Imagine your first day at a new job. You’re excited! You walk in the door full of optimism, ready to jump in to the challenges ahead. Then when you get in, everyone around you is heading to their desk, settling in, while you have little to no idea what to do next. Oh no.
There are two ways the scenario can play out from here:
- You walk around aimlessly, looking for someone to show you where to go, what to do, and where to get started. Not ideal.
- You spot a tidy desk complete with a beautiful new employee kit and welcome sign on it. Ah, feels like home.
A new employee’s first day plays a big part in how they feel about their new company, and even though an onboarding kit may seem like a silly add-on, it can go a long way in helping that new employee feel like they’re part of the team.
To show you how to build the perfect employee onboarding kit (including some custom branded t-shirts, obviously), we talked to Kevin Spahn, Art Director at Element Three to ask him why employee onboarding is so important, how his kit sets the tone for their company culture, and how to build an employee onboarding kit that new hires are going to love.
Why it’s Worth it to Invest in an Employee Onboarding Kit
First impressions are a big deal. When your new hire arrives for their first day, you want to make sure they feel welcome, in the loop about what’s happening, and excited about being at your company.
“Joining a new company can be nerve-wracking for anyone” says Kevin. “Walking into an environment where everyone is already connected and engaged with each other takes guts, so we think it is really important to let our new hires know right out of the gate that we are happy they’re here.”
If you’ve done minimal prep before their arrival, things can go south fast. If their first day is full of wandering around and filling out forms, it won’t feel much like you’re part of a team. A great employee onboarding kit can change that.
“It’s fun, opens up conversation and shows the new employee that we’re focused on making them feel welcome and appreciated,” Kevin says about their kit. “Perhaps most importantly, it provides them with swag the very first day so they immediately feel like they’re part of the team.”
Assembling the Perfect Onboarding Kit
You want your employee onboarding kit to be something special. Not just something that shows them they work somewhere new, but that they’re now a part of a team.
“It’s more than just cool swag; we’re telling the new employee a story about who we are through all of the details of the packaging and components,” says Kevin.
You want to make sure your onboarding kit adds value by being both fun and informative. Kevin says at Element Three, they broke it up into three parts: informative items, practical items, and then the fun pieces that get people really excited.
Make your kit informative. This can include items like:
- A letter from the company president
- Map of the office
- Key to the building
- A checklist of things you’ll get done in your first month
Make your kit useful. Add what might be handy to have at your desk, like:
- Notebooks & pens
- A book that aligns with your company’s values
Make your kit fun. Staples here would include:
- A t-shirt or two
- Water bottle
- A pennant
Making Your Employee Onboarding Kit Meaningful
When planning what goes into each kit, think about which items you can use to relay small details about the company.
As you unpack Element Three‘s onboarding kit, there are small details in the packaging that tell the story of who the company is. For instance, their notebooks have the companies values printed on them, as well as other humorous bits of info.
These small details will win you big points, so take time to think through how to engage with your new hire, and slowly immerse them in your company’s culture.
“This is so important during what for many can be a stressful time,” says Kevin. “It is also interactive, so a new employee has someone who guides them through the kit, talks about the pieces and introduces others who will join the journey for their onboarding.”
Where to Get the Goods
If you’re wondering where to get all of the items you’ll assemble in your kit, here are some suggestions:
- Lumi is great for packaging. Their items are very customizable, and the order process is incredibly easy.
- Sticker Mule for, well, stickers.
- M2 Promotions is great for miscellaneous items like notebooks, water bottles, etc.
- Oxford Pennant for some really cool, throwback custom pennants.
- And for t-shirts, your pals here at Real Thread have you covered :)
The takeaway: onboarding kits are about way more than spoiling your employees with cool merch. When done right, your employee onboarding kit will be a powerful too for welcoming a new hire, teaching them the company culture and values, and making them feel part of a team.
We’d love to play a role in making the employee onboarding kit of your dreams. Give us a shout and to tell us more about your project, and how we can help you bring your kit to life.