How to welcome a new employee

First days can be tough but there’s a lot that you can do in welcoming the new employees. Using smart software for employee onboarding and having a proactive onboarding plan is very important, but tools and plans can only go so far; it’s the human touch that you add that will create an extraordinary experience.

1) Get your welcome email right

Keep it warm, highlight their achievements or any interesting facts about them that their team should learn – your welcome email is a great opportunity to subtly place facts which can be picked up by teammates as conversation starters. Make it memorable. Also, show your new hires what they should do next. For example, introduce a buddy or mentor, or introduce team mates they’ll be working with so they can go say a quick “hello”.

Learn more about New employee welcome email campaigns.

2) Give them an office tour

The routine HR tours will cover the basics of an office tour – here’s the bathroom, the emergency stairwell and the cafeteria – but you can make it more special by pointing out little secrets. Like showing them how to make coffee on the coffee machine, special hideout spots for when they want to get work done in peace etc. You could even take it to the next level and draw them a map.

In Freshworks, while welcoming new team members, we sometimes stash clues in various locations and send our new employees out on a scavenger hunt. This way, they get to explore the extents of the office (thus familiarizing themselves with the layout) and interact with random employees in the wild, instead of just the people they’ll be working with.

3) Provide a task list

Organize your documentation and make it easy to find so that the new employee doesn’t get lost. For instance, the marketing team could create campaign guides to help new people get oriented on how you do things. Take it a step further and give them a task list for the first week. You can use the task list to gauge their strengths and weaknesses and use this information to figure out how they’ll work with the team.

4) Schedule a lunch with the team

Get the ball rolling and help the team bond with the new employee by taking them on an outing. Lunch, dinner, the local bar, paintball. Schedule the weekly team bonding activity for the day the new hire joins so they can break the ice and bond with their new teammates.

In some companies, the last person who joined the team gets to induct the new employee into the team. This could be through a kit, a personal tour or just by being a shoulder to lean on. This will help make people feel included more quickly.

5) Icebreakers

Some HR people I spoke to, in the course of my existence, mentioned that they suggest that new employees record and post introduction videos to their intra network. Sometimes, teams record the intro video and mail it to the new hire before they join work so they can take their time, familiarizing themselves with the team.

You could go the extra mile and create a fun game that will help them interact more with your colleagues. The easiest option is to create a bingo grid with fun facts about the team. Take a picture with someone who’s visited every continent. Take a picture with someone who’s seen Hamilton and so on. Let everyone in on the nicknames.

A bingo grid is a fun way to get the inside jokes out into the open so that the new hire starts feeling like a part of the team.

A bingo grid to welcome a new employee to team
Selfies and signatures, necessary

Another game that employees at Freshworks like to use in the onboarding process is Mafia. There’s just something about this game, that involves you being on guard and wary of trusting anyone else at the table, that ends up building that trust in actuality.

6) Tell them what they can expect next

When the hullabaloo dies down, set the right expectations for the next couple of days. Most new hires are raring to show what they can do to everyone else, so they’ll appreciate the time to prepare for the meetings and events ahead. If you can swing it, you should get them into a meeting with a leader so they can get a sense of the big picture and their role in it. That should go a long way in stoking the fire into a flame. When you create your new hire onboarding checklist,  you should also add in things for your new hire to do or accomplish in the first one week or month. This will help them plan, prepare and pull it off in style.

7) Assign a mentor

A new work environment can be uncertain and challenging if your new hires feel lost. A mentor can make the new hire orientation swift by helping new hires – answering any questions they may have, introducing them to the team, or other social groups within the company, most importantly, by showing them the ropes on their new role and setting them up for productivity and success.

A great team welcome sets an employee up for success so they can hit the ground running. But it doesn’t just end the minute orientation winds up. A great welcome also involves following up with them after they’ve settled in – a month, 6 months down the line – and making sure that the fire’s still going strong.

What are some of your favorite new employee onboarding ideas? Let us know and we’ll add it to your list (and credit you!).