Employee welcome gifts for new hires and interns send a message from day one that your company values and appreciates its staff.
Welcome gifts show your company is ready and excited for their contributions.
At the San Francisco office of ad agency DDB, new employees on their first day are chauffeured to work in a Town Car. Flowers, a hoodie and a water bottle greet them at their desk.
Plus, all new hires at DDB get a gift card to a local coffee shop where they can get to know their new coworkers.
From the get-go, DDB is sending a welcoming message: We’re glad you’re here. Come and join us!
First days on the job are nerve-wracking. Make it easier on your new hires with employee welcome gifts. And don’t forget your summer interns — give them the very best first impression of the “real world” and why they should consider working for you.
What Makes a Good Workplace Welcome Gift?
It’s not about how much you spend, or trying to impress. Welcome gifts need just two elements to succeed.
First, your gift needs to reflect your company mission and culture.
At ad agencies like DDB, welcome gifts are whimsical and creative — a good match for the creative types who work there.
Other companies focus on fun community-building or tech-savvy gifts, depending on the culture and industry. Online eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker gives new employees a copy of Jack Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums” — a novel that inspired the founders of the company.
If your company culture celebrates a family-friendly environment, your best choice for welcome gifts are gifts the whole family can enjoy.
A gift that aligns with corporate culture has a two-fold purpose. Like any gift, it’s a token of appreciation. It also initiates employees right away into the culture and mission of the company. Your gift is a signal to new hires that “this is who we are.”
Second, your gift needs to be shared with an explicit message of gratitude. Sure, gifts “say” thanks, but it’s much more meaningful when they’re accompanied by a thoughtful note or a few words of welcome in person with a smile and handshake.
Keep it short! First days are full of overwhelming logistics. New hires are learning the layout of the building, signing paperwork with HR, figuring out new software. They don’t have time for big parties or long meetings.
Your welcome message and gift has the power to be the most memorable part of their day, even if it takes only a minute or two to share.
Welcome Gifts Are Key to Successful Onboarding
New-hire experience matters in the long run. Spending a little extra time and effort early on has big payoffs later.
That’s because many employees “aren’t fully invested” when they start a new job, according to SHRM. In other words, they’re still deciding on the job — and a confusing or ungracious onboarding experience could turn them away and feed a cycle of high turnover.
“Replacing talent runs as high as two times annual salary,” BambooHR CEO Ben Peterson tells SHRM. “And it’s not just about dollars. Culture and job satisfaction is hugely impacted, as well as morale, productivity, lost insider knowledge. It’s painful to lose people.”
New hires who go through a structured onboarding program are 58 percent more likely to be working with the company three years later.
Onboarding needs to start the first day, if not earlier. And that can include gifts, too!
“The worst thing for a new employee is being wooed through the recruiting process and then arriving on the job and the receptionist isn’t even expecting you or your office isn’t set up,” Peterson says.
Online retailer Fab “wants new employees to feel the Fab embrace before they start,” according to the New York Times article, “Getting Employees Off to a Good Start”:
“Before the first day, new employees receive an email that shows what the agenda will be on Day 1. Then, the employee receives a physical gift bag, filled with colorful stickers, buttons and a pop phone. The bag is illustrative of the company’s excitement for the new employee and serves to underscore that Fab is a colorful place to work.”
Ultimately, welcome gifts are about making employees feel appreciated and motivated — and employees who feel appreciated and motivated are much more likely to stick around and do good work.
“Having a gift waiting for a new employee on their desk will make them feel special,” according to Silicon Republic. “It doesn’t have to be a massive swag bag … it simply has to be something for them to take home from their first day.”
Free Resource: Your Day-to-Day Employee Engagement Calendar
Looking for easy ways to thank employees year-round? Check out our 2022 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar! This one-of-a-kind resource gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free.
“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
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