The first day at a new job can be overwhelming and stressful. There are lots of new names and faces to learn, a list of new responsibilities, and an unfamiliar environment to navigate.
When your team is welcoming a new member, think about what you can do to help them navigate those first-day jitters and be pumped about getting started. Here’s how…
Why Is It Important to Welcome New Employees?
It is important to welcome a new employee so that they are both excited to join your team and equipped to dive into work.
Good employee onboarding has been shown to improve retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%—equipping your employees to excel at their job starts before they ever step foot in the office.
When you’re welcoming a new employee, think about what you can do to help calm their nerves, get them up to speed on the projects they’ll be working on, and express that you’re glad they’re joining the team.
Even for remote teams, it’s important to let your new-hire know that you’re excited to be working with them and recognize the talent they bring to the table.
How To Welcome New Employees
There are so many ways you can help your new employee feel welcome. Here are a few ideas you can use as inspiration.
Hint: Lots of people don’t like being put on the spot and asked to speak to a crowd of new coworkers. Steer clear of things that put the spotlight on your new-hire and instead, think of ways you can create spaces where everyone works to build two-way relationships.
Send them a game-plan document
The game-plan documents lets them know what the onboarding process will look like. Send the document a few days before their start day at the office, and try to make it as comprehensive as possible.
Here are some things to include in the document:
- Clearly state the start date and give them an idea of the schedule for their first day on-the-job.
- Let them know ahead of time about any training or social events you want them to attend—especially more introverted team members often find it helpful to be able to mentally prepare ahead of time for social events.
- Give them goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days.
- Share company policies like dress code, employee code of conduct,
- Send them links to accounts you’re going to help them get set up (for example Slack, project management tools, or company-specific email accounts).
- Outline what projects they will be working on, who they will be collaborating with, and what stage the project is at.
- Give them a little introduction to the team members they will be meeting.
- Consider including everyone’s headshot so that the new team member can start to connect faces and names.
- Share contact information for their team leader, human resources, and their “office buddy.” (More on office buddies in a moment!)
- Links to company documents like the employee handbook, benefits package, or other documents that could help them.
- Let them know if there is any paperwork they will need to fill out the first day, and if so what documentation, like government-issued ID or Social Security Card, they should bring with them to the office.
Think of this document as a “catch-all” for their first couple of weeks. Take as much mystery out of the onboarding process as possible.
Cater lunch or dessert
Catering lunch gives you the chance to introduce your new employee to other members of their team or, depending on company size, the entire company. Consider sending out a message to everyone invited reminding them that the goal of this time is to get to know their new team member.
Here’s an example of what that could look like:
“Hi team! We’re excited to welcome [employee name] to our [department name] team today. In celebration of having them join us, we’re going to have lunch in the breakroom. Please use this as an opportunity to enjoy some good food and introduce yourself to our newest team member!”
Then, do your best to hang out with the new-hire and introduce them to their new coworkers. Encourage people to steer clear of “shop talk” and focus instead on building relationships with one another as individuals.
Here are some questions you can ask to help build relationships with others at work:
- What’s your favorite thing to do once you “clock out”?
- What led you to this field? (While this is work-related, it goes beyond the job and helps you learn about your colleague in a deeper way.)
- Did you see that basketball game the other night?
- Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?
- What’s something that happens pretty often in life that makes you happy?
Remote teams may have a harder time building relationships. These types of informal hangouts are tricky to facilitate when everyone is miles apart. Try Doordashing lunch to everyone’s house and then host an informal Zoom call.
Pro Tip: If you’re handling a remote onboarding, ask the entire team to send a short introduction—you don’t want your new-hire to be the only one introducing themselves as that can feel awkward. You could also send out a questionnaire with a few questions about each individual’s role on the team and a handful of lighter get-to-know-you questions targeting fun facts to help build relationships!
Call a team meeting
A team meeting is a bit more of a professional welcome and can help the new-hire know what each person’s role is. Have people introduce themselves and say how they contribute to the team and something about themselves.
Here are some ideas of questions you can ask each person at the meeting to answer:
- What’s your name and role in the company?
- How long have you been with the company?
And then pick a fun ice-breaker or two:
- If you had a full day with no errands or responsibilities, how would you spend it?
- What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
- What’s one word to describe how you’re feeling about the coming year?
- Where have you traveled that you’d love to go back to?
- What’s a fact about you that surprises people?
If you’re looking for some inspiration for a fun get-to-know-you question, check out these meeting icebreakers.
Depending on the size of your company, you might choose to have the new-hire’s core team, the entire department, or the whole company attend this meeting.
Prepare their desk
Before your new team member comes to work, make sure their desk or office has been cleaned from the previous user. Just think how awkward it would be if they opened the drawer only to find the previous team member’s trash.
Instead of just leaving it completely empty, consider adding some pops of color with a welcome card (more on that in a moment) or even a balloon or two—if they seem like the type of person who would appreciate it.
