10 Ways to “Wow” your New Hires & Increase Employee Engagement


There is plenty of research that shows that first impressions count when it comes to joining a new organisation. Aberdeen found that 60 percent of new employees make a decision about whether to stay with their new employer within the first month.
Unfortunately many employers are not creating a great first impression when they onboard their new employees. Their focus is typically on new-hire productivity, or compliance, or efficiency. And while these are all important, we believe the most important goal when onboarding is engaging your new employee!
So we are going to share with you ideas and suggestions for putting a smile on the dial of your new hire. We’ll talk a lot about “Wowing them” when they join your company. Here’s the fascinating thing – If you start thinking about how to wow your new employee, it becomes contagious. You can see and feel the payback almost immediately in culture, morale and discretionary effort. It’s just so much more enjoyable working in an environment where people are engaged.
Not all of the suggestions are suitable for your environment or culture, but you are bound to find some suggestions here that will work for you and your new employees. Finally, the ROI on Wow-ing your new hires is amazing, because the cost of many of these suggestions are negligible.
So let’s get started so you can plan your campaign to Wow your new employees.

Wow #1: Their Favourite 3pm Munchie

Lauren from oOhMedia loves Hommus and Carrots and was surprised to get them on day one.

During the onboarding process, we recommend getting to know your new employee by having them do a short survey during their pre-boarding period (see Wow # 10 – Understand your New Hire). One of the questions we recommend to our customers is the following;

What’s your favourite 3pm munchie?

It’s an innocuous little question, but if you take the answer to this question and get the hiring manager to go and purchase the new employee’s favourite munchie just prior to their start date and then place it on the new hire’s desk for day one, you will wow them in a really important way.
Without saying a word, you are sending a strong message to them;

  • I listened to what you had to say and took the time to read about your interests.
  • I want to make you feel welcome with a little welcome present.

Try it for yourself and watch the face of your new employee light up when you show them their desk on day one.

Wow #2: Pimp Their Desk

At enboarder we have stared a tradition of “pimping the desk” of our new hires. Here’s how it works.
The last employee hired is responsible for paying it forward. They get $20 to decorate the desk of our newest hire. What started as a couple of hand-drawn signs and a balloon or two has now turned into a full-blown themed event as each new employee tried to out-do the pimping of their own desk as they pay it forward.
This is a great example of healthy competition when it comes to Wow-ing the new hire and making them feel welcome, and what a wonderful form of competition!

Wow #3: Breakfast with the Team

Breakfast with the team
Carlie (left) runs our Customer Service Function and meets some of her colleagues for Breakfast.

Your new employees will be naturally curious about who they’ll be working with. So why wait until day one? Organising a team event such as a breakfast catch up is a great way to break the ice and introduce your new hire to the team before their first day. It will remove a lot of the anxiety and first day nerves because they will already have a sense for who they will be working with.
It’s also great for your existing team, because it is a nice excuse to get the team together outside of the office.
Wow #4 Hearing from The Boss
When a new hire is recruited for a role, it’s a pretty intense period. It’s also very engaging. The new hire is selling themselves to your company. Your company is wooing the new employee. There’re offers, negotiations etc. and finally a deal is struck and signed. It’s all pretty exciting, but then you don’t want to have your new employee think that you have moved on and forgotten about them.
The pre-start period can often be four weeks or longer. It is highly engaging for an employee to hear from their new manager a couple of times during this pre-start period. Perhaps a congratulations call or text when they have signed their offer paperwork, or a check-in call a week out from their first day to see how they are travelling and whether they have any questions about their first day.
Enboarder makes this incredibly easy with our communications module which automatically reminds managers of events like this and makes it a snap for them to communicate with their new employees.

Wow #5 – A Gift Sent to the House

A gift to the house
Create an amazing impression by sending your new employee and his/her family a personalised gift .

If you really want to create an amazing impression not just on your new employee, but on their partner as well. Sending a small gift to the new employee’s house will certainly delight them. Ideally something that will appeal to the partner as well as the new employee. A bottle of champagne, or a small gift hamper will send a loud message that you value not just your new employee, but their partner as well.

Wow # 6 – Help them with a Fast Start

This may not be suitable for all companies and all roles, but this is a great “win-win” tactic. When a new employee has signed their offer letter, they are highly engaged. If they are a “go getter” and want to hit the ground running, then they will really appreciate anything that you can share with them to get them up to speed as fast as possible. Sending some information about your products and services, or examples of previous customer proposals will let them get up to speed in a relaxed manner rather than subjecting them to information overload during their first week.

