key contacts, the key dates to remember per month, important stakeholders that I should be on the lookout for, and even screenshots of the basic processes that I will be handling.
I mean, I could have been plucked out of the street, been handed this file, and I would have been able to do the job like any regular employee. That’s how elaborate that file I received was.
I have been on the other end of the spectrum. A handbook was handed to me, a big binder with no soft copy of it available anymore. I did not need much time to realize that this was already outdated, far from what the current employees do. It was given to me just to be able to comply and say that they gave me one.
Having a great onboarding kit goes a long way in determining how fast you can be integrated into the operations. Hopefully, the right amount of time can be invested in making this the best version of itself.
3. Additional Work Accessories
Providing the employee with the right amount of accessories to start their career with the company is crucial.
As with the increasing emphasis on health in the workplace nowadays, providing the employees with ergonomically-friendly accessories while they are working can go a long way in showing how invested the company is in each of their employees, even the new joiners.
I have experienced being provided with multiple items to help me in my work that are ergonomically friendly. A mousepad with wrist rest, a separate keyboard from my laptop that is elevated to the proper levels, and even a monitor that will put less strain on my eyes.
All of these were issued to me, without me even requesting them. Some employees were even afforded the option of getting a footstool, to allow them to have the proper posture.
4. GTKY with the Team
The last item on my list is the most interpersonal of them all. With the new joiners’ entry into the company, it is important to make them feel welcome, especially in the team that they have joined.
Allow them to get to know their peers and leaders, have GTKY (Getting-To-Know-You) sessions with them, perhaps even over lunch or during snack time.
Make this as informal and non-work as possible, so that the new joiners can see that there is more to the team than just work and that they can have a sense of belongingness to the team too.
Find common interests, try to squeeze out hidden talent (for that year’s Christmas Party presentation, of course!), and make them feel that they can approach anyone for help. The last thing that you would want them to feel is unwanted and unwilling to report to work already by day 2.
With COVID still very much out there, the GTKY sessions have to be done differently nowadays. Video calls are a must, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put an extra touch to it.
The last company I worked for surprised me with breakfast delivered to my home during our orientation. I never thought that they’d do that since we’re already working from home, and of course, breakfast is available already.
But they made sure that we would feel that they prepared for us.
All in all, the employee kit is not a company’s make-or-break package for new joiners. But it definitely can be a good jumpstart towards starting a very strong collaboration between employee and employer.
If your workers are kicking off their experience with your company working from home, going that extra mile and making their onboarding special can ensure a happy and productive worker from the get go.
Let’s make the most out of it. You’ll see, the people will know about it and your company, and it’s one big step towards being a company of choice and the best in your class.