Making a new hire feel welcome is obviously important.
But there’s a lot more to it than shaking the bosses hand, getting a keycard and sending them on their way.
To get a new hire up to speed with their place in the company, their role, and generally bring them more ‘into’ the company, we onboard them.
Many small firms, startups, and even large corporations (who have money to burn) go out of their way and create onboarding boxes.
And in this article, we’ll take a deeper look at:
- What exactly onboarding boxes are
- How they help newbies integrate
- How you can create your own onboarding boxes
The modern definition of onboarding
Onboarding new hires is beneficial for both parties. There’s no doubt that a proper process is critical to improving employee relations in 2021 and getting the relationship off on the right foot.
It’s a quick and efficient way to get new hires up to speed about the inner workings of their new employer and help them become productive faster.
69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
It’s also important to note that 23% of employees leave before their first anniversary, according to HBR.
On the social side, it also helps them fit into, or, at the very least, understand the company’s culture sooner rather than later. A small ‘welcome box’ of goodies was an excellent addition to help new hires feel welcome.
Simply put, good onboarding sets your company’s tone, fosters more excitement in your new hire, and, most importantly, breaks up the monotony of seemingly endless paperwork and procedures.
How onboarding has changed since lockdown
Onboarding took on an entirely new dimension at the start of 2020. With making companies being forced to work remote, there was no office to welcome new recruits to. There was no physical interaction on a new hire’s first day. No water cooler to stand around and no hallways to walk through and awkwardly smile at new colleagues.
Thanks to COVID, recruits were onboarded and welcomed into the company entirely remotely. Countless Zoom meetings with managers and stakeholders helped newbies find their feet.
One other thing that also changed was that small welcome box of goodies.
Rather than shaking hands with your new manager on their first day, it was this onboarding box that was the first, and arguably only, physical touchpoint between a company and their new hire.
The box that once contained a mug, pen and keychain, now had to have all the physical requirements for your new recruit not just to start their job but also to make them feel like they’re part of a company that only really exists on the other side of their screen.
Onboarding boxes 101
Even before the pandemic hit, companies that were remote-first or remote-friendly saw the value of well-planned onboarding boxes.
When lockdown came, onboarding boxes went from ‘an edgy way to make new hires feel unique’ to ‘the only physical interaction a new employee will have with their employer for the foreseeable future’.
Savvy HR managers quickly adapted and embraced this, with onboarding boxes during 100% remote work taking on a different role. Now, this kit was the only touchpoint between employee and employer. While most paperwork and onboarding could be done online, the onboarding box was the only ‘real thing about getting a new job.
Now, with people returning to work in the office, the onboarding box is set to become a staple of many forward-thinking HR teams.
Think back to the last time you bought something online. Even though you knew 100% what you were getting, there was still an element of excitement as you anticipated its delivery.
That same feeling of excitement is the one we feel when starting a new job. And it’s an onboarding box that brings those two emotions together in your new employee.
And when your latest online purchase or onboarding box arrives, it’s the physical packaging you interact with first.
Ecommerce companies know this – they know that their delivery packaging is the first physical touchpoint between their brand and their customer. Ecommerce entrepreneurs know that when customers receive their physical package, their senses are heightened, and they’re most impressionable.
That’s why the best brands spend the resources creating an unboxing experience involving customised packaging.
The feeling of ‘gosh, I got a lot more than I thought I would’ is a powerful one. Your company can use a well-designed onboarding box to evoke the same emotions in new hires.
Designing an onboarding box
Your company has more than likely spent many resources on creating a logo, brand book and other ways of visually identifying yourself.
These are the assets that take ideally to an onboarding box.
A little creative copywriting, combined with your logo and other creative assets, and you can create an onboarding box that builds excitement in your new hire. Ensure that you’re using eco-friendly packaging and you’ll be printed to leave the post possible impression on your new recruit.
Packaging suppliers like Packhelp make it easy for you to design a box online.
The company’s online software lets you drag and drop images and add premade patterns to help spark your creativity.
What to put in your boxes
So you’ve got the packaging sorted out, but what do you actually put into your onboarding box?
Some staples are always good – pens, notebooks, sticky notes and the like in a custom printed muslin bag make recipients think ‘gee this is more than I thought!’.
You’ll make an even better first impression if these products are branded.
Truth be told, almost anything can be a great addition to an onboarding box—clothing like sweaters, socks and beanies, or office decor like a small plant or laptop stand.
Consider your company culture, the product or service you create, and if it can be of value to your employees. If you’re selling a physical product, would your employees like to receive that product when they start?
What does the average employee of your company look like? What problems do they face daily? What can you give them to help them with this? What’s a small luxury that would improve their quality of life – both personally and professionally.
Taking that thought and using it to fill your onboarding box, you’ll show that you care about your employee’s quality of life and really take a big step in making them feel like they belong.
Examples of onboarding boxes
You’ve seen the how and why of onboarding kits, so let’s now take a look at some examples:
The UX team at Salesforce have a dedicated welcome package on the desk of new hires from the very get-go. UX designers, known to appreciate great design, are given a box and goodies that are just incredibly well designed.
Included in the kit is the typical pens and pencils, but also a mini Nerf gun, personalised stationery and a gift card for headphones. This is a huge incentive to Salesforce employees and really makes a killer first impression.
This Polish software house created a smaller type of onboarding box with all the necessities to welcome new developers.
A tshirt, keychain, markers and a coffee mug, as most developers run on caffeine. Folded up on the bottom was a t-shirt, but the most interesting addition – a dozen personalised business cards.
Packhelp upped their HR skills in late 2019. Not only did the HR team develop a new onboarding process involving onboarding boxes, but they also distributed said boxes to all existing employees.
Included in the box was a lanyard and keychain for the office keycard, a branded sweater and t-shirt, a laptop case and a notepad.
Justyna Kolakowska, Happiness Manager at Packhelp says “After our rebrand, I wanted our employees to get used to the new logo, new colours, graphic elements. Our onboarding boxes did exactly that.’
LiveChat goes above and beyond with its onboarding boxes.
Not only is it full of nice freebies, but there’s also a recipe for baking a cake for their team – a ‘rite of passage’ for all newbies.
Add the clever copywriting and eyecatching design, and this is an onboarding box that really makes the recipient feel welcome.
Onboarding boxes are a relatively cheap addition to a business trying to hire and retain talent that can make a difference to their business. It’s an internal marketing channel that can make both new and old talent feel welcome and part of something bigger.
Phil is a bearded Australian living and working in Poland. When he’s not taking Packhelp’s custom packaging to the world, he can be found trying not to kill his plants, pretending to be a stormtrooper, or hanging out with his dog.