Wow #7 Streamline the Paperwork

Anytime you join a new company, you can’t escape the paperwork. Policies and procedures, new starter forms, tax forms etc. While you might not be able to escape it, there are definitely things that you can do that won’t turn a new hire off. Here’re a few ideas;
Keep it personal – As part of my research I went through several onboarding processes, and it was clear that for some organisations the paperwork was done by administrators that were far removed from the candidate experience. I received packs of documents that were addressed to “Dear employee” – they didn’t even address me by name.

Why not add a gift to the paperwork if you are sending out hard copy?

Why not add a gift to the paperwork if you are sending out hard copy?Go electronic – There are some great document solutions out there that really streamline the paperwork. They automatically populate duplicated information across forms and allow digital signatures to make the process efficient and quick.
A small gift? – I have received numerous physical onboarding packs in the mail, and there is always something exciting about receiving a parcel or physical package. However this can quickly turn to disappointment when you open it and it is filled with just policies, procedures and forms. Perhaps you can delight your new employee with a small gift (like a pen or notepad with company branding).
If you are shipping physical paperwork to a new employee, be conscious that this is all part of your employment brand. New employees are forming opinions of their new employer with every touch point, so think about how you can wow them.

Wow #8 – Day One Boss Time

Nothing will show a new hire that you care about them more than giving them time on their first day. If you really want to wow them, consider making time to take them to lunch on their first day.
The enboarder event planner module can prompt managers to hold time in their calendar when a new employee’s start date is known.

Wow #9 Turn Onboarding into a Team Sport

Credit for this one goes to the folks at Lever. I read about something they do to onboard all of their new hires. You can read the full story here. Whenever somebody signs an offer letter to join the company, the entire company celebrates the new employee joining by getting together and creating a “work of art” that lets the new employee know that they are seriously excited about having them join the team.
They do this by getting everybody together and choreographing a little animated GIF work of art. You need to see these for yourself to see how creative they get.
The beauty of this little exercise is that it really involves the entire team or company in the welcoming process.
[bctt tweet=”How to ‘wow’ your new hires and leave a deep positive impression” username=”ATCevent”]

Wow #10 – Understand Your New Hire

This is the most important of the tactics to wow your new hire – Find out who they really are and what they are passionate about when they are not at work.
Its part of human nature – everybody wants to connect with others. This is especially true of Generation Y (Millennials). Generally they don’t want work life balance, they don’t want to put up a partition between whom they are at work, and who they are when they are outside the workplace. They want work-life integration. They want to bring themselves to their place of work and they want their peers and managers to know the “real them”.
One way of achieving this is to explain it to the new employee before they turn up to day one. Give them the opportunity of sharing information about who they really are, and the passions and talents that they can bring with them to their new workplace.
To make them feel comfortable doing this, it really helps if their manager or the executives of the company communicate to the new employee why they are asking them to share information about themselves. A sincere video, or examples of senior managers within the company sharing aspects of their passions and interests outside the work environment will help the new employee feel comfortable opening up to their new team.

Wow # 11 – Bonus Wow – The Power of Measurement

Measurement can be used to drive behaviours. One metric which is pretty powerful is eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score). Most people are familiar with the single question Net Promoter Score which asks customers a single question:
Power of measurement 2
A score of six or lower makes you a detractor, a seven or eight is neutral, and a nine or 10 makes you a proponent of the Company or the product.
By subtracting detractors and adding proponents, you get a benchmark score which can range between -100 (all detractors) to +100 (all proponents).
Employee Net Promoter Score is based on the NPS process with a slight change to the question. eNPS asks employees:

“How likely are you to refer <COMPANY> as an employer to friends and associates”?

By asking new employees this question at regular intervals, you achieve two outcomes.
You can actually quantify the engagement of new employees into your organisation and break this down department-by-department or manager-by-manager. This can create some wonderful competitiveness between managers and departments as they try to “out-wow” each other. What a wonderful form of competition.
If you ask this question regularly of new employees, for example day  one, week one, month one, month two, month three etc. You can start watching for dips in the eNPS scores of new employees. It might be that after a few months the honeymoon period wears off and reality hits in terms of hitting goals and targets. If you know when this occurs, then you can remind managers that their employees are approaching this “danger period” and may need some extra coaching or support to get them over the hump. This can have a significant impact on first year retention.


We hope you have enjoyed some of our tactics for “wowing” your new hires. The most important take away from this is that hopefully we have made you rethink the way onboarding is done in your organisation. Yes, we want onboarding to be productive and efficient, and we want to get our new hires productive as fast as possible. But the big prize is when you focus on engaging them during the onboarding process. Because higher employee engagement will pay long term rewards.

This article is sponsored by Enboarder.

ATC2016 Banner 650x177

Related articles

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up to our newsletter

Get a weekly digest on the latest in Talent Acquisition.

Deliver this goodness to my inbox!