New Hire Orientation Blog
The New Hire Pre-Boarding Welcome Letter
- August 1, 2019
- Posted by: Sherman Morrison
- Category: New Hire Induction
The first and perhaps most important element of pre-employment orientation for a new hire is sending a welcome letter after a candidate has accepted your offer of employment. Who should this welcome letter to new employees come from? What should be included in it? This article has answers to these questions, as well as a couple example welcome letters.
First Impressions Matter: Getting the New Hire Welcome Letter Right
After a candidate accepts an offer of employment, the next thing they should receive is a welcome letter. Ideally, this should come from the CEO of the company. If not, it would be great if it came from another C-suite executive. The next best option would be for it to come from the new hire’s direct manager or supervisor. But I would push hard to have it come from the CEO, even if it’s mostly a template that can be modified before sending. After all, this welcome letter is going to be the new hire’s first real impression of what it’s going to be like working for your company, and you want to wow them right out of the gate.
Avoid Radio Silence at All Costs
What you don’t want to happen is this: The new hire accepts the offer of employment and then hears…nothing. Total radio silence. This is NOT the way to kick things off with a new hire! Then, after a few days have passed, the new hire (who might already be questioning whether or not they made the right decision) emails the hiring manager they were in touch with throughout the hiring process, perhaps asking about a start date or who will be in touch with them about onboarding. Then another full day passes before the new hire gets a an email response back that says something like, “Sorry for not getting back to you sooner – very busy! Happy to hear you’re joining the team!” No answers to questions, no details, no nothing.
You’d be surprised how often this happens throughout corporate America. And then companies wonder why so many new hires don’t last long. In part it’s because of bad impressions like this. The new hire is no longer even excited about their first day of work. If anything, they’ll be looking for reasons to quit given the total lack of attention to proper onboarding.
Two Examples of New Hire Welcome Letters
Here’s an example welcome letter HR blogger Ben Eubanks of upstartHR saved from a previous employer. It’s not the greatest writing in the world by any means, but it’s very authentic and shows the employee’s manager cares enough to handle this task themselves rather than handing it off to HR:
Dear [Employee Name],
Welcome aboard our team! I am pleased to have you working with us. You were selected for employment due to the attributes that you displayed that appear to match the qualities I look for in an employee.
I’m looking forward to seeing you grow and develop into an outstanding employee that exhibits a high level of care, concern, and compassion for others. I hope that you will find your work to be rewarding, challenging, and meaningful.
I will expect your best each day. Know that I am concerned about your development and that my door is always open. The keys to your success will be being dependable, reliable, showing openness, follow-through, attentiveness, supervision, documentation, and following the policies and procedures. While doing these things you will be successful and so will [Company Name]. Your professional growth is of utmost concern for me personally, because if you are growing our clients will grow as well.
Please take your time and review our yearly goals so that you can know what is expected and make a positive contribution. Again, I look forward to seeing you grow as a professional while enhancing the lives of the clients entrusted in your care.
The takeaway from this example is about setting the tone of the manager’s support for the new hire, and clearly laying out the expectations around work ethic and values. It would be even better to describe a little more about the onboarding process, or at least reference that information if attached in separate files, such as this example from employee experience platform KazooHR:
Dear [Employee Name],
Welcome to Kazoo. I can tell that you’re going to be a great addition to our team. We’re all looking forward to having your energy and expertise on our projects.
There’s a lot to learn as you get started in these first weeks. The volume of training and new processes we’re throwing at you may feel overwhelming. So, please take a minute right now and review our company core values: open book, create happiness, adapt or die, eyes on the prize, and leave it better. You can find descriptions of these in your onboarding packet. By living these values every day, you will be successful in this company and in your career. They should guide everything that you do here.
I’m committed to your professional growth, and want that to be part of our ongoing conversations. We also have a company goal of providing connection, appreciation, meaning, and impact as part of your daily employee experience. If you feel like any of these aren’t happening (or if you just want to celebrate because they are!) my door is always open.
The rest of your onboarding plan is attached. It includes some basic office policies and identifies teammates who will get you up to speed. We’ll review it in a one-on-one later today. But in the meantime, let me (or other team members) know if there’s anything we can do to help you navigate your first few days.
Can’t wait to get started!
The one thing I don’t like about this KazooHR example is how it references going over the onboarding plan in a one-on-one meeting later that day. This clearly indicates that the letter is being sent on the new hire’s actual first day of work, which in my opinion is far too late for a welcome letter. Instead, I strongly recommend a welcome letter be part of the pre-boarding process well before the first day of work.
Tips for New Hire Welcome Letter Content
At a minimum, I think any new hire welcome letter should include the following content points:
Express delight: Tell the new hire how happy and excited you are about having the join the company. In an ideal world, you would reference a point or two from their interview that really stood out. If the letter is coming from the CEO who was not part of the hiring process, it could still be referenced (“I heard about how you…during your interview…”).
Offer contacts: Mention a few key people they can be in touch with right away, such as their temporary “buddy” who will help guide them through their first couple weeks, perhaps a key HR contact for questions about policies and benefits, and their direct supervisor or manager if the letter is not coming from them.
Mention core values: However clear it may or may not have been during the hiring process, the welcome letter is a place to mention and reinforce core company values. The KazooHR example does this really well, and points the employee towards more information about those values.
Set expectations: It’s also a good time to lay out the big-picture of expectations for the new hire, not in terms of specific goals (which haven’t yet been set), but in terms of overall work ethic.
Employee manual: Include a link to your company’s online employee handbook (if available) or attach the PDF version (if available) to your welcome email. If your company’s employee manual sucks, read my previous article, An Employee Handbook for the 21st Century.
Pre-boarding info: Pre-boarding is your opportunity to not only make a great impression, but get as much paperwork and other stuff out of the way so they don’t ruin the awesome first day of work you’re going to plan for them. Either attach a whole pre-boarding packet that walks them through everything they can do between now and their first day, or mention that it will come to them in a separate email from HR.
Make it FUN: If your company’s workplace culture is relatively informal, inject a little fun into your welcome letter by including creative welcome GIF’s the way recruiting software company Lever does it. They get downright crazy with theirs. Check out examples in An unforgettable welcome for your new hire.
A welcome letter that hits all these main points with authenticity and style will have your new hire chomping at the bit to hit the ground running on their first day to prove they are worthy of being invited to join your team!