What Should Your Onboarding Kit  Include (And Why Should You Offer One)?
Interviews / Opinions

What Should Your Onboarding Kit Include (And Why Should You Offer One)?

, Former Content Marketing Manager

It’s Day 1 at your new job. As you walk through the sliding door and towards the front desk to let them know you’ve arrived, you can’t keep the smile off your face. This is exactly the career opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Your new manager is the first person to welcome you, and they seem excited to see you. (Don’t underestimate the power of meeting your manager on your first day.) But then you’re introduced to the team, shown to your desk and handed your access card. And the excitement you were feeling turns into boredom and nervousness. You’re twiddling your thumbs and wondering why you don’t feel like part of the team.

Questions race through your head. Will you need to do training? Is there an induction kit for new employees that you still need to receive? Where will you go for lunch? You suddenly start to regret the three cups of coffee you had earlier and think, where is the bathroom? You’re too embarrassed to ask.

A lack of guidance and direction on the first few days of a new job can be frustrating and disheartening. Not exactly the best start to what should be a long and prosperous relationship. This is why onboarding new employees in a fun and informative way, starting with a new hire packet, is so important.

Why your onboarding kit for new employees matters

According to the SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Report, companies spend an average of $4,129 on each new hire, and it takes them 42 days to find the right fit. This means that every time an employee leaves, it’s a pretty big cost to replace them.

So, how do you ensure that employees stay loyal from the start? You create an onboarding kit for new employees that makes them feel comfortable in their working environment, positive about the company, part of the team and confident that they can perform their job from Day 1.

Kicking off your onboarding process with a new employee packet doesn’t just help new hires, either. The company also benefits from employees who become productive team players more quickly. And who wouldn’t want that? The question is, what should the contents of an onboarding kit include?

A complete list of onboarding kit essentials

The modern onboarding kit is much more than a bunch of forms and policies. Today, onboarding kits for new employees are practical, motivational and fun. Sure, they still include important information about the job and office. But they also include contents to help new hires understand the company culture, values, and strategic vision.

So, before they arrive at work, pop a welcome mail to new joiners to explain the company dress code, parking arrangements, directions, start time and who they should ask for at the front desk. Then, when they arrive, set them up with an onboarding kit that includes some or all of the following contents.

1. Practical documents about the physical workplace

There are a few basic facts about the workplace that new employees will want to know. For example, an office map helps new hires to find the bathrooms, cafeteria, safety exits, and key team members without having to feel like they’re bothering colleagues with too many questions.

Here are a few of the essential office facts to include in your onboarding kit:

  • Office map
  • Office opening and closing times
  • Parking options

2. Contracts and paperwork

Every new job has a little paperwork involved. It’s hard to avoid, but it’s easy to simplify. Using an online tool like BambooHR can make the process of completing forms and signing contracts quick and convenient. Of course, it saves a few trees, too!

Make sure to include these essential documents in your onboarding kit for new employees:

  • Copy of employment contract
  • Terms and conditions of employment
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Emergency contacts

3. Policies and guidelines

While this might not seem like the ‘fun’ content you were expecting, new employees need to be familiar with company policies and guidelines. If they don’t know the rules, they won’t know when they’re breaking them, either.

Most of the following information can be combined in an employee handbook, complete with a contents page that makes relevant information easy to find. Your employee handbook should include:

  • Office rules on dress code, working hours, use of cell phones and company resources, smoking and conduct
  • Human resource policies
  • Performance standards and expectations
  • Training and development expectations – don’t forget to introduce them to the company Learning Management System (LMS) or online resource library if you have these

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4. Management structure and team information

Before new employees can feel like part of the team, they need to understand where they fit into the management and team structure. They also need to know when, where and how they can communicate with their team members.

So, make sure to include this information in your onboarding kit for new employees:

  • A directory of employee profiles including names, contact details, and usernames on company messaging applications like Slack or IM
  • An organizational chart
  • Mentor information (if a mentor or buddy is assigned to new employees)
  • Local hotspots preferred by employees, like coffee shops, restaurants, and gyms

Onboarding kit for new employees: what should it include? - TalentLMS

5. Resources and tools

Almost every job requires a few key tools and resources. Make sure your new hires are set up with everything they need to be productive from Day 1. This could include any of the following:

  • Computer setup, including desktop, laptop, etc.
  • Stationery, like pens and notebooks
  • Job-related software; for example, MS Project for a new project manager
  • The company online onboarding training software that includes manuals, videos, and graphics to help new hires get familiar with the company and job

6. Logins and access

There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to work, but not being able to because of access issues. Help new employees to hit the ground running by giving them all the information they need to start working and learning.

This includes:

  • WiFi login information
  • URLs, usernames and passwords for the company email, LMS, project tracking applications, etc.
  • Office access items, like access cards or IDs, keys and parking cards

7. Company culture essentials

Next, let’s get to the inspirational content of your onboarding kit for new employees. The following contents will paint a picture of the company’s purpose:

  • Strategic documents explaining the company’s vision, mission and goals
  • A description and examples of the company culture and values, such as the latest company newsletter or videos of current employees describing what they enjoy about working at the company
  • Behavioral guidelines, like the company’s view on flexible work hours
  • Links to the company website, social media pages and blog
  • The company’s employee value proposition

8. Personalized welcome items

Finally, get creative with your onboarding kit by including personalized contents that make new employees feel like part of the team. There’s no one right list of what you should include. So, pick any of the contents below that would work well for your company:

  • An employee welcome letter – For a more personal touch, have this letter handwritten and signed by the employee’s new manager, team, or the CEO
  • A short questionnaire about their hobbies, interests, and the company values they relate most to. This shows new hires that you’re interested in learning more about them
  • An agenda for the first day and week on the new job, including onboarding training
  • Branded swag, like a coffee mug, t-shirt, etc. (because everyone likes gifts!)
  • A pack of their own business cards makes new hires feel like part of the team from Day 1
  • An industry-relevant or motivational book to inspire new employees, or a digital toolset on your onboarding LMS that includes inspirational articles, videos and manuals

Over to you

We hope that these ideas will inspire you to create your own new hire welcome kit. But remember, the best onboarding kit for new employees is different for each company. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with your own welcome kit ideas, and introduce your company in its own unique way.

For example, Ogilvy & Mather’s induction box is inspired by David Ogilvy’s eight habits of effective people. The company says: “These habits formed the ideology O&M was built on all those years ago and with one item representing each habit, the induction box makes these habits more tangible and playful for new staff”.

So, how about your company’s onboarding process? We’d love to hear what makes your new employee onboarding kit effective.

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Eleni Zoe - Former Content Marketing Manager

Eleni Zoe spends most of her day advocating for clear and easily readable content. She believes in paperback books and lifelong learning.

Eleni Zoe LinkedIn

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