Startups and small businesses invest their time and money into recruiting the best people for their business yet they neglect the most important pieces after the contract is signed, onboarding. A welcome email is more than a simple “welcome to our company”, it’s the start of transitioning a candidate into an employee and preparing them for their new position.

Most importantly, a welcome email makes them feel confident in choosing to work for your startup or small business instead of another company. Whether you’re a startup hiring your first person or a small business hiring your 12th, a welcome email is an important piece to kick off the onboarding process and start integrating a new employee into the company’s culture. 

A welcome email is a great way to make a new hire feel a part of the team. The unfortunate reality is only 12% of employees feel like their company does a great job onboarding new hires. This means over 85% of employees have had poor onboarding experiences. The result of a poor onboarding experience is increased turnover with 17% happening within the first 90 days and 50% of turnover is within the first 18 months. The cost of losing a single hire can cost a small business or startup six to nine months of that person’s salary at least. Most often, businesses spend much more depending on the position.

In a candidate-driven market, startups and small businesses can’t afford to lose out on good people. This is why it’s crucial they have a solid onboarding strategy to keep their new hires engaged and confident in their decision of choosing to accept the offer. Most companies become hands-off after an offer letter is signed without realizing that candidates can renege anytime. 

Onboarding is a series of firsts that sets the tone of how their experience will be once they start. If a new hire feels forgotten about or neglected before their first day, they’re more likely going to second guess their decision to move forward with joining. Startups and small businesses can prevent this from happening by crafting a welcome email that makes them feel excited for their first day.

Here are the elements, in no particular order, of a welcome email that is sure to win over your new hire and make them feel confident in joining your startup or small business.

Confirming First Day Arrival Details

Kick off the email by confirming their first day, what time they should arrive and who they should ask or who will greet them upon their arrival. Remind them of a dress code, even if it’s casual and there isn’t one.

Planning An Event To Get To Know Your New Hire

It’s strongly recommended to put aside some budget to take a new hire to lunch on their first day. The idea behind this is to show the new hire you value the relationship and want to get to know them. This is typically an informal outing where you get to know them as a person and they can get to know you. This does not need to be strictly focused on business. If your budget allows, you can order in pizza and beverages for the company and have lunch together. 

If lunch isn’t stated, new hires are left unsure if they should arrange lunch by themselves, bring lunch or if one will be provided. This creates a poor first impression if there’s a lack of communication around this. Especially if they’ve expected to have lunch with their manager or team and instead see their team going to lunch together but without them. I’ve seen situations like this play out in companies and it almost always resulted in the new hire leaving the company shortly after.

Creating First Day Expectations

Creating expectations around a new hires’ first day gives them a guideline of what their first day will look like. It helps take away the anxiety associated with starting at a new company. Make sure to let them know how excited you and the team are for them to start and give them confidence that everything will run smoothly for them. Nothing is worse than starting at a new company and them not taking the time to prepare the equipment or systems. Or worse, not even letting anyone else know that you’ll be joining. It shows they’re not valued and that’s the last thing a startup or small business wants to do.

Let them know there are documents attached to the email for them to fill out and send back or bring on their first day. To start the relationship-building process, include a fun “Getting To Know You” email with questions about their background, interests and any fun facts they may want to share. Ask for, but don’t make mandatory, a picture to be included so it can be sent to the team/company.

Establishing An Onboarding Partner

Assigning an onboarding partner is an effective way to train a new worker. Onboarding partners are tenured employees who are high performers and can teach someone new how to be successful in their new position. Not only do new hires benefit from the knowledge they gain from their onboarding partner, but they’re also guaranteed a new friend to help make their transition into the new company easier and more welcoming. 

The email itself doesn’t have to be lengthy. Below is a sample of what a welcome email might look like. Feel free to customize to fit the voice, values and requirements of your startup or small business.

Email subject line: Welcome to [company name], Anna!

Dear Anna,

We cannot express how excited we are for you to join our team on December 12th. We are all eagerly looking forward to your first day and doing what we can to make you successful in your new role. Your desk and computer are already set up and I wanted to send you some details of what you can expect on your first day.

Please arrive at our 3rd Street, Allentown, PA office no later than 9:30 am. I should be there to greet you, if not, you can ask for me by name and anyone will be happy to find me. We’ll kick off your first day with a tour of the office where you’ll meet the team before we dive into some onboarding. Your onboarding will be spread out throughout the week so you can relax and ease into things. We understand how overwhelming it can be to try to remember everything on your first day and we want to alleviate that overwhelm for you.

At 12pm, I scheduled a team lunch for us at Blue Restaurant. Feel free to take a look at the menu and let me know if you have food restrictions. I’m happy to adjust the place if necessary. After lunch, you’ll meet with your new onboarding partner, Peter Jones. Peter is a tenured XYZ and he’s excited to show you the ropes and act as a mentor. The first week you’ll be doing a lot of shadowing as well as working with Peter and I, to help bring you up to speed until you’re comfortable. 

Feel free to reach out with any questions. We look forward to seeing you Monday!

Best,

[Your Name]

[Your Signature]

To create an impactful experience for everyone, the manager should send out a new hire announcement to the team with details of their position as well as the start date and a bit about the new person starting. I’ve found that including a “getting to know you” document in the welcome email to the new hire and including some fun facts that you pass along to the team is a great way for current employees to find a common bond or talking point with the new employee. 

If their start date is further in the future, it’s essential to follow up with them multiple times until they start. This helps keep them engaged and the excitement high. Creating an onboarding strategy for your small business or startup goes beyond just a welcome email. According to SHRM, a successful onboarding program lasts up to 12 months.

I understand the impact small businesses face when they lose good people.

Are you struggling to keep the people you hire for the long-term? You invested all this time, money and energy into finding and hiring them, the last thing you need is to repeat the process over and lose more money. I help my clients create effective onboarding strategies to increase retention, productivity and engagement. Let’s schedule a call and talk more about how we can improve yours.