From local juice bars to Google HQ, there’s no denying the importance of welcoming new employees to the team. Yep, training up a new employee can be quite the process. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect basic manners. You wouldn’t forget to personally introduce your new partner to a group of friends at a dinner party, so what makes the workplace any different?
Beyond training, probation periods and paperwork, the simple act of officially welcoming a new employee to the team is an all-important (and often neglected) part of the onboarding process. And whatever your industry, there’s no reason why employee onboarding has to be cold, clinical and impersonal. In fact, with a little creativity it can be the exact opposite. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg, who supposedly invites new hires on a walk through the woods before welcoming them to the Facebook team. Or Twitter rookies, who receive a t-shirt, bottle of wine and breakfast with CEO Dick Costolo on their first day. Talk about quirky.
So how can you welcome your new recruits to the team? Read on for eight ‘best-in-class’ suggestions put together by our in-house team of onboarding experts.
Digital staff communication tools
We live in a digital age, and modern businesses are reaping the benefits. Platforms like Ento exist to simplify engagement and empower businesses with instant communication tools. As well as giving staff the flexibility to manage details, request leave, swap shifts and more, Ento is also a great way to welcome new recruits to the team. Use group messaging to make the announcement, and virtually introduce your newbie to existing staff.
If you’re really feeling frivolous why not organise a staff party for your new recruit? Keep things simple and throw it after work, complete with snacks, drinks and a handful of cheesy icebreaker games. Three things you’d take to a deserted island is a classic! This casual approach is perfect for high turnover industries like hospitality and F&B. At Ento, we do an opt-in team lunch every Friday – and inviting new hires the Friday before their start date has become something of a ritual – meeting your co-workers over parmas and pints can make walking in that door on the first day infinitely less daunting. Remember, even the smallest of efforts will give your new employee a fuzzy feeling that no amount of ‘official’ onboarding can replicate.
Dedicated ‘newbies’ thread
If you’re after a quick and easy solution why not create a dedicated ‘newbies’ thread using platforms like Slack, Facebook or Whatsapp? You can add and remove employees as needed, and give a quick welcome brief each time a newbie joins the team. Here at Ento, our Talent Acquisition Lead, Hannah, announces all new hires on a dedicated Slack channel, as soon as they’ve signed a contract and locked in a start date. An announcement will always include their name, role, start date and a link to their LinkedIn profile, so the entire team can start connecting before the new starter even sets foot in EntoHQ.
Staff ‘family tree’
A low-tech solution can work well for organisations yet to embrace the myriad tech solutions available, especially if it involves a closely-knit team that considers itself to be like a family. Take this sentiment to heart by creating a ‘family’ tree in the staff room. Ask each staff member to provide a casual snapshot of themselves, and jot down a few details about their likes, hobbies, pets, favourite travel destinations etc. Ask new employees to create their own branch and add it to the board. It’s a great conversation starter, and helps give your organisation a human face.
Simple but effective, pinning up an announcement on the noticeboard is a no-frills way to welcome a new employee to the team. DIY using software like Canva or palm off the job to an assistant. Keep things fun and upbeat, and use a photo if possible. Nothing embarrassing though! Pin it up a few days before the employee starts so everyone has a chance to familiarise themselves with the new face. Don’t forget to take it down after a few weeks, as you don’t want your employee to feel like a newbie well after they’ve been integrated.
Mentors and buddies
Joining an established team can be daunting, which is why it’s so important to break down social barriers and make your rookie feel welcomed. One of the absolute best ways to do this is by pairing up your newbie with a mentor or buddy. Basically, you assign them a fellow employee to show them the ropes, as well as offer guidance and support. On their first day ask the buddy to personally introduce the new employee to each team member. This breaks the ice, and makes the new employee feel like a part of the team from day one.
If you’re short on time a simple group email should do the trick. Of course, this only works if all your staff are issued with email addresses. Our advice is to keep things simple, chatty and upbeat. After all, this is a welcome announcement not corporate content! Make the subject line clear, which will help to ensure the message doesn’t get buried in employee inboxes. It can also be fun to invite conversation by weaving in a personal detail, interesting anecdote or off-the-wall fact. This gives fellow employees somewhere to start when they see the new recruit in the staff room.
Create a colourful workplace culture by introducing welcome traditions. We’d love how AirBnb treats its new employees to US$2000 travel credit. Yes please! Simple ideas we love include a box of donuts from the team’s favourite spot or an après work happy hour. Or, get elaborate and introduce starter kits to help bring an element of fun to your new employee’s first day on the job. Allocate a small budget of $20 or so and ask the last employee who joined the team to fill a box with essentials. Think coffee pods, joke books, mini dart boards etc. present it to your new employee on their first day, then pass the tradition down to them.
The importance of a warm welcome
We’ve covered some fun ways to make a new employee announcement, so now let’s take a look at why you should make the effort.
Employee engagement is a critical driver of organisational success. Basically, engaged employees are more fulfilled, more productive and more motivated to succeed. Unsurprisingly, inter-employee relationships are a big influencer when it comes to workplace engagement. Which means that you need to be nurturing them from the moment your new recruit joins the team. An official new employee announcement will help establish your recruit as a part of the team, and pave the way for healthy workplace morale. With the latest statistics revealing that 70% of employees aren’t engaged, chances are you need to work on your strategy.
Value and appreciation
When it comes to maximising employee performance, recognition and respect are wildly important. Naturally, an employee that feels valued and appreciated will perform better than an employee that feels undervalued and underappreciated. By officially welcoming your new recruits you’re starting them off on a positive note, and showing them that you’re excited to have them on the team. Ultimately, this one simple act serves as a positive foundation for their ongoing experience with the company.
While most organisations have mastered the technical elements of onboarding, so many neglect the importance of a warm welcome. So, next time you’re reviewing your onboarding process why not incorporate a few of the above ideas into your plan? Whether you keep things simply or get elaborate, there’s nothing to lose by officially welcoming a new recruit to the team. In fact, even something as simple as an email can play an integral role in making a new employee feel welcome, appreciated and integrated in organisational culture from day one.