Create “A Forever Impression” With A Memorable Welcoming Package (A powerful candidate experience and preboarding tool)

Before a new hire starts, prove that you really are different with a “Memorable Welcoming Package.”

Article Descriptors| Preboarding/Welcoming New-Hires – Its Benefits – 4 Min. Read

What Is A “Memorable Welcoming Package”?

A “Memorable Welcoming Package” (a.k.a. MWP) is a physical package that is highly memorable because it surprises soon-to-be hires at home. The package contains all of the information and tools that a new hire will need to get started. This memorable welcoming package is sent to new hires in professional jobs at least a week before their starting date. The design of a welcome package that would startle a new hire was pioneered years ago at Agilent Technologies, but the concept still works today.

What Are The Benefits Of A Memorable Welcoming Package? (MWP)

This tool impacts three areas: the candidate experience, preboarding, and new hire retention. This MWP practice provides hiring managers with these significant benefits.

  • Show them that your high level of trust will change everything – This package is designed to startle and excite the new hire by leaving “a forever impression” that your company is distinctively different. First, because most organizations can’t be bothered with sending out anything welcoming (other than some dreaded forms to sign). But also because the contents of the package are expensive (i.e., smartphones and laptops). This will surprise the new hire as it reveals that their hiring manager and the company both have an almost unheard-of level of trust in them (someone who is not yet an employee). Building this trust level will likely have the highest impact on them keeping their acceptance promise as well as their intention to stay a long time.
  • This approach lowers the probability of them reneging on their offer acceptance – It’s wise to continuously reinforce their decision to accept your offer because there may be several chances for them to change their mind. For instance, when their current manager makes a strong counteroffer or when another unexpected “better offer” comes in after they have already accepted yours. The MWP helps to limit any offer reneging by creating high levels of engagement, trust, and a feeling of belonging.
  • It will proactively limit starting-day ghosting – Failing to show up on the first day is known as Day-1 ghosting. Unfortunately, it is becoming quite common (22% of accepted job offers result in no-shows on the 1st day). Today, corporations must take proactive actions to prevent last-minute new hire no-shows. An MWP does that by showing the new hire that everyone is counting on them because they are needed. Being expected and needed will make them more likely to show up. You can learn more about preventing candidate ghosting here.
  • It will create an early expectation for a long tenure – Before they even start, make it clear to them that this MWP package is just another example of how your company is different. This will lead the candidate to almost immediately begin thinking of this job as a long-term career opportunity.
  • The tools that you provide in the package will help them to become immediately productive – By sending the new hire some of the tools they need to hit the ground running, you allow them (if they choose) to spend their extra time preparing for this new job. That early start will likely shorten the time it takes for them to reach their minimum productivity level during their first month.
  • Feeling welcomed will lower the new hire’s anxiety level – For several years, most organizations have been making a strong attempt to make their workplace more inclusive and welcoming. This tool is called a welcoming package because, at its foundation, it is designed to make new employees feel extremely welcomed. By feeling welcomed and included, you will reduce their anxiety level and make it more likely that they will show up on the first day excited and calm. A strong welcoming effort will also likely increase the retention of diverse candidates.
  • This memorable welcoming practice will help to build your employer brand – To continually attract top candidates, you will need to add positive candidate experience and onboarding/preboarding features that will be widely talked about on social media. This welcoming approach is so memorable that it will definitely be noticed by potential recruits.
  • This increase in communications will continuously build engagement – By building continuous two-way communications during what is normally a lull of communications, and by showing the new hire that your manager and team are actively preparing for them to start, you will continue to build the candidate’s engagement level.

The Most Impactful Tips For Designing Your MWP

Every organization’s welcoming package will have to be custom-designed based on the budget available and the WOW level that you’re trying to achieve. Some of the action steps and content items that most end up including are listed below.

