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You’ve hired a new employee, congratulations! The hours spent writing the perfect job specification, trawling through CVs and conducting interviews has paid off. Now for the fun bit, the eagerly awaited first day. You want new hires to feel welcome, valued and a part of the team, before they even walk in the door on Day One.

Time invested in implementing a thoughtful on-boarding process improves employee satisfaction and retention, which means time saved on hiring new staff in the long run. This not only saves precious time and money but also contributes to a better company culture for all. It is that important!

This post presents some creative ideas for on-boarding new employees in a way that is fun, easy and impactful.

1. Create a pre-start package

Make employees feel welcome before they’ve even stepped foot in the door by adding a ‘pre-start package’ to your on-boarding process. A creative, personalized welcome package posted to your new hire before they’ve even started is a great way to set the foundation for a stellar first day and start building a positive connection to the company.

Spend time crafting a curated pre-start package that reflects your brand identity, welcomes employees and provides them with practical tools they can use well into the future. No matter the size of your company, this matters.

Ok, so now you know why let’s look at how

Start with your budget. Having a clear idea of your onboarding budget is essential so that you can scale your pre-start package accordingly and make it sustainable.

The good news is, you can create an impactful package whatever your intended spend. Small gestures such as branded pens, notebooks or keyrings go a long way, especially if they’re well-presented. You could go one step further and include a welcome card signed by the employee’s new team members.

Despite their size, Percolate, a global marketing technology company, include a handwritten note of congratulations in each of their fresh start’s welcome kits. This costs next to nothing, but adds tremendous value, and can make a lovely keepsake.

Next, come up with a theme. Welcome packs have become ubiquitous, so it’s important to make yours stand out. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and follow the tried and tested route of delivering new hires a collection of branded merchandise. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s much more room for creativity! The most effective, and memorable welcome packs are based on brand identity.

Again, this is achievable whatever your budget. Theme it around your core values, color scheme, and company ethos, for example. Move away from gimmicky items (no one needs another company stress ball to add to their collection) and make it relevant to your company and industry. Advertising and PR brand Ogilvy & Mather’s ‘induction box’ strikes just the right balance between conceptual and practical.

Inspired by the founder’s ‘famous eight habits of creative people,’ there is one item to represent each habit including a copy of his book and even a slinky! None of the items are particularly expensive or grandiose, but they help tell the brand’s story.

Be sure to include items that your employees will want to use. Functional and wearable items such as t-shirts, tote bags or pin badges are a great place to start. Not only will your employee feel valued, but they’ll also get some great gear to wear outside of the office, which helps promote your company, too.

If you have a larger budget, you could include higher quality items such as branded headphones or a laptop bag that your employees will use again and again. Percolate gift all new employees their very own Kindle, reflecting the value their company places on ‘intellectual curiosity.’ The most important thing to remember is to make it relevant to your company and useful for your employee.

2. Outfit their workstation

Any first day at a new job is exciting but hectic. There are contracts to be signed, endless hands to shake and tonnes of information to absorb. Don’t add to the chaos! Make sure your new employee’s workstation is fully kitted out with everything they need to get started with their job from the get-go and don’t be afraid to add some extra touches, as well.

Arriving at a personalized, well-organized workspace makes for a memorable, positive start and sets the perfect tone for their first day and beyond. Some practical and budget-friendly products include branded pens, mugs, mousepads, laptop stickers, and branded notebooks and stationery.

Personalizing a branded mug with your new employee’s name or initials is another easy, yet effective strategy to welcome your new employee and integrate them into their team, it also helps with avoiding the dreaded office kitchen mug politics!

3. Keep your new employee inspired

We’ve said it before but it’s worth mentioning again, thinking outside the box is key to creating a memorable first day for your new employee. Still, keep it simple and on-brand. There’s no use pouring time and money into a wacky, but an impractical gift that no one will use. One bright idea that has helped inspire staff at a diverse number of businesses is to gift new employees a branded desk plant.

The symbolism is clear: let’s focus on nurturing growth. It’s unique, environmentally friendly and brightens up the office. And creating a haven of flowers and plants is also a surefire route to making your office Instagram-worthy!

Another fun idea is to gift your new employee with a ‘grow-your-own’ kit of flower or plant seeds, pot, and tools. Encourage some healthy competition between green-fingered teams, like who can grow the biggest and best displays. You could even incorporate this into a team-building activity, bring in pots and soil for a ‘planting’ party on a Friday afternoon.

Don’t forget about the existing staff! Consider gifting branded desk plants across the business Whether this is your first time introducing structured on-boarding in the company, or you’re overhauling your current process, be sure to include your current employees in the process too. Reach out and ask staff for their thoughts and ideas, what would have made their first day better? Their insight is invaluable in this process, especially newer recruits whose first day is still fresh in their mind!

Smart hiring is a critical component of any successful business. Maximize your employee on-boarding plan with some of these creative, fun and very achievable ideas to give your employees a proper welcome and boost morale and culture at your workplace.

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