The first day at a new job is always terrifying. Why not put the new team member at ease by planning a few fun ways to welcome them?
Welcoming new starters is about more than an excuse to get a cake (although that’s a good enough reason if you ask us). Companies that foster inclusivity, making your team feel part of something, have shown a 25% boost in productivity. What’s more, demonstrating a strong company culture, one that is enjoyable to be part of, can aid employee retention by 59%. If those stats aren’t strong enough to win your boss around to these fun ideas, we’re not sure what else could… did we mention cake?
Here are 5 fun ways to welcome new starters
Connect your new hire with the team before the big day (assign a Buddy)
Start preparing for your new arrival before they step foot in the office. Set them up with a buddy, someone in the team who can answer questions, help them get a hang of the culture and make them feel welcome. Get the pair chatting on email and arrange a virtual coffee or two before their first day to ask any burning questions. This way when your new colleague starts, they’ll already have a friendly face to turn to.
Why not organise either a one-to-one buddy meet-up or if they are going to be part of a team, a virtual call with a few of their soon to be team-mates. If you have a company event coming up, invite them to join. Send them a postcard before their first day saying you can’t wait to meet them, maybe add in some postal brownies to get them really excited. Make them feel included before the 9 to 5 kicks in.
Offer them a later start than usual
Is there anything worse than waiting around and feeling like a nuisance? Perhaps the guilt that you are supposed to be welcoming your new teammate, but are stuck catching up on emails, fixing the printer or dealing with a diary malfunction. Give your starter an extra hour or so before they have to get to the office. That way they won’t feel rushed trying out a new tube line to work and you can take the time to be prepared for when they arrive.
Prepare the welcoming committee
Move grumpy Gavin away from the front door. Sorry Gav - smiling faces only. Who are the team members that embody the company culture, who are fun and welcoming? Make sure these are the people your new-starter meets first.
It might be just making sure there is someone at the door when they walk in, or a person to sit and have a cuppa with whilst they are waiting to do admin. If your team is stretched, what about a virtual hello? Try putting a welcome message on the screen in your office waiting area if you have one, or send a video to the newbie to watch on their way in. You could even decorate their desk. First impressions count!
Give new employees' company swag
What is it about free stationery we all love? Make your new colleague feel welcome by giving them a package of goodies to celebrate and help their first day. Google gives all new starters a customized hat, Nike has a welcome kit including a mug, calendar and headphones. Whilst Facebook goes all out with a T-shirt, Macbook and nameplate. Check out some ideas for welcome kits here.
As well as the fun stuff, make sure you include relevant paperwork, maybe a FAQ sheet and any company culture guidelines.
Have a lunch date (with cake of course)
Don’t leave your new teammate eating a soggy sandwich by the bike store. Arrange a team lunch where everyone can get to know each other a little better. Either send a small team out to your office’s favourite local spot or get some grub (and cake) delivered in for a full team lunch.
If you want to keep things low key on the first day, why not arrange an end of week welcome party for newbies? You could ask them to answer 5 questions about themselves, or create a mini-presentation about their first week to share with the company. Get creative.
Making your new teammate feel special on their first day is an excellent way to show-off your office culture and help them settle in quickly. It’s also a great excuse to celebrate in the office and for the team to pull together for something other than deadlines.
Getting your team engaged with your company culture isn’t just for new starters. There are plenty of celebrations to help pull the team together, boost productivity and happiness— any excuse for a slice, right?!