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What Goes Into a Great New Hire Packet?

Onboarding new hires is your chance to make a great first impression on the people you will be working with for the foreseeable future. Creating a new hire packet that takes care of the basics of onboarding and includes a few extras for fun is a positive way to show new employees how well the company they’ve started at is organized and how much they’re valued as new teammates.

Ideally, the new hire packet should be a single compact package that includes all the necessary employee new hire forms, some company- and position-specific information and a few personalized welcome-aboard items that get everything off on the right foot from the first day. Here’s what you need to know about creating a great new employee packet that hits all the important points.

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The usual new hire packet

New employee packets can differ in a few ways, but most of the items you include are pretty standard across jobs and companies. Here’s a list of the most common items in most companies’ packets:

Welcome letter: This is a personalized welcome letter written by the company’s owner, CEO, hiring manager or the employee’s new team. It says a lot about your company’s culture and can help a new employee feel at ease and appreciated on their first day.

Employee information form: This form can be as simple or as detailed as you like, but it should at least include spaces for the new hire’s name, date of birth and contact information.

Emergency contact form: The contact form ensures that you know who to contact in case there’s an emergency that affects the new hire at work. These forms typically include a space for the name and contact information of at least two emergency contacts, and they also usually include spaces for preferred doctors or hospitals.

Payroll forms: Payroll forms can include direct deposit forms, tax forms and information about the new employee’s compensation structure.

Benefits information:Try to include information about the benefits package the new hire will receive or be eligible for. This information can include each plan’s summary of benefits, information about the employee’s share of cost and the employee benefits selection forms.

Employee handbook: The employee handbook should include information about your company’s processes, procedures, rules and expectations. Ideally, your employees should know where to look in the employee handbook for answers to questions they may have about the company or their position, so spend some time reviewing it with them during the onboarding process.

Company directory: A company directory should include the name, phone number and extension, email address and office location of each employee. You may also consider including a company organization chart that shows the hierarchy of colleagues the new hire will need to know.

Office map: Include a map of the office that clearly labels where each department is located and where the new hire can find specific areas such as meeting rooms, the bathroom and the break room. This helps new hires feel more comfortable navigating their way around a new workplace. You might also want to consider including a map of local hot spots, such as nearby restaurants they can order lunch from.

Confidentiality and noncompete agreements: If your company uses confidentiality or noncompete agreements that the new employee needs to agree to and sign, these forms should be included in the new hire packet.

Required uniforms or supplies:You should also include any required uniforms or supplies the employee will need, such as parking permits, office keys and employee badges.

Related: New Employee Forms

Three surprising things to include in a new hire packet

It doesn’t have to be all business when you’re putting together a new hire packet. In addition to including the standard business forms, you might think about what you would like to receive in a welcome packet if you were just starting out at the company. Here are a few interesting things you can add to a new hire packet to make it feel more personal and welcoming:

1. Fun facts about the company

A lot of companies have a quirky side that makes them unique. Many others have been in operation long enough to have a very interesting history. Some have executives who enjoy extreme ironing or other unusual hobbies. These are great factoids to include in a fun facts sheet you can slip into the new hire packet. This is an engaging, reader-friendly way to introduce key information about your company to new hires.

If you’re stuck for facts to include in this item, go over what you know about your company’s history and try to imagine what you would have found most interesting or funny as a new hire. If your company was founded before the invention of the doorknob, that can be a fun fact to think about as a new hire. At the same time, it helps to convey how established your company has become and how much of a legacy it has built up over the years.

When in doubt about the appropriateness of a fun fact, either talk it over with other managers or leave it out. It may be academically interesting that Richard Nixon was your company’s first full-time lawyer in 1946 or that the business once set a record for product liability settlements in the 1960s, but these factoids are probably not something you’d like to dwell on with a new hire on the first day.

2. Company branded welcome gifts

Company swag is another positive inclusion in your new employee packets. Branded merchandise can come in any shape or size, and many suppliers can make it quickly and at a reasonable cost. There’s no practical limit to the amount, variety or creativity of the gear you include.

Items that are commonly branded and shared with new employees include:

  • Hats
  • T-shirts
  • Mouse pads
  • Hot and cold beverage containers
  • Business cards
  • Notebooks and stationery
  • Bumper stickers
  • Key fobs
  • Phone or tablet cases

Including these items in your welcome packet serves a dual purpose. First, it makes a friendly impression on your new team member. Second, branded merchandise helps put your company logo and message in as many places as possible. As a welcoming gesture for a new hire, this is a creative way to welcome someone aboard. As a marketing strategy, it’s effective at building an in-house sense of loyalty and teamwork.

3. Personality surveys and questionnaires

Your company might already use personality inventories as part of the hiring and selection process, but questionnaires can be fun to include in your new hire packets as well. People tend to enjoy basic personality tests, but because these are for enjoyment rather than business, feel free to experiment with novelty quizzes. Personality inventories that work out what kind of tree you would be or which character you are from The Wizard of Oz are a lighthearted approach to welcoming a new employee to your company.

If you’ve hired a wave of new employees, consider having them fill out and exchange their personality tests. This can help them get to know each other, bond in their new environment and unwind a little in what can be very intimidating new circumstances.

Related:New Hire Onboarding Checklist

FAQs about new hire packets

Managers who are not in the habit of assembling packets for new employees may have questions about what they should include in one. Here are some of the most common and frequently asked questions about new hire packets:

What should a new hire packet include?

You can make a new hire packet as simple or complex as you like. While many companies stick to the basic approach of necessary employment forms and temporary ID cards, others go all out with welcome letters, fun quizzes or information sheets and branded company swag.

What forms do new employees have to fill out?

In the United States, all new hires are expected to establish their legal right to work, which may include verification of age and citizenship. Citizenship questions are usually included on the I-9 form, or they may be answered through the online E-Verify system for employment eligibility verification. Tax documents include the federal IRS Form W-4, or W-9 for a contractor, as well as state and occasionally local tax forms. If your company offers direct deposit, think about including that form in the packet as well. If your company has a union, new hires are typically also expected to fill out a membership application for that at the time of hire.

What does a new hire packet do for morale?

New hire packets can do more than just get incoming employees’ paperwork in order. By including some personalized greetings, company information and branded merchandise, you can encourage your new teammate to feel at home with the company and connect on a personal level with the other employees. This can benefit morale, which could boost overall productivity and performance.

When should employees be given their new hire packets?

Employers can provide new employees with their new hire packets either before they begin work or on their first day. If the hiring decision is made early on, some employers will give the new hire their packet at the end of the interview. Other employers have the new hire packet mailed to incoming employees before their first day on the job. Doing it this way gives the new employee time to finish the necessary onboarding forms and gather required documentation to bring with them on their first day of work.

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