Hiring isn’t easy these days.
Currently, 72 percent of employers are having a hard time finding skilled candidates. It’s eating up valuable business time. Thirty-six working days is the average time it takes a company to hire talent.
As an employer, after spending over a month searching for that ideal candidate, there’s really nothing worse than having that person not work out. Yet, employee retention is another struggle.
That’s why having a solid onboarding strategy is so important. It’s even been proven to improve retention rates up to 82 percent. One of the best ways to kickstart an employee onboarding program? New employee swag boxes. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about new employee swag boxes, including:
- The purpose of a new employee swag box
- Benefits of a new employee swag box
- How to build your own new employee swag box
- Examples of effective and creative new employee swag boxes
So how do you send a new employee swag box? Let’s begin.
What is a new employee swag box?
A new employee swag box can be defined as a welcome package that can either be sent to the home or delivered to a new employee on their first day on the job. It’s a welcome gift that introduces your company culture to your new team member while sets them up for success in their new role. The best new employee swag boxes will tell the story of your company in an unassuming way. It puts your new employee first and shows the value and appreciation you have for their skills.
It’s not just about the swag, either. An effective new employee swag box combines personalization and custom design with strategically chosen products to make a new employee feel valued before they even start their position.
Why send a new employee swag box?
For a lot of different reasons. First and foremost, it’s about making your new employee feel welcome. During the first few months of any new job, employees are still feeling out whether they belong. This is often called belonging uncertainty. When employees feel like they don’t belong, that’s when workplace confidence and productivity can take a hit. A thoughtfully planned out new employee swag box can help employees feel like they belong right away.
Another benefit? New employee swag boxes are a strategic way to share your company culture with your new team member. By carefully tying together your box around messaging that supports your brand’s mission, you’ll showcase to your new employees what your brand values at heart. You can also include products that align with these values.
Take a look at this example from the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Notice how the box’s main focus is a book. They require all their new employees to read this book which dives into the history of their organization and the values the company was founded on. It’s a great way to immerse new employees into their company culture while still sharing your appreciation for their talent.
And we’d be missing a big benefit of new employee swag boxes if we didn’t mention the effect it has on your brand itself. Yes, these gifts should remain focused on your employees - because that’s the purpose of them. But an added benefit is that your new employees will act as brand ambassadors for your company.
When you send a box of branded items, such as custom t-shirts, personalized water bottles, and imprinted journals, employees will likely use these items outside the office. Giving this kind of new gear to your team members creates brand promoters and ambassadors out of your employees. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone.
How to Build a New Employee Swag Box
Now that we know what a new employee swag box is and why it’s so important for your onboarding strategy, let’s talk about building your own. The key here is to build a box that not only represents who you are as a company but adequately targets the new team members you're hiring. This means thinking carefully about your new employee swag box and coming up with a strategy that can easily be personalized as you go along.
Here are some tips to help you build and send targeted and strategic new employee swag boxes:
1. Plan Ahead
First, you have to plan ahead. Ideally, you want your new employee swag box to arrive before your employee starts. That ensures that they receive it at their home before their first day, or you have it waiting for them at the office.
We recommend planning at least seven to eight weeks ahead of time. This gives you time to choose the contents of your new employee swag box and plan the design of the box itself. Of course, this factors in the process of drop shipping boxes. So if you are choosing to hand out your swag boxes at the office you might have a bit more leeway on time. But by delivering your boxes to your employees’ homes, you create a more personalized experience that really can’t be recreated.
Either way, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time. This will ensure you don’t miss out on any opportunities to start your new employees off on the right foot. The more time you budget, the better.
2. Choose Your Box Design
With enough time built into your schedule, it’s now time to choose your box design. This is a very important part of the swag box process. Well thought-out packaging shows that you took the extra effort to make your new employee swag feel like a gift. Plus, it offers a great deal of potential for personalization. Here you can customize your box to showcase your employees’ name, their new role at the company, or even some of their interests (if you know them). You can also tie these traits together with your own brand to show them they truly belong on your team.
So what kind of elements should your box design include? Consider the following:
- Company brand
- Mission statement
- Photos that showcase company culture (i.e.: employee photos around the office, photos of team building activities or retreats, company conferences, or awards)
- Inside office jokes
- Personalized welcome letter for each employee
- Employees name
Once you have the concept down for your box design, there are a few other logistical things to think about when designing it. Our team of brand experts can help walk you through the design process and create the perfect new employee swag box for your organization.
3. Pick Your Swag
Alright, this is the real fun part. Obviously, the products are a big part of your new employee swag box. And there’s a lot of different directions you can go. It’s important to remember that the products you choose shouldn’t just be random swag. The items you include should tell a story that gets your new employee excited about joining your company.
When compiling your box, we suggest including at least one product from three different categories: informative, useful, and fun. Here are some ideas:
Make your box informative. Include onboarding materials like:
- A personal letter from the CEO of the company
- A book that describes your company’s mission
- Fun letters from the employees on your team
- Building map and office key
- Onboarding checklist
Make your box useful. Include items that will be handy for the office:
Make your box fun. Each box should also include some fun, branded swag items:
Whatever products you end up choosing, make sure you make a statement about company culture. That’s what new employee swag boxes are all about anyways. Consider branding these products with more than just a company logo. Include a thoughtful message or a clever copy that goes beyond the logo and reinforces your brand’s mission.
Examples of Creative New Employee Swag Boxes
We love to get inspiration from the company’s that do things right. So this guide wouldn’t be complete without some creative new employee swag box examples. Take a look at how each company does things a little differently yet accomplishes the goal of making employees feel welcome while telling their company story.
Property management company, Boxer Property, created this welcome kit for all new onboarded employees. It includes information about the company and resources to help new employees survive their first day. Included is a notecard with tips for the first on the job, a list of work perks, plus what’s called a “hi-ya buddy”, a designated team member to show them the ropes around the office. The box also includes branded swag such as an insulated tumbler, polo shirt, notebook journal, and pen.
The software company, SalesForce, gives out personalized new employee swag boxes to team members. Notice how several items include the employee’s name. This makes the gift seem genuine and not cookie cutter. They also include several different books that establish company culture and set new employees up for success in their new position. And, of course, branded swag. Several different pens, pins, t-shirts, and headphones are included.
The marketing agency, Element Three, really takes things to the next level. Their new employee swag box is designed to be a game itself. The box has hidden messages, funny quotes, and jargon implemented on the packaging. It sends each new employee on a “mission”, kind of like a scavenger hunt. Inside are items to help them along the way like a branded t-shirt, water bottle, office key and keychain, onboarding checklist, and a personalized message from the company’s president.
Use New Employee Swag Boxes to Improve Company Culture
Remember, the whole point of your new employee swag box is to get your new team members excited about coming to work for you. A welcome package shouldn’t be company-focused but employee-focused. Think about things they would want to know about your company to make their work experience easier and more comfortable.
Don’t use the new employee swag box as a tool to brag. It’s a way to humanize who you are and improve your company culture. When new employees can hit the ground running, feeling accepted and included on day one, you’ll create a much happier and healthier workplace environment, and retention rates will follow.