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New hire welcome kits

The new hire welcome kit is an essential component to welcome both Nooglers and transferring Googlers to my team. The kit is designed to help new hires feel like they’re part of the team, that they’re ready to do great work, and that we have their back. Let’s walk through what’s in the kit and why I include each item.

Handwritten welcome note

The most important part of your welcome kit is the welcome! Write a handwritten note your your new team member letting them know that you’re excited to have them joining, what you’re looking for them to bring to the team (set expectations!), and what new and exciting work is coming up. This note can come from you, their manager, from the new hire’s buddy, or can be signed by the entire team. As with everything on this list: you already have a job, so do what’s easiest for you!

Stationery

The stationery component of the welcome kit is where costs can quickly get out of hand, so align this with your budget! At the high end, Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks are lovely, but speedy. On the low end, Muji A5 notebooks are just $4.00 each and work well for my team. If you’re going for an all-Muji kit, my team likes the Muji gel pens and Muji offers cute post-its, too. Pro-tip: if you have the option, get dot-grid notebooks.

Small swag

At Google we celebrate projects and people with custom stickers, which cost ~$60 for 100 stickers. Stickers are size-free swag, so you don’t have to worry about running out of XL’s (or t-shirts that don’t even come in extra small). Small swag has strong symbolic power, so be careful about how it can be used to include or exclude people. Learn more about effective swag from Cliff Nass in his book The Man Who Lied to His Laptop.

The monogram mug

If it fits your culture, add a monogram mug to your kit. This means that your office has a kitchen or a place where your new hire can conveniently wash and store their mug (not a bathroom). Our office is fortunate to have a barista bar with storage for employee mugs, so having a personalized mug works well for us.

Face mask or sleep mask

Include a small kindness in your welcome kit. While I’d love to get chocolate in a welcome kit, I know that I have team members with a variety of allergies and dietary needs. Instead of worrying about what people eat, I include a self-heating eye mask as a reminder that rest is important.

Personal plants

Thriving plants are a part of my team’s identity to the point that one of my team members made custom stickers featuring team plants. And now we include those in our welcome kits, too. Get the whole picture of team plants, including which plants I recommend for office life on the post Inclusive Swag: Team Plants.

What does all of this cost?

The current iteration of my new hire welcome kit has 8 items and costs me about $40 per person to put together. It’s not costless, but I’m well-compensated by Google, so I’m fine with buying these kits myself. But what if you don’t have that kind of cash? Or what if you’re welcome a lot of new team members all at one time?

No-cost and low-cost welcome kits

Does your team already have plants?

If you have $10, write a heartfelt welcome note and get your new starter a plant.

No plants on your team?

Start with that welcome note and then take a look at your office environment. What are the signals for belonging you already have? Consider how you can extend those to your new hire.

Need ideas for inclusive off-the-shelf and custom swag? Check out 41 ideas for inclusive swag.

By Abi Jones

Abi Jones is the UX Manager for Imaging & Diagnostics in Google Health. She leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers and designers focused on using artificial intelligence to assist in diagnosing cancer and preventing blindness.

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