Often provided to employees on their first day, a welcome packet typically consolidates key information about your business, onboarding paperwork, and branded company merchandise.
Welcome packets will be valuable during your employee’s first week and should also be a resource they can consult at a future date if needed.
Why You Need Employee Welcome Packets
A welcome packet is a valuable tool for communicating essential information about your business and employees.
Key benefits of a successful welcome packet include:
Introducing company culture
A welcome packet can be a great way to convey your company culture by setting out your values, goals, and mission. You may also want to include information such as your policies for sustainability and charitable giving.
Likewise, you can include references to any social activities and traditions within your business. Doing so can help new employees feel more like part of the team.
New employees are likely to have similar questions about your organization and its premises—for example, the location of restrooms or how parking works. Providing answers to these frequently asked questions in your welcome packet can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend repeating this information.
It’s natural for an employee to feel nervous when starting a new post, but it can—and should—also be an exciting life event. A welcome packet can be a reminder that the new team member has a lot to look forward to in their new role.
Information for All New Starters
Whatever their role, all your employees will need certain key pieces of information about your business. Your welcome packet should therefore include:
A map of the building
Although you’ll likely give your new hire a tour of the building on their first day, it’s easy to forget this information. What’s more, new employees often feel embarrassed to admit that they do not yet know their way around. In these cases, an office map can be invaluable.
Health and safety information
Providing your employees with relevant health and safety information is a key function of a welcome packet. As such, you should include details such as:
- Emergency evacuation procedures
- Location of fire exits
- Names and locations of fire aiders
- Location of fire extinguishers
All welcome packets should contain an up-to-date copy of your employee handbook. This could be a link to the online version to save you having to print it.
When beginning a new role, your employees need to know your expectations for workplace behavior. Your welcome packet should include the following policies, where appropriate:
- Dress code
- Holiday booking
- Disciplinary procedures
- Harassment policies
- Permitted break times
- Personal internet usage
When your employee begins their new role, they will need to complete certain forms as part of their onboarding experience, such as:
- State withholding form
- Non-disclosure agreement
- New hire questionnaire
If you haven’t already provided your new employees with these forms, you should include them in your welcome packet.
Remember, it may be more helpful to send onboarding forms before your employee’s first day. You might therefore want to include these when you send your employee their welcome letter, after they’ve accepted the job offer.
You could include details of the key individuals within your company, such as the CEO and chairperson, to help new hires become familiar with your business’s structure. Likewise, it is a good idea to provide details for key contacts within certain teams, such as HR and IT.
Information on employee assistance program
If your business offers employees mental health or crisis support, you should include this information in your welcome packet. It’s also useful to provide emergency hotline numbers and details of how the employee can access support.
Your welcome packet should include how to obtain a parking permit and contact details for whoever organizes parking within your company. If your building doesn’t have on-site parking, you should provide information on other local parking options.
CEO welcome letter
You will likely send new hires a personalized welcome letter as part of the onboarding process. In addition, you may want to include a standardized letter or video from your CEO. This can include information on your company’s objectives and core values. Having this encouragement from the CEO could be a great boost for the employee’s confidence and generate goodwill toward the company.
If you have relatively few employees, your business leader may even have time to write a personalized letter for each new starter. It could focus on the reasons you hired the employee and how you envision their future within the business.
Getting to grips with new software is one of the biggest challenges many employees face when starting a new role. Your handbook should therefore include the following details to help your new employees get started:
- WiFi access code
- Log-in details
- Details of social media accounts
Details about the local area
As well as information about your business, it can be helpful to provide details about your business’s district. You might, for instance, offer recommendations for popular restaurants and coffee shops.
Work social activities and leagues
A welcome packet should also include details of any activities your business runs outside of working hours, such as sporting leagues and volunteering initiatives.
Your welcome packet should also contain details relevant to your new employee’s role. Broadly speaking, this may include the following:
Your new hire should already be well aware of the requirements of their role. However, it can be helpful to confirm these within the welcome packet. As well as their day-to-day responsibilities, you may want to include their expected working hours and any performance targets.
Pay and benefits
It is also helpful to reiterate your new employee’s compensation for their role. As well as details of their salary or wage, you should include information on any company benefits.
Details of immediate team
Your welcome packet should also include information about the individuals your new employees will interact with as part of their role. This could include:
- Their manager
- Other key team members
- Key clients
- Relevant suppliers
If your new employee is working from an office, a team seating chart may also be useful.
It can also help your new employees to understand a little more about their new team’s goals in both the shorter and longer term. The welcome packet needn’t go into great detail, but outlining a few key goals can help your employees better understand your company’s priorities.
Company Swag and Employee Gifts
Many companies also include fun welcome gifts and branded company merchandise in their welcome packets. These gifts don’t need to be expensive; something as simple as a branded notebook or stickers can help create excitement for a new role.
Tips for Creating a Welcome Packet
The most effective welcome packet for your business will depend on factors such as the industry you work in and your budget.
Following the tips below should help you design a packet that adds value for your new employees.
Put yourself in your new employee’s place
Understanding the needs of someone new to your business is key to creating an effective welcome package. Imagine you’ve never been inside your office before or that you know nothing of the company. Then, consider what key pieces of information you would need to feel comfortable and prepared to start work.
Also, try asking other recent starters if there was any information missing from their welcome packet that they would have liked included.
Consider the environment
When you’re compiling your welcome packet, try to consider which pieces of paperwork actually need to be printed. Rather than including paper copies of all your policies and handbooks, you could provide relevant online links.
Keeping your welcome packet as short as possible also helps stop your new employees feeling overwhelmed.
Review your contents
Once you have compiled a successful welcome packet, your job isn’t finished. You should revisit your material on a regular basis to keep it current. For instance, you will need to regularly update your organizational chart and seating plan when there are changes in your company’s workforce.
Likewise, it makes sense to include a review of your welcome packet as part of your annual HR audit.
The first day in a new role can often be daunting. A welcome packet can alleviate this feeling by providing the key details a new employee needs to succeed during their first weeks. A comprehensive welcome packet is likely to reduce the amount of time your staff spend asking questions or seeking out information.
Furthermore, a well-compiled packet can also lay the groundwork for a long and productive working relationship, as it shows that employee wellbeing is a priority for your business.