In order to stand out as a great employer, it’s important to intentionally craft a positive employee experience that lasts the entire employee lifecycle, especially when welcoming them to the team on their first day of work.
First days can be intimidating. As new employees seek to make sense of their new environment, it’s in every company's best interests to ease the transition and offer the necessary security and guidance to welcome employees in the most meaningful way possible.
An employee’s onboarding experience is important. Research shows that organizations with strong onboarding processes improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Yet only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees.
What’s that all about?
Well, more than half of organizations report that their onboarding program is mostly focused on processes and paperwork. Proper bookkeeping is important, but a people-focused organization benefits from planning an onboarding focused first on foremost on crafting a positive first-day experience for new employees.
To help you craft an onboarding experience that creates a positive, lasting first impression, try out these strategies for an engaging and positive first-day experience.
6 ways to craft an excellent first-day experience
From the moment your new employee walks in the door (or logs online) on their first day, there are actions you can that will make them feel included and welcome. Here are six ways to welcome a new employee to the team for an auspicious start.
1. Send an onboarding gift
There’s no better way to make a memorable first impression than to send a first-day welcome gift. This meaningful gesture shows your appreciation for your new employee, communicating how happy you are to have them on board.
Some great first-day employee gift ideas include:
- A desk decoration related to one of their interests or something for their home office
- A sweet treat to enjoy after a busy first day
- A snack basket to keep at their desk for future snacking needs
- Some great company swag
If you want to be absolutely certain that your new employee will love their onboarding gift, the best way to do so is to give them the gift of choice. For example, by sending them an onboarding gift with Snappy, you can create an unforgettable employee gifting experience, allowing them to choose from a curated collection of popular options they’re sure to appreciate.
When it comes to timing your onboarding gift, we recommend sending it at the end of your employee’s first day. The beginning of their day will already be packed with a lot of information, so it’s most impactful to wait until they’re a bit less overwhelmed.
Try including a message like this along with your onboarding gift:
- We hope you had a fantastic first day! We’re so happy that you’ve joined us. See you tomorrow!
- Just a little token of our appreciation in honor of a great first day. We look forward to the journey ahead!
- A warm welcome to the team from all of us to you. We hope your first day was smooth and easy.
2. Write a welcome message to your new employee
In addition to standard emails explaining all of the practical stuff like employee handbooks and benefits enrollment, we recommend sending two additional welcome emails for your employee to open on their first day.
Personal welcome email to new employees
The first is a personal email focused on offering a personalized, warm welcome. This will serve as a greeting to help get new employees excited about starting with your company. For even more of an impact, consider including a team photo or a video of the employee’s new team members saying “welcome to the team.” And remember to always use a positive, friendly tone that conveys your good intentions.
Here are a few welcome message samples you can borrow or use as inspiration.
- Welcome to the team! We wish you all the best in your new role. We have no doubt that you’re going to kill it. Have a wonderful first day and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
- Welcome aboard and congratulations on your new role! We are so excited to have you joining our team. We look forward to a long, successful journey together. Have a great first day and let me know if you need anything.
- Welcome to our team! On behalf of everyone here, I want to wish you a great first day and beyond. Remember, we’re in this together. If you have any questions or ideas, reach out to me or anybody else. We’re all here to help you on your journey and grow together. I look forward to getting to know you better.
- On behalf of our entire organization, I am so happy to be welcoming you to our team. We look forward to getting to know you and working with you. You have our full support, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any help or have any questions. Best of luck!
Public welcome email to new hires
We also recommend sending a new employee announcement email to the entire team or company. This will help integrate the new hire into the organization, encouraging others to introduce themselves and be friendly.
Here are examples of messages you can use in a welcome note to new employee.
- Please help me welcome the newest member of our organization, Jane Doe. Jane will be joining the X team as a Y. We are so excited to have Jane join our family, and we know she’s going to prove to be a valuable addition to the company. Please introduce yourselves to Jane when you have the chance. We’re sure you’ll get along great. Welcome to the team, Jane!
- I am excited to announce that we have a new employee joining our team today. John Doe is coming on as our newest X and will be part of the Y team. We’re all very excited to have John on board and we’ll hope you’ll join us in welcoming him over the next few days.
- We have some great news to share! It’s our pleasure to announce that our newest employee, Jane Doe, will be joining the team as an X on Monday. Jane will be part of the Y team with John James as her manager. We’re thrilled to have Jane on board. Please offer your warmest welcome.
