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5 tips to make your employee onboarding gifts stand out

There’s no denying that giving someone a gift—especially an unexpected one—is a sure way to make them feel valued and appreciated. And creating an organizational culture that delivers those sentiments helps retain employees and foster brand advocacy. One way to demonstrate to employees they are valued and appreciated is to start at the beginning when new hires are introduced to the organization. Offering a gift to new hires sends a strong, lasting message: “Welcome, we’re so glad you’re here!” And including a welcome gift in the onboarding process ensures everyone across departments and divisions receives the same thoughtful introduction to the organization.

Onboarding gifts can take on all shapes and sizes to accommodate both in-office and remote employees. They are a great opportunity to extend organizational excitement and avert new-hire jitters. Consider these five ways to create welcome gifts that stand out and wow employees.

1. Incorporate your company’s strategic priorities

What’s important to your company? Does your organization have company values that you’d like to introduce to new employees?

For example, let’s say that one of your company’s priorities is to increase community service and philanthropic giving. You could present an onboarding gift that includes a certificate for a paid day off to participate in a volunteer opportunity—or a digital gift card for remote employees to donate to a special cause. You could even include a list of community organizations your company supports. Enhance a relevant gift with messaging about why volunteer work is important to the organization and how the employee can contribute to a common goal. Gifts that help new employees feel like they are part of a larger organizational culture is important to their overall success in the workplace.

2. Set the stage for a great first day

There’s nothing quite like the night before starting a new job. Emotions can run the gamut from a few butterflies in the stomach to full-fledged anxiety. Take the edge off and deliver a preemptive gift package that’s filled with essentials to help a new employee navigate their first day.

Mailing a gift is a great option for both in-person and remote hires. Here’s where you could incorporate more traditional items like a branded coffee mug and a package of coffee or tea with some unexpected additions. Poll your colleagues to see what items or quirks they associate with the company, then find gifts that reflect that input. If there’s a certain book or publication that is inspiring to the company, include a copy or a digital subscription. This is also a great opportunity to indulge your creative side and involve existing employees in the new hire onboarding process. You could even create an eye-catching map of the area around the office to highlight places to eat, grab a snack, take a midday break or unwind at the end of the day.

3. Personalize when possible

When possible, personalize gifts to make employees feel even more welcome and valued. If your company has an employee recognition platform, send new employees a personalized e-card and welcome them with a celebratory post on the company recognition wall. For remote workplaces, get creative with digital gifts by awarding ‘welcome’ points that enable new hires to redeem a welcome gift from the company store.

Both in-office and remote employees may appreciate an engraved picture frame—a great way to spruce up their desk décor with a favorite photo. Other meaningful ideas include a handwritten note from the employee’s new boss or the company’s CEO, a monogrammed messenger bag or backpack—or business cards with a carrying case. You could also add an item that’s specific to the new employee’s position. If they’ll be traveling a lot, consider a monogrammed luggage tag or passport holder. You don’t need to present employees with an entirely personalized onboarding gift assortment, but including one or two customized items—whether mailed to them or waiting for them on their desk at the office—elevates the expression of appreciation.

4. Ignite the spark of your new brand ambassadors

Employees are some of your most effective and powerful brand ambassadors, so be sure to inspire them early. If your company sells a product or service, can you involve that in the onboarding gift?

According to Business Insider, Dropbox gives new employees free unlimited storage, while Airbnb offers new employees a $2,000 annual travel stipend. Perhaps your company works with clients, partners or vendors whose products and services could be of assistance when creating your onboarding gift package. Of course, no new employee is complete without company swag. Consider including apparel and accessories in the gift—or let them choose their own gift from your company store.

5. Packaging is a powerful first impression

Take time to create thoughtful gift packaging that wows the recipient and leaves a lasting impression—and use your branding for inspiration. However, don’t feel obligated to spend more money on packaging than the gifts themselves. If budget is swaying your decision to go the digital gift route, packaging still plays a vital role in creating excitement and ensuring your well-meaning intentions are conveyed.

Remember, the goal is to make your new employees feel welcome, engaged and enthusiastic about what’s ahead. Think about your own experience at your company and what sort of onboarding gifts best convey those feelings.

One more tip: Don’t stop the gift-giving once the onboarding process is over. Surprise and delight your employees with thoughtful, purposeful gifts—and not just during the holiday season. A strategic gift-giving program can add an important dimension to your company’s culture, unwrapping increased employee engagement that fuels your company’s long-term success and growth. Need help creating effective and impactful corporate gifting experiences? Let’s connect.