  • Make sure that it is a surprise – Don’t spoil the surprise by alerting them to the fact that this welcoming package is coming to their home. The bigger the surprise, the stronger their memory of the practice will be.
  • Send them a personalized thank you note – This minor act might initially seem unimportant, but in reality, it has a major impact. So include a personalized hard copy handwritten thank you note (thanking them for participating and accepting) from the hiring manager and any teammates that they have built a relationship with.
  • Include a working smartphone – Include in the package the highest-level phone that their position allows. Provide them with their new phone number and make sure that everything is fully operational. In cases where you can’t actually include the phone, include a description of what they will get on their first day.
  • Include their laptop – Include the highest-level laptop that their position allows. When rules allow, it should be ready to use. However, you don’t have to provide them with complete access to the company’s network until the day that they start. Also, provide them with their company email address. Inform them if they will have the option to change computers after they start. Once again, if the equipment can’t be physically included, educate them on what they will receive on their first day.
  • Provide Q&A from past candidates – Show that you want to answer all of their questions by first providing them with a list of the most common questions (and answers) that have been asked by previous new hires in this job family. Also, where possible, supply them with a contact number where they can get their own personal questions answered prior to starting.
  • Assign them a peer buddy mentor – Before they even start, assign them a peer buddy (as Google does). Have that peer buddy (or mentor) contact them and begin talking at least several days before they start.
  • Make them aware of their first-day activities – Include their schedule for the first day to minimize some of their anxiety about it.

Some Additional Package Components That You Should Consider

  • Include a personalized welcome video – Consider including a personalized, informal team video. Be sure to cover the new hire’s work area.
  • Add in swag with the company logo – Logoed items can help to build the new hire’s identity with the company. Include lots of company swag for both them and their family.
  • Educate them about the software that they will be able to access – Include a list of the software that they will have access to both today and after they start.
  • Send them the LinkedIn links of their teammates – Give the new hire an opportunity to easily learn about their new colleagues by sending them links to the LinkedIn profiles of key team members. Also, include any media write-ups of the team and their outputs.
  • Include something to celebrate with – Consider including a bottle of wine/champagne or a dinner for two so that the candidate can celebrate their new job with their partner/spouse.
  • Include gifts for the family – If you want to get the family involved in building the new hire’s commitment to your company, and if your budget allows it, provide several small gifts for the spouse/partner and the kids.
  • Add targeted information for those interested in diversity – Consider including targeted information that will likely be of interest to your diverse new hires.
  • Add a special information package for remote workers – Because 100% remote workers are the most likely to be anxious before they start, include a more comprehensive information package that covers the potential issues of your 100% remote workers.

Raise The Bar With An “Exploding Welcoming Package”

If you’re bold and aggressive, you’ll love the aggressive but highly impactful concept of an exploding welcoming package. An exploding package purposely spreads the impact of your memorable welcoming package to other companies. It does that by sending the FedEx package not to the new hire’s home address, but instead to their current place of employment.

Picture the scene when your new hire opens this large, unmarked package in their cubicle. As they open it, they literally say out loud, “WOW.” And then some added words like, “I never ever thought that I’d ever have a job where the company supplied me with a great computer and smartphone before I even started.”

Of course, all of this ruckus will invariably attract the attention of numerous coworkers who are nearby, generating a “buzz” among them and their colleagues about your “new” company. This buzz will likely cause several coworkers to make this type of request: “Can you call me during the first week after you start and let me know if your new company is really as good as it appears to be.”

Note: Learn all of the components of great onboarding in my e-book, which can be found here.

If you only do one thing – in order to gain proof of concept. Put together an ad hoc memorable welcoming package for a handful of your top hires in key jobs. And then survey them during their first month on the job in order to gauge their reactions.

Final Thoughts

Because of today’s incredibly difficult recruiting environment, managers simply can’t afford to lose any new hires. No one wants to lose an offered candidate before or after they start, primarily because of what happened (or didn’t happen) during preboarding and onboarding. So, in my view, it makes sense to enhance your preboarding program so that it includes a memorable welcoming package.

When you run the metrics after it has been operational for a while, I guarantee that this practice will become both memorable to the new hire and widely “talked about” by others both inside and outside of your company.

Author’s Note 

This is the latest in his 25 continuous years of weekly articles on talent. Access those thousands of articles here.
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About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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