Suzanne Lucas

Make New Hires Comfortable With a Welcome Package

New hires may be fabulous additions to your staff, but since they don’t even know where the bathrooms are, they need a lot of information on their first day. If you want your employees to be happy, there should be a great onboarding process. The Society For Human Resource Management found that at one organization, new employees who had a successful, organized and structured onboarding program were 69 percent more likely to stay at a job for at least three years.

Part of that program should be a new hires welcome page. Here are some things it should contain:

Summary Page With Dates

There are many things that are time sensitive, like when paperwork is due. Getting benefit information processed can be life and death for an employee, so make the date prominent in a cover page.

Other important dates to note are when the insurance becomes effective, what date to expect the first paycheck — if it’s paper or direct deposit — and when to have 401k selections done. Having this as a handy list will help your new employee prioritize all the paperwork.

Insurance Information

Even if they sign up online, there should be a paper summary with instructions on how to go about it, so that they have a reference point. It should also contain the phone number of the person who can help determine what’s best for their families.

Area Information

If the new hire relocated, include information that will help them learn the area. Dry cleaners, nearby restaurants, the Department of Motor Vehicles and anything else you think of will be relevant. If you have discounts with any of these businesses, include those as well. Employees love perks like that.

Parking Information

Are certain spots reserved for people? Are there visitor spots that aren’t marked as such? Are your employees expected to park at the back of the lot? Does the neighboring business get upset when your employees park too close to her office? Is on-street parking OK? There are often many unspoken parking rules, and they should be written out.

Company Holidays

Most businesses are closed for Christmas and Thanksgiving, but the other holidays can be up in the air. Whether they’re asking about Memorial Day, Labor Day, Good Friday or anything else, have the answers readily available. Hand out a list for the upcoming year well in advance.

Vacation Policies

Are employees expected to sign up on a calendar? Do they need to ask a manager first or just grab a day? Is it first come, first serve or is it based on tenure? Can employees use vacation before it’s accrued? Are vacation days, sick time and personal days all in one pot, or are they separate? Additionally, determine how many days they have.

Brief Bios

Many times when a new person starts, management sends out a picture and a brief biography of the new hire, so everyone gets to know them. But, you should do the same. Provide pictures and bios of the team she’ll be working with, which helps cut down that lost feeling new hires may experience.

These things may seem small, but putting them together make a huge difference for employee happiness. When there’s a well-organized onboarding process, employees and employers benefit. New employees know where they stand and what’s expected of them, which can make a new job smooth sailing.

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she interviewed and hired employees, managed the numbers and double-checked with the lawyers. Her writings have appeared in Inc. Magazine, CBS MoneyWatch, U.S. News, Readers Digest and other publications. She focuses on helping businesses nurture great employees and helping employees enjoy great careers.