When it comes to recruitment, innovative companies like Google, Facebook and IBM have raised the bar for businesses all over the world. There is now more pressure than ever before — and higher expectations on both sides of the equation — to recruit and retain motivated, talented, and friendly employees. As such, the return on investment in a competitive on-boarding process makes forking out the cash on a quality welcome package worth it. And it’s not necessarily a one-time thing: it’s been reported that companies have better long-term success when their welcome packages are structured over a period of time.
So let’s take some inspiration from those who have blazed new trails in employee on-boarding. Here are eight ways you can help new hires hit the ground running and inspire them to excel from the word “go”.
1. A welcoming welcome letter and orientation packet
This might seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but the language of a welcome letter sets the tone for a new hire’s understanding of the company’s culture. The welcome letter and orientation packet should not only be informative: it should also convey a sense of approachability and encourage newbies to ask any questions that may be on their minds.
2. A fun handbook
Although the ubiquitous employee handbook is necessary (because some individuals need to be reminded of company policies time and again), a supplemental fun handbook is a great item to give new hires. As an addendum to the existing tome of company policy — which may be dry and formal by necessity — providing a flip book, perhaps of some of the most amusing company moments, relays to the new hire the excitement you feel about bringing them on board.
3. Customized items
Everyone loves to be recognized and know they are appreciated. Show appreciation to a new hire by giving them a unique gift specifically tailored to them. After all, you already know a bit about them since you just put them through a potentially rigorous hiring process. It might seem a small thing to welcome someone with a bag or a beach towel, complete with their name and favorite company sports team logo, but such an effort won’t go unnoticed.
4. Motivation to succeed
Any employee worth their salt is on a continuous mission to improve their performance and increase their contributions to the company. Personal development work encourages this pursuit. There are dozens of well-known motivational speakers who offer books and audio files online. These products can be a helpful aid to anyone, but giving them away to promote a positive, proactive attitude in the workplace can have an immense impact on the overall tenor of an organization.
5. Revamped company calendars
A company desk calendar is often thought of as a standard orientation item, much like pens or notepads. However, customizing the calendar to show the work anniversary dates, milestones, and birthdays (not ages!) of your new hire’s fellow employees can be an effective way of promoting bonding and a team mentality. No one likes to be the one guy in the whole office who didn’t get the receptionist a card on their birthday.
6. Celebrations with welcome GIFs
Getting your company together — or perhaps only the new hire’s team — to create a personalized welcome GIF is a fun experience for everyone. Not only does it foster creativity: it’s also a proactive way to get team members involved with the on-boarding process.
7. Sharing the news
As part of a team, employees are more invested and have a greater commitment to seeing their team succeed and reach their goals. In order to help introduce the new hire, send out a short bio and photo. Consider incentivizing your employees to approach the new hire by paying for lunches or offering a gift card to the employee who wins a knowledge game about the new hire.
8. Providing a mentor
Assigning a peer mentor to guide a new hire in assimilating themselves into the company is a huge boon to both the company and the new employee. Mistakes are less likely to occur when tutelage is available. Also, the new employee’s learning curve may shorten if he or she has someone to approach for questions.
Boring day-to-day scheduling and policy information is a given for any new hire, but you can try to limit administrative paperwork and bring in a few creative surprises. It makes your company culture more open, approachable and innovative. It will also confirm to your new hire that they made the right choice to join!
This story originally appeared on Quill.com.