4 Fun Ways to Welcome a New Employee to Your Organization

4 Fun Ways to Welcome a New Employee to Your Organization

How do you make a new employee feel welcome on their first day?

Although the entire employee onboarding process is important, first impressions can set the stage for how a new employee will view their new workplace not just initially, but in the future. After all, a first impression is hard to shake. 

Consequently, it is extremely imperative to make sure that any new employee at your organization has a positive experience on their first day of work.

So, how do you do this?

If you’re looking for some ideas about how to welcome your next employee, this blog post is for you.

Here are four fun tactics that we use at COACT Associates that we’ve found to be successful in welcoming new members to our team and building a culture of growth.

1) Have a designated person who greets your new employees and shows them around your workplace.

Starting a new job is nerve-wracking for everyone. A surprisingly easy – yet effective – way to assuage the first-day jitters is to have a specific employee or team who is in charge of meeting and greeting your new employees and showing them the ropes.

For instance, every time a new employee starts working at COACT, one of our team members will meet them at their desk, introduce themselves, and then give them a brief orientation of where everything is and how things work.

This helps new employees to feel more comfortable and welcome from right off the bat.

2) Arrange opportunities for your new employee to meet with other employees at your organization (maybe even everyone if your company is small enough).

When Liz Tapyrik, our manager of organizational development, was redesigning our new employee onboarding and orientation process a few years ago, she decided to incorporate a new element at the suggestion of our president and founder, Mark Frasco: arranging times for every new employee to meet with the majority of the COACT staff one-on-one for thirty-minute, pre-scheduled meet-and-greets.

These are informal ones – and deliberately so.

“I decided to make them informal because I felt it was important for people to feel comfortable and let their personality show through so the new hires could really get to know the team they’d be working with.”

Elizabeth Tapyrik, Manager of Organizational Development, COACT Associates

What does a typical meet-and-greet look like? Whatever the employees want to it be. But in general, a new employee will meet with one of their new coworkers and have a relaxed, friendly conversation about who they are, where they’re from, and what they do.

The benefits of these meet-and-greets are many. New employees meet their team members and learn more than surface-level things like their names, position titles, and responsibilities. This also helps to foster a more welcoming culture, builds a sense of camaraderie, and can help to really break the ice.

3) Have new employees meet with a respected organizational leader.

Gone are the days when most companies’ presidents and CEOs were mysterious, enigmatic figures you’d only glimpse once in a blue moon: People to be revered and viewed from afar, who never deigned to spend time with the common folk that made up the bottom of their top-down organizational structure.

I think it’s safe to say that most modern Western business cultures have shifted to become more egalitarian and less top-heavy – less Theory X and more Theory Y, if you will. Successful leaders no longer horde power and wield it mightily, but share responsibility and empower their employees.

Company leaders do more than just determine the future of the company; they also determine a company’s culture. Research has shown that for any culture to change, its leadership must be committed to it. If nothing changes at the leadership level, nothing will change in the company’s overall culture.

I point this out to convey how monumental is the influence that any organization’s leadership team has on a culture. As such, the impression that a leader gives to any new employees is a major part of the fabric of the opinion they develop about their new workplace. 

This is why COACT does something I’ve never seen at any other place I’ve worked. Every new employee meets with our president, Mark, for another informal interview. This breaks down the amorphous (or sometimes actual) barriers between our leaders and our new employees and makes everyone feel as if they’re a valued member of our team (which they are).

Obviously, it’s not realistic to expect that large organizations will be able to have new employees meet with the CEOs. But you don’t have to introduce your new employees to the uppermost member of your leadership team. They can meet with other organizational leaders instead, like operations managers, general managers, or team leaders, and have similar results.

4) Give your new employees a welcome kit or a unique item that epitomizes your organizational culture.

All new COACT employees are given your usual standard set of COACT-branded paraphernalia when they start – with a twist.

Every desk comes equipped with a Nerf gun. These come in handy when our team needs to burn some stress or answer the age-old debate of drones vs. Nerf guns:

Of course, we know that Nerf guns are not conducive to every organizational culture.  The point is to give your employees something that makes them feel welcome, represents your brand, and aligns with your specific culture.

But there’s more: New employees also walk in to discover their caricature on one of our walls.

Photo by Mallory Rao

This is actually something that we recently implemented starting this past January and was the brainchild of our vice president, Jennifer Nietz. “I saw the caricatures used at a restaurant,” Jennifer said. “I think it is a fun way to display our staff, and it’s front and center as someone walks into the building.”

Here’s mine. Pretty accurate, wouldn’t you say?

These caricatures are playful, of course, but also serve a more important purpose than you might think. As part of our office layout, these reflect the core elements of our business and tangibly show all of our employees that they’re part of the team.

How cool is it to walk into a business on your first day of work and see your face on the wall?

Now, caricatures may not be your “thing,” but this is just one fun example of something you can do to welcome new employees to your organization.

A third example is something we just started back in May. Previously, all new employees were welcomed with a funky dragon that would sit on their desk until someone new started. This dragon was bequeathed with a fun accessory by each new employee.

After five years of accessories, though, our office dragon was worse for wear, so it was time for a change.

During one of our Monday meetings, our company broke into groups and brainstormed new ways we could welcome new employees. We then all voted, and the ultimate winning idea was for each employee to be given a Pop! Vinyl figure of a Disney character that they thought represented them.

A staring contest between the Cheshire Cat (a.k.a. Austin Taylor) and Yoda (a.k.a. Christian Pokrywyka) – Photo by Christian Pokrywka

“I really strive to break down the barriers that exist when someone comes into a new environment, especially one that is very close. I want people to get to know others quickly and wanted something each person could identify with, as well as something every employee can keep on their desk to think about and remind them of the characteristics that make them special.”

Jennifer Nietz, Vice President, COACT Associates

Again, Pop! Vinyl figures (and Disney characters) may not be right for your organization. But we hope that you take some of these ideas as inspiration when you are thinking of ways to welcome new employees to your organization.

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