Welcoming new talent to an organization can be exciting — they bring fresh perspectives, new ideas, and unique skill sets. But before they can start contributing, you have to complete certain administrative tasks.
To help make their transition go smoothly — and to make a good impression on them — it’s important to have all necessary paperwork and any helpful company resource documents ready for new employees the moment they arrive. Keep reading to learn the must-have items that are commonly included in a new hire packet.
Include these 7 items in your new hire packet
Official offer letter
First-day instructions and agenda
One of the most important pieces of a new hire packet is the official offer letter, which details the new hire’s job title, compensation details (salary, bonus, incentives, etc.), start date, and manager’s name. The new employee can use the offer letter to confirm the terms of their employment are accurate.
“Once the employee signs the letter, they formally acknowledge what’s expected of them while on the job,” says Tana M. Session, organizational development strategist and consultant.
If the employee has signed the offer letter prior to their first day, a copy of the signed letter can be included in the new hire packet.
An effective welcome letter shares things like your company’s mission, vision, core values, and current goals to help the employee get to know the organization.
Natalie Morgan, director of HR at CareerPlug, says that even if you touched on these elements during the hiring process, you should reiterate and expand upon them to help tie the new hire’s role to that purpose. She says, “Your welcome letter should be more than a list; it should tell the story of your company culture.”
Session also recommends including any relevant instructions and an expected first-day agenda in the new hire packet, including
- Worksite location
- Key contacts’ names
- Expected time of arrival
- Parking instructions (if applicable)
- Building access instructions
“By providing first-day instructions, the new hire will be more comfortable about what to expect on their first day, instead of feeling lost,” she explains. This shows the company has made a concerted effort to ensure a smooth onboarding process, and it helps the employee feel they’re already considered a valued member of the team.
Including a benefits packet provides new employees with the information they need to make the best enrollment choices for themselves and their families. You should encourage the new hire to take the packet home so they don’t feel pressured to make a quick selection they may regret later.
“Be sure to let them know they can ask questions before submitting [their selections] to HR. You want your new hire to feel as comfortable as possible,” says Session.
Keven Steinberg, labor and employment lawyer, shares another important item for the new hire packet: the employee handbook. “It’s the bible of workplaces,” he says, “outlining all the important policies and procedures a new employee should know.”
The employee handbook benefits both the employer and employee: It clearly lays out what the organization expects from each of them and provides equally clear direction on how best to address HR issues when they come up.
Steinberg also recommends including a confidentiality agreement. When employees leave your organization — whether voluntarily or involuntarily — they might take valuable proprietary information with them. “Client lists, pricing information, and financial records are just a few examples of intellectual property,” Steinberg says.
Of course, employees need a certain amount of company information to perform their job duties, but you need a legal instrument to dissuade workers from using that information in a way that negatively impacts your organization once they’re no longer an employee.
Steinberg advises that every company require employees to sign a comprehensive confidentiality agreement at the time of hiring. “This agreement should define, in a broad manner, all actual, probable, and possible confidential and proprietary information related to your company,” he explains. “This definition is critical — not only for the employee’s edification, but also for potential enforcement of the agreement in the future.”
Company lingo cheat sheet
Every organization has lingo and verbiage that is either specific to the company or the industry. While veteran employees may know that language by heart, new hires will likely be confused about certain references or phrases.
Morgan says the new hire packet provides the perfect opportunity to set up new employees for communication success from the beginning. She suggests that employers should “include a list of acronyms and other jargon on a cheat sheet. New hires will then easily be able to navigate conversations with their peers.”