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Welcome Packet

New employees have a lot to walk into on their first day. It’s common to feel “firehosed” with information through the interview process. And when the excitement subsides and they’re shown to their new desk for the first time, many new employees feel overwhelmed with questions they forgot to ask. To workers on their first day, the organization can feel like a labyrinth of teams, hierarchies, and hallways where they’ll inevitably get lost. To keep your new hires from floundering, as well as to help them hit the ground running and feel valued by their new employer, you want to make sure they’re aware of all the resources available to them. This is where welcome packets come in.

What Is a New Employee Welcome Packet?

A new employee welcome packet is a collection of paperwork, resources, information, and welcome items provided to new hires on their first day. No matter how simple the business seems to you, to new hires it’s a complex and intimidating organization that they just dove headfirst into. New hires will have many questions that are critical to have answered, but can be awkward or even embarrassing to ask.

New employee welcome packets help answer these questions before the employee needs to ask them. They also provide helpful resources and directions concerning employment that new employees can keep for reference. They help new employees get settled, comfortable and ready to tackle their new position.

Welcome packets can come in physical or digital formats. Many HRIS softwares make it easy to send over paperwork and other information. But remember that some items in this packet, like new hire gifts, come best in a tangible form.

Welcome Packets Versus Onboarding Materials

Welcome packets are not just packets of onboarding paperwork. Onboarding materials (like I-9s, direct deposit authorization forms or non-disclosure agreements) are critical, but they don’t quite do the job of welcoming new employees and setting them up for success. There’s more you can give your employees on their first day to help them feel ready to go. In addition to onboarding materials, make sure to include the suggested items below.

Why You Should Prepare a Welcome Packet for New Employees

Welcome packets help new hires succeed, and these employees, in turn, help the company succeed. Here are some of the ways this happens.

  • New employees will feel less overwhelmed. All new employees have to deal with receiving a firehose of information, which can be overwhelming. Summarizing important information on paper about the company and their team will reduce the pressure to memorize everything they’ve been told.
  • New employees will hit the ground running. A welcome packet frees up employee brainpower to get started on their actual work, rather than on wandering halls, inquiring coworkers and organizing scrambled notes and contacts.
  • Expectations are better communicated. Expectations are more likely to be met when they’re communicated effectively. Writing down baseline expectations for new employees will help them remember what’s most important and how they should be spending their time.
  • New employees will feel more welcomed and excited. New employees will feel valued when they see how considerate their new employer is in providing them with a welcome packet. Welcome gifts go a long way.
  • Less time will be spent asking and answering questions. Answer all the questions you expect new employees to have on paper. Both they and their new coworkers will be grateful.

What to Include in Your Welcome Packet – A Checklist

Here are some good ideas of what to include in your welcome packets.

Onboarding Materials

Here is some of the more necessary paperwork to have your new employees fill out on their first day.

  • New hire paperwork. Include I-9 forms, confidentiality agreements, terms and conditions of employment, contracts, etc. as necessary depending on the job.
  • Emergency contact form. You can’t collect emergency contact information too soon.
  • Onboarding activities and training. Make sure your new employee knows the where, what and when of new hire trainings they need to go to. This includes kickoff meetings with their manager.

Company General Information

These are more general points of information to help the new employee find their way around the office.

  • Office map. Make it easy for new employees to find bathrooms, break rooms and supply closets.
  • Opening and closing times. Including opening and closing hours makes it handy for your new employees to know when they can come in and when they should leave.
  • Parking options. Parking can be tricky in big cities. Including some guidance and options on where to park will be helpful.
  • Employee directory. Share how to use the directory and who they’re likely to be contacting most often.
  • Organizational charts. Organization charts help employees know who to go to for which problems. Help them utilize their team members.
  • Resource reference sheet. Provide the locations and contacts for employee administrative resources like HR, IT and payroll.
  • Compensation and benefits. Give new employees details on paydays, insurance, retirement and any other benefits they’re eligible for.
  • Local hotspots. List some local restaurants, coffee shops and cafes that employees like to go to.

Introduction to Company Culture

An employee’s first day is a great time to describe in detail the company culture and how it applies to their work. This is also an opportunity to invite them to get involved.

  • Company mission, vision and values. Help keep the company values front-of-mind for new employees. Share examples of how they’re demonstrated within the company.
  • Company groups and initiatives. Show new employees how to get involved with company-sponsored groups or volunteer opportunities.
  • Links to the company website and social media accounts. Help new employees engage with the company’s online communities.

Position and Team Details

Describe the details unique to their job and team, as well as the resources available to help them in their responsibilities.

  • Job expectations and performance standards. Share baseline expectations, quotas or standards of excellence for their new job.
  • Team/department goals and priorities. Share existing goals and priorities of the team the new hire is joining. Introduce them to their team and the joint goals they’ll be working to accomplish together.
  • Mentor information. If new hires are assigned a mentor or buddy, make sure contact information is exchanged.
  • Explanations of software tools. Your company’s likely to have software that new employees aren’t familiar with. Share with them which tools are used for which functions and how to use them.

Access Keys and Login Credentials

You don’t want figurative or physical walls keeping your employee from the tools and people they need. Make sure they can get where they need to go.

  • Usernames and passwords to computers and software. Get all credentials set up at one time so new employees don’t have to repeatedly visit IT for help.
  • Keys, access cards and employee IDs. Ensure new employees have all the access they need to get their job done.
  • Wifi login information. Show which wifi to connect to along with the login credentials for their work devices and personal cell phone.

Policies and Guidelines

It’s important to share with new employees your workplace policies and guidelines. This will decrease liability and increase safety and efficiency.

  • Workplace policies. Communicate the policies for cell phone usage, dress code, work computer usage, break times, etc.
  • HR policies. Make sure new employees know policies surrounding harassment, safety, leave, etc.
  • Employee handbook. Provide the employee with the most recent copy of the employee handbook. Employee handbooks can contain many of these welcome packet materials.

New Hire Gifts

Gifts from the company help new hires feel welcomed and valued. They also get employees feeling excited about the company and about being a part of the team.

  • Apparel. Try a T-shirt, hoodie or socks with the company logo on them.
  • Gear. Some jobs would benefit from gear like a headset, flash drive or laptop case.
  • Office accessories. Give them supplies for their desk like sticky notes, pens or a notebook.
  • Company culture gifts. Show off your culture through wellness and environmentally-friendly gifts through or a personalized note.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Welcome Packets

How much should we spend on welcome packets?
The only parts of welcome packets that really cost anything are the new hire gifts, which usually range from $50-$100 per employee. Everything else you can create and design to print on paper. It’s a good idea to make your welcome packet material look more attractive with design and branding, and different sizes and materials of paper. You could design these materials yourself or have your marketing team take a stab at it.
What is the best thing to include in a welcome packet?
The best thing to include in a welcome packet depends on your company and the job the new hire is entering. What’s most important is setting up your new hires for success. For jobs in a manufacturing environment, communicating safety procedures and team organization could be best. For a customer service position, training on computer software and the employee directory could be prioritized. Analyze the job function and decide for yourself what the most important parts of the welcome packet are and customize as needed.
Brandon Fluckiger

Brandon Fluckiger

Brandon is currently an MHR/MBA student attending Utah State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with three minors in HR, Business Management, and Technical Sales Management. He has experience as an HR generalist as well as in recruiting, data analytics, and talent development. He exercises his strong passion and commitment for HR by volunteering in leadership positions for his MHR cohort, participating in local SHRM chapter activities, and taking on every HR-related experience opportunity that presents itself.

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