If you’re welcoming a remote team member, consider using an online card maker. You can even add background music!
Set them up with an “office buddy”
The first day at a new job is inevitably a bit overwhelming, but an office buddy can help remove some of that pressure and stress as the new employee has the chance to sit down with one person and get to know them a bit better.
Consider introducing your new-hire to someone from a different department—this might make it easier to ask questions about people and interpersonal dynamics.
Make sure the established employee is willing to help the new-hire as they acclimate to the company. It could be discouraging if the new employee got ghosted by their new buddy before ever grabbing that first cup of coffee.
Give them a swag bag
Lots of companies have their own branded swag, but even if you don’t, consider what you can gift your new employee that will help them while working with you.
A gift bag filled with a notebook, pens, sticky notes, a planner, a coffee mug, and a welcome note can be a thoughtful way to let your newest team member know that you’re happy to have them.
For remote teams, consider sending a package scheduled to arrive on or before your new employee’s first day.
Welcome Messages For New Employees
A warm welcome message can go a long way. It can be a handwritten letter on their desk, an email, or a Slack message.
It doesn’t need to be long or cover any serious workplace topics since you already sent them the onboarding document. Instead, write a thoughtful note filled with warmth that lets them know you’re glad they’re there and look forward to working with them.
Here are some welcome message examples, but be sure to tailor it to your specific company tone and the employee you’ve just hired!
Excited welcome messages:
- Welcome to the team, [employee name]. We’re so excited to have you here and look forward to the work we’re going to accomplish together.
- [Company name] is so lucky to have a hard-working employee like you join our team! I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together over the coming months and years.
- Congrats on joining the team! Here at [company name], we take great pride in working with the best of the best—just like you. We hope you have a great first day and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
- Warmest welcome, [employee name]. We couldn’t be more excited to have you here. We hope you love working alongside the other energetic, creative, and forward-thinking individuals that make this company what it is.
- We’re so excited to have you here, [employee name]. We think you’ll fit in great with our team of individuals who value collaboration, innovation, and hard work!
Welcome messages for experienced hires:
- We’re so glad you’ve joined our team, [employee name]. Your years of experience are going to be so valuable, we can’t wait to hear your insight as you get settled in this position.
- Dear [employee name], we’re so glad that someone with your talent and enthusiasm is joining our team. Together we’re sure to reach new heights.
- Welcome to [company name]. Your background and expertise really stood out to us throughout the hiring process and we’re so glad you’ve chosen to accept our offer and join the team.
- Welcome! Our hiring team did an awesome job finding you. We can’t wait to see how your talent and expertise boost our team to new heights.
- Dear, [employee name], the hiring team did an awesome job finding you. We believe your unique background and expertise are really going to help us reach new heights.
Welcome messages for less experienced hires:
- Congrats on the new position! Your willingness to learn and creative problem solving really stood out to us and we’re glad to have you join us. Please reach out if you have any questions.
- Dear [employee name], you are a great asset to this team and we look forward to hearing your creative insights and fresh perspective.
- You’re an awesome addition to the team! We can’t wait to start working together and believe you’re going to be a valuable asset to the work we’re doing.
- Welcome to [company name]. When we first started looking for someone to fill this position, we really wanted to find a passionate and dedicated individual—and we think you’re the perfect fit!
Congratulatory welcome messages:
- Congratulations on becoming part of the team! We’re honored to have someone like you joining us and look forward to getting to know you and working alongside you.
- Congrats and welcome aboard! We look forward to seeing the ways you’ll challenge us and help us think outside the box.
- Congrats on joining the team! You stood out from the dozens of qualified applicants because of your heart to help people and your passion to see the world become a little bit better every day. We can’t wait to accomplish great things together.
Welcome messages with a reminder to reach out for help when needed:
- We’re happy to have you with us, [employee name]. We hope you have a smooth transition into your new role—please reach out with any questions you have.
- Welcome! The first day in a new environment can be a bit overwhelming, so please let us know if you have any questions. We are so excited to have you with us.
- Congratulations! Ever since we met you, we’ve been hoping you’d join our team and we are so excited that today is that day. Please reach out if there is anything we can do to help the transition go smoothly.
An employee’s first day can be stressful and overwhelming. Do your best to introduce them to others, let them know you’re glad they’re there, and be available to answer any questions they may have.
Here are some things to remember when welcoming a new colleague to the team:
- As much as possible, try not to make them the center of attention as that can be stressful and overwhelming for many people. Instead, create spaces where the entire team is sharing a bit about themselves.
- Consider doing something fun and festive like decorating their desk, putting together a swag bag, or writing a welcome letter to help them see how excited you are to have them join you.
- Demystify the onboarding process by giving them the game-plan document before they get to the office so they have an idea of what their first day will look like ahead of time.
- Write a thoughtful note reminding them that you recognize their skills and are excited to work with them.
If you are still in the hiring process, read up on how Google, Amazon, and Facebook hire the best people!