Why you should write a welcome letter to a new employee

When bringing new employees into your company, it’s important to focus on integration and to help them feel welcomed. Composing a welcome letter to new employees is an important first step to helping them feel at home.

Here’s why a welcome letter can help make a difference in the experience of an incoming employee.

They might feel nervous. Even adults feel anxiety at their first new day in a new experience. This is sort of like the “first day of school” phenomenon, in which a person is plunged into a new world where everything is completely different. People may feel that they are not adequately prepared for this new experience. It is possible they are still young or, likewise, that they were in their previous job for decades and are used to a completely different setup.

Even if they do feel prepared, they may worry about any of the following: Will their peers like them? Will they be as accomplished as them? Do they look all right? Are they professional enough? Will the job be more difficult than their last? Will the training be a challenge? What is the company culture? If employers and peers can help ease new employees’ struggle by providing a warm welcome, it will give them a good impression.

It is often said that the first few days of a job are the most important. Truly, it can make a difference in the employees’ long-term satisfaction and how they view you as an employer.

Practical matters matter. There is a myriad of information new full-time employees need to become acquainted with quickly. There is a wealth of data to digest, from remembering the security code needed to enter the office, to where their cubicle, locker, or desk is. They also need to know where the kitchen facilities are and how to access company supplies. All such questions can be addressed in a welcome letter to new employees. If there is a lot of information, include a booklet or added notes in the envelope with the letter. Enclosing them on different colored paper, or in a binder, can help give the impression of organization and set an ongoing standard.

All in all, new employees will really appreciate not having to ask their colleagues or take time to find out the answers to these basic items that do not relate to their job directly. Plus, it saves you money because your employees’ efficiency will be enhanced and not distracted. Further, employees will be able to spend coffee breaks making genuine conversation with their new peers rather than having to teach them the basics of getting around the building.

They should feel appreciated. It’s reasonable enough to offer incoming employees a generic letter with all of the basic office information, along with a nice welcome note. However, it’s ideal to personalize the note with some specific information. Remind the employees exactly why they were hired and what you feel they can bring to your company. For example, note their outstanding qualifications and refer to projects they are likely to take on with you. Tell them how excited you are for them to get started. Address the letter with their name, and remind them of the names of their closest colleagues.

Help should be close by. The welcome letter is also an opportunity to tell them where to seek additional assistance in case they have further queries about pragmatics. Their manager (you) will be quite busy, so assign a peer who has a lot of experience with the company who can help advise them on the basics. Provide the peer’s name, email, extension, and office location, and invite the new employees to contact that person anytime. This will help the new arrivals feel secure in asking questions. It will also reassure them that they are not disturbing people by asking for tips or guidance.

Time is short. Another reason for providing a nice welcome letter is that, assuming the employee arrives by 9 a.m., you simply may not have time to leave what you’re doing to offer him or her a warm introduction in person. This is especially true if you have a lot of turnover at the company. If new employees come in regularly, you may need to dedicate the morning to meetings or answering emails rather than taking constant leave of what you’re up to. Giving a personal and well thought out letter that you can prepare in your downtime at the office gives you the opportunity to take care of other matters in the early morning.

Space helps. If your new employees are feeling nervous about their own arrival, the last thing they need is to be face-to-face with their new boss before they’ve had their morning coffee. Leaving a polite and warm letter will give them time to settle in, access their email, find what they need, and touch base with peers. Be sure to seek them out a little bit later on in the day, hopefully before lunch, to see how they’re doing. When you do, be sure to greet them with a smile, and show them how ecstatic you are that they chose you as their employer.

Now that you’re ready to write a thoughtful letter to your employee, consider the following elements for inclusion. Keep in mind that while paper copies are useful for them to have on hand if there are many pragmatics to take of, sending the letter via email before the first day is a good way to help them to feel prepared.

1. Begin with positive encouragement. This should be a paragraph congratulating them on their new role and reiterating why they were selected from a pool of candidates for this particular work. Highlight their assets and express your gladness to see them.

2. Offer a grounding reminder. Remind them of the general meeting time of the first day, i.e., “We anticipate seeing you at 9:30 a.m. in the main lobby, when we will take you to your desk.” If given in advance of the first day, a reminder to new employees gets the relationship off to a great start.

3. Provide instructions. In addition to noting where they should go and at what time, also specify what they should do afterward, i.e. “Speak to Melanie, your assistant, about the morning’s tasks.” Give them a go-to person if they have questions throughout the day. Also, specify anything else they may need. “You can bring your uniform with you” or “Be sure to bring the company handbook along, so we can point out some highlights.”

4. Provide an outline. Offer an example of what they may do on that day. Many employees would assume that they will get right into the thick of work, but often, with so much to organize, this isn’t realistic. Let them know what is on task for them: “On your first day, you can expect to…”

5. Remind them to eat. Since it’s their first day on the job, be sure to outline ideas for their lunch break. Explain how to access to any kitchen facilities you may offer or provide the location of a few good restaurants and places to order a coffee. Even though their peers may have this information, new employees may not have time to ask or they may feel shy to do so. Also, they should be reminded of when they should take a break (anytime or at specific hours) as they may be unsure of when they can do so.

6. Show enthusiasm. Don’t end the letter without revealing enthusiasm and gratitude to them for coming in to help out with your company. Be personal yet professional. If possible, let them know when you’ll be stopping by their area to visit with them, and tell them they are welcome to contact you if they have further questions for you personally.

Welcoming a new employee

A new day at a new job can be stressful for anyone: For the employer who has to balance their usual daily responsibilities, for the employee who walks into a new situation with relatively blind eyes, and for the peers, who will have to put their work aside more than usual to show hospitality and provide assistance. A thorough and well prepared employee letter will be helpful in making the employee feel at home. A warm welcome letter to new employees can go a long way in solidifying an excellent professional relationship between all parties.

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