Tip: add a welcome to the team GIF
In addition to using positive language, another way to create a lighthearted, fun tone in your welcome email is to include a silly or funny welcome to the team GIF. Check out some fun ideas below.
3. Make lunch plans
Making new friends is tough. It can make a huge difference if you’re able to lend a helping hand to assist your new hire in creating connections. One of the best ways you can do so is to make sure your new employee doesn’t have to eat lunch alone.
There are a few different ways you can do this. If your employee is joining a small team of four or so people or fewer, you can have their new co-workers take them out for a pre-budgeted team lunch on the company. This is a great way to make the first day feel special and promote bonding.
If your organization is bigger and it’s not possible to fit an entire team together at a single lunch table, another option is to assign your new employee a lunch buddy. This person can take responsibility to be proactive and invite the new employee to lunch on their first day.
For remote employees, an online team activity for their first day such as a virtual happy hour or coffee break is another nice option to give their social connections an encouraging push.
4. Help them introduce themselves
While you don’t want to bombard your employees with a busy first workday, it is important that they have something to do during their first day that eases them into their role. A perfect activity to assign a new hire on their first day that will keep them busy without overwhelming them is to give them a task that will help them introduce themselves to their new coworkers.
For example, you might give them instructions to create a short slideshow or a cute video with information about themselves that they’d want their peers to know. They can email out their introduction to their new team during the day to start some conversations.
Here are some things you can suggest they include in their intro:
- Their name
- Their new role, team, and manager
- Their contact information
- Their educational and work background
- Their interests
- How they like their coffee
- Quirky work habits
- Fun facts
5. Assign them a buddy
Rather than having a member of HR be in charge of guiding your new employee on their first day, consider assigning them a peer buddy. This person can be their go-to for answering questions on the first day and beyond. This is a great way to build connections and make new employees feel included early on.
Some things that a peer buddy might be able to help with include:
- Doubling as a lunch buddy (see above)
- Giving an office tour
- Suggesting local spots for coffee or happy hour
- Making introductions to other people in the office
- Checking in throughout the day to see how they’re doing
Of course, choosing the right buddy for a new employee is key. Here are some tips to help you make the best buddy connections.
- Choose an employee who has been with your organization for a year at the very least. You’ll want them to be well-versed in all things related to your company so they can give helpful answers to the new employee’s questions.
- Whenever possible, try assigning a buddy who shares something in common with your new employee, whether that be a hometown, an alma mater, or some kind of personal interest
- Offer new employee buddies some form of training so they know how to best help their buddy
- Ask people before choosing them to be a buddy! Some people might be too busy or shy to take on this role
6. Schedule an end-of-day check-in
Chances are your new employee has a million questions, but they may feel shy about reaching out and asking them – or they may not even know who to address their questions to. To combat these potential blockers, be proactive. Schedule a meeting at the end of the new employee’s first day during which they can bring up any questions or concerns that came up for them throughout their first day.
This way, you’re able to make sure they have anything confusing cleared up and walk away from their first day feeling seen and cared for. And you can also receive feedback on your onboarding experience from your newest employee so that you can improve it for the future.
Here are some questions to guide your conversation during this meeting.
- How was your first day?
- Did you find everything okay in the office?
- Do you have any questions for me?
- Did you get along well with your manager?
- Is there anything I can do to help you moving forward?
At the end of the meeting, make sure that the employee knows that they’re welcome to reach out to you - or whomever else - anytime they have something to ask or talk about.
First-day magic with Snappy
From sending a welcome note to new employees to choosing a thoughtful gift and beyond, there are many things that you can do as an employer to make sure that your employees have a smooth, easy first-day experience.
By focusing on ways that you can make them happy and integrate them into their team, you can reduce any first-day jitters and make sure that your new employees end their first day with a smile on their faces, excited for what’s to come.
Snappy is delighted to be part of a positive first-day experience, with our curated employee gift options certain to make anybody smile. The best part - your new employees get the chance to select their favorite option so they’re guaranteed to get something they love or you can surprise them with a gift that you love. Whatever the case - the extra touch is one that will be remembered.
Best of all, Snappy is easy to use and scale so you can continue offering top-tier first-day experiences as your company grows and meaningful moments to your employees as they grow in your organization. You can even integrate it into your HR system with our HR integrations - for a smooth and flawless onboarding execution.