Many organizations will mistakenly wait until the new employee’s first day of work to start orientation and onboarding. In many cases, however, there will be a delay of days, weeks, or even months from receiving a job offer to when your new hire begins their new job.
Once the employment contract is signed, and before the new hire’s first day of work, you should send a welcome message to the new employee to express your excitement, and start preparing them for their first day and week of work.
This article will help you understand the ins and outs of writing a new employee welcome letter and how it contributes to a positive onboarding experience. We’ve also provided a sample welcome letter that you can use as a template to get started on creating your own.
Why is a welcome letter to a new employee important?
Sending a welcome letter to a new team member is a key part of any new hire checklist, and an important step in an effective onboarding process.
Research by Sapling shows that implementing a new hire onboarding process and structured orientation program is a critical part of an organization’s people and culture strategy. Effective onboarding can have a huge positive impact on employee retention, motivation, and productivity. It’s also an important part of creating feelings of belonging and inclusion.
A warm welcome letter can help build a strong foundational core for the rest of the team member’s entire onboarding experience. The letter should:
Build excitement and enthusiasm in advance of their first day of work;
Ease stress and anxiety about what they can expect in their first week;
Foster belonging and inclusion by making the employee feel like part of the team; and
Provide valuable insight into the business and the company culture.
Pro tip: It’s important to note that the welcome letter is not a replacement for phoning or video calling the new employee immediately after they’ve accepted the job offer.
Who’s responsible for creating and sending a welcome letter to a new employee?
An effective welcome message to a new employee should be sent by you, as the employee’s new manager.
Larger organizations may have a human resources team who can help create the welcome message. Regardless of who creates it, the key elements should be standardized in a template to ensure that all new employees receive consistent onboarding information. Human resources is often the best equipped to coordinate this.
Once you’ve developed a welcome letter template, you can then personalize the message and add your own personal touch to the template before sending it out.
Pro tip: In addition to your letter, consider having the founder or leader of your business also send the new employee a welcome message. The purpose of this message might focus more on explaining the company’s business, culture, values, vision, and mission.
How should you send a welcome message to a new employee?
Although this article frequently refers to a welcome “letter”, you can send the message to your new employee in a variety of different ways.
Email: sending a welcome email is the most effective delivery method. It allows the employee time to absorb the information and easily respond back with questions. You can also attach additional documents, such as human resource policies or an employee handbook, and include hyperlinks to additional onboarding resources.
Physical letter: in addition to an email, you may also choose to send the welcome message as a physical letter. In this case, make the letter part of a larger welcome package that gets priority couriered directly to the new employee’s home.
Video: a welcome video allows you to communicate more personally through your face and voice, but it may be harder for your new team member to process and absorb the onboarding information, and takes longer for you to produce.
What should you include in a welcome letter for a new employee?
Every great new employee welcome email starts with a warm welcome to the company.
Begin by thanking them for choosing to become part of the team, and express how excited you are for them to start. The welcome message is also an opportunity to continue educating your new team member about the business, the culture, and how they will contribute.
Your welcome email should also communicate practical onboarding information, such as:
A great welcome email might also include, either in the body of the letter itself or as an attachment to the email:
Team member information: provide an organization chart that includes individuals on your team. They can use this together with LinkedIn to familiarize themselves with their new colleagues in advance, and remember faces and names more quickly.
Employee handbook: send your employee handbook in advance to give them time to absorb the material at their own pace. Point out a few of the most relevant sections and key HR policies that will be most useful in their first week at work.
New hire paperwork: paperwork is a necessary, but often boring, part of onboarding, so encourage your new team member to complete as much as possible before their first day. This frees the two of you up to focus on more interesting things in their first week.
Pro tip: as you can see, the email could be long, depending on the information you include, so you might want to preface it with a warning to your new team member to take their time in going through it all.
Sample welcome message for a new employee
The welcome email template adopts a more casual style, with elements such as a conversational tone and style (e.g. using contractions like “it’s” vs “it is”); referring to the company as a “family”; and using words and punctuation to evoke feelings of excitement.
We’ve also provided a fully-formed welcome email using this, to give you an idea of what a finished product might look like.
What do you think?
Do you send a welcome letter or message to new employees? If so, who sends it, and what types of information are most critical to include?
Discuss your ideas in the People Managing People community forum (join the waitlist here!) or share your thoughts in the comments below.