How to write a welcome letter to a new employee
Congratulations. You’ve found the perfect new addition to your team. One who will help your company continue to consolidate – and grow – its business. You’ve set the start date, put the HR wheels in motion and let the existing team members know. Now comes another crucial part – sending out a welcome letter.
This is one of the most crucial pieces of communication in the whole induction process. It sets the tone for your new employee’s working life to come and plays a practical role in setting them up to hit the ground running.
With this in mind, it’s important to get it right. And there are two areas to cover off – one is personal, one is more practical.
The most important thing a welcome letter does is reinforce in the employee’s mind that you remain satisfied with the decision to offer them a job.
The value of this can’t be underestimated, as it will arrive in a period that is often characterised by some small measure of anxiety and concern about their ability to pull off the new role.
By reminding them you have faith, it will help to ensure they arrive on day one confident and excited about the challenges that lie ahead. Just make sure you say not only what you expect from them, but what you intend to give.
The other point to note is to make sure the letter is sent by someone they either know of, or will be working with. This could be the person who interviewed them, the head of human resources or the person who is going to be their direct supervisor.
Again, it just gives them a point of reference and contact for their early days.
Here’s a sample sentence to get this exact message across:
You can also go off topic with some information that will be welcomed, if not essential. This could be the availability of parking, the nearest public transport hub and an idea of what types of businesses and services are in the vicinity. This is especially important if they haven’t been to the office, as a suggestion to make sure they bring lunch since there are no cafes nearby will save them ending their first day able to think of nothing else but how hungry they are.
The welcome letter should also take the opportunity to cover off anything the employee needs to know in advance, or on their induction day.
First and foremost, tell them where to go when they arrive to start work. If they need to turn up at reception and ask for the head of HR, include those details. If they need to go to a certain department on a certain floor, give them directions and a name. The key is to give them a point of reference to avoid a situation where they appear at the front desk knowing nothing other than: “I’m supposed to be starting work here today.”
Along those lines, make sure you spell out their starting time, their finishing time, the dress code and anything else that’s pertinent. The latter one, especially, often goes overlooked, but is absolutely essential as nothing can make a new employee feel more conspicuous than turning up without a tie when every single other person is wearing one.
Also use the letter to outline how their first day on the job will unfold. If they’ve had a job before they’ll probably have some idea what to expect in terms of induction. However, a timetable that identifies timeslots, participants and the general nature of the chat can help them prepare, especially as it may give them the chance to prepare any questions they may have.If you can, it’s also worth outlining the second day – and perhaps just roughly touching on the entire week – so they have an idea both of how many days of induction they will face before diving into the real job, and where they’ll be expected to be by the end of their first week of employment.
From a human resources perspective, a welcome letter provides the chance to make a start on the paperwork that’s traditionally involved with an induction. This could range from something simple, such as filling in a full employee contact sheet with details including next of kin, to something more detailed, such as an employee handbook – with policies ranging from sexual harassment to bullying – for them to review and acknowledge. It may help to shave a little off the time they’re expected to spend with their nose in paper and files on day one. Just make sure you include a contact within the department so they have someone to raise any issues with, rather than waiting until they arrive.
In short, a welcome letter makes true the idea that first impressions count. So take the time to craft it perfectly. It’s well worth the effort to ensure your new employee arrives on day one well briefed, passionate and raring to go.