20 Tips to Welcome New Employees

The addition of a new team member can be exciting and stressful. While many variables contribute to a new employee's success with the company, there are plenty of things organizations can do to increase the chances of a great fit. These tips and ideas offer simple but effective ways to say welcome aboard! Many of these suggestions can apply to in-person, virtual and hybrid office work environments.  

Prior to the First Day 

  1. Company Handbook - Email a copy of the company handbook to your new team member before their first day. This helpful guide is usually packed with information about dress code, paid holidays, how to request paid time off, etc.
  2. Who's Who Chart- Along with the company handbook, send an organization chart and diagram of where everyone is located in the office.
  3. FAQ Sheet - Take company orientation one step further and create an FAQ sheet compiled with questions and answers from fellow colleagues. This should include information team members would have found helpful when they joined the company.
  4. Get to Know You - Develop a simple "get to know you" questionnaire and ask the new hire to complete it. Steer away from work questions and instead ask about hobbies, pets, where they grew up, favorite foods, etc. Share some of the fun facts in a welcome email and/or during a meeting and invite all team members to share something about themselves. This is a quick way to break the ice and help everyone get to know each other.
  5. Company Culture - Learning company culture can take time, but your team is your most valuable resource to help new employees feel at home. Connect your new hire with a longtime employee and someone who has joined the team more recently. Ask your employees if they can share some insight into the unwritten rules of how the company operates.
  6. Technology Ready - Prior to the start date, arrange for IT to set up the new person's computer, monitors, phones and passwords.

  1. Give A Tour - Make the new person feel welcome with an office tour when they arrive. Show them where they will be working, the restrooms, kitchen, coffee area and conference rooms. This is also a great opportunity to distribute keys or security cards.
  2. Supplies - Make sure your new team member is ready to get started with a stock of fresh office supplies. Or if the person is working off site, send them a box of what they will need to get started or share the procedure for online ordering.
  3. Assignment Ready - It's hard to feel like a valued team member until you are contributing in a meaningful way. After they get settled in, meet with the new employee, and give them some initial assignments. Tasks could include reviewing documents and sharing feedback, making a list of priorities or scanning through marketing materials.
  4. Office Machines 101 - If the new hire will spend any time in a physical office, a quick orientation of how to work the copier, mail machine and other tools of the trade is imperative.
  5. First Introductions - Surprises are great if it is your birthday, but not so much on your first day. If the new person is going to be introduced during a staff meeting or committee gathering, let him or her know.
  6. Break the Ice - Planning a group icebreaker is a great way to put the new team member at ease and help them get to know everyone. Try some would you rather questions or minute to win it games, and set aside a few minutes for a quick icebreaker in future meetings.
  7. Share the Company Calendar - Keep the new employee in the know by sharing department and company calendars.
  8. Schedule the First Day - The first day is a busy one! Keep everyone on task with a detailed schedule of activities, introductions and meetings. Don't forget to include breaks and lunch.
 First Week 

  1. Pair Them with a Buddy - After the new hire has been on the job for a week, pair them with a colleague who can check in and see how they are adjusting. This could be someone in their department or a person they have a lot in common with.
  2. Five Day Check In - After five days on the job, meet for coffee or schedule a virtual meeting. This casual get together is not a performance review, instead ask how they are settling in and answer any questions. This meeting should help you determine what additional support is needed.
  3. Long Term Project - With a week or more checked off the calendar, ask the new person to assist with a long-term project. This can help them feel anchored and give them something to do while they are still figuring things out.

First Month

  1. 1 Month Check-In - Similar to the week check-in, this is not a performance review, but gives the new person time to ask questions or express any concerns after four weeks on the job.
  2. Welcome Swag - Welcome your new team member with a basket full of fun company gear. This could include branded t-shirts, coffee mugs, pens and other items. If your company doesn't have branded items, put a basket together with items you think the new hire will like.
  3. Get Together - Plan a virtual or in-person happy hour or head out for coffee and dessert with members of the department after your new team member settles in Waiting several weeks will give your new employee time to dive into some projects and give everyone plenty to discuss.
 Try a few of these ideas or all 20 and add your own ideas to the list. Ask your new employees about their onboarding experience and make updates based on their feedback. Make sure to balance all the new information with fun to help get them off to a strong start!  

Courtney McLaughlin is a freelance writer in Charlotte, N.C. She gratefully shares her life, home and heart with her daughter and their dog.