HR & Management

When it comes to staff welcome packs, these firms have rewritten the rule book

11 min read

09 February 2017

Former deputy editor

Staff welcome packs can feel like being read the riot act, so we’ve found the companies that have quite literally turned initiations on their head.

The classic staff welcome packs are often dull black and white binders that have little chance of being read by anyone outside of HR.

Why is it that companies insist on delivering boring corporate speak to new arrivals who join the teams with bland, unimaginative staff welcome packs?

Details of lunch breaks and disciplinary hearings can almost give off the impression the worker has returned to school.

With that in mind, we found some of the companies that have a more unique approach to greeting new recruits, sidestepping staff welcome packs for infinitely more inventive options.

23red – Challenge them

“At 23red we have developed a way of bringing new starters up to speed on the ways of the office, the industry, our approach and the company legends at the heart of our culture,” said Jane Asscher, CEO and founding partner at communications agency 23red.

In keeping with the creative nature of the business, 23red has developed something more captivating than what you’d usually find inside staff welcome packs.

Staff welcome packs 23red

Jelly beans act as a sweetener – see what I did there? – to get colleagues talking

She continued: “Issued with the ‘Probationers’ Challenge’ on their first day, new starters have the three months of their probationary period to find and memorise the answers to 50 questions about 23red.

“Whilst most answers can be coaxed from colleagues with the welcome jar of jelly beans, the story behind company mascot Ron the Rooster can only be prized from the lips of the creative director by offering him a drink at the bar.”

Sounds like a great way to break ice and make firm friendships among colleagues to us.

But why does the MD on the next page introduce the business to staff by talking about a man being nailed to a tree?

Hunterlodge Advertising – Get out of this world (and provide coffee)

“And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realised what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place.

“This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.”

If you’re confused, it’s a snippet from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

But why on Earth – or on any other planet – would a business choose to include that ahead of regular staff welcome packs?

“This is how the Hunterlodge welcome pack starts – giving our new starters an insight into our quirky agency,” said Rob Hunter, MD, Hunterlodge Advertising.

Staff welcome packs HunterLodge

Vouchers to the Costa next door are included as part of the welcome

“It includes two booklets the first is the staff welcome booklet which includes a gift card to the Costa coffee located next door. We like to make sure our new starters feel comfortable and welcomed so the pack includes information about Rickmansworth and what our company is all about.”

Hunter did concede, however, that the other spot of paperwork they receive isn’t quite as enticing.

“The other booklet is our employee handbook which has all the important, but slightly boring information about health and safety, policies, etc,” he added.

“We’ve had great feedback from our new starters and also the IPA said it was one of the best submissions they have seen when we submitted them as part of our Gold re-accreditation application.”

Continuing our exploration of staff welcome packs on the next page, one company wants newbies to turn up to work wearing their free dicky bow tied to perfection.

Dobell – The employee’s new clothes

Formal menswear provider Dobell specialises in tuxedos and suits, so it likes to make sure that staff look dressed to impress – that much is clear when it comes to its staff welcome packs.

“We actually provide our starters-to-be with a welcome pack which we post out in a presentation box – and include some of our top selling accessories,” said Keith White, head of PR and SEO at Dobell.

“Everyone loves the excitement of receiving a package in the post, and we want our new recruits to experience the same as our customers do, when they order from us.”

That means goodies sent to warm up new workers include pocket square, cufflinks, cummerbund, tie, lapel pin and also self-tie bow tie.

Dobell Staff Welcome packs

Once they’ve settled in Dobell staff also receive a suit – one free of multi-coloured spots – to keep

“We point the employees in the direction of our how to guides, and see if they have mastered it by their first day. It makes a great ice breaker, a good laugh, and provides an insight into our top volume items,” White explained.

Another way to break the ice comes in the form of comedy clobber – as seen in the image at the top of the page.

He continued: “On their first day, we also give them one of our novelty suit jackets to wear, which is quite a funny sight, to see someone wearing one of these in the office, slightly sheepish, on their first day – all in good fun and obviously not compulsory.”

It gets better though, as the horror of the novelty number is balanced out by providing recruits with a full (non-lairy) suit to keep.

“We think it has a tremendous impact on the enthusiasm the new starters have for their role, even before their first day, and they arrive with an elevated product and logistical knowledge also. And it’s amazing how many of our staff are now experts in tying a bow tie!” added White.

Last, but certainly not least, we find out on the next page how staff welcome packs that include filling the bellies of new starters alongside show and tell helps out the next business.

CreativeRace – Food, glorious food

Marketing agency CreativeRace, which boasts Leeds and London offices, does provide staff welcome packs.

But while they include the company history, mission and values, it also has the all-important stuff that newbies will want to know too – benefits.

“The welcome pack contains three pages full of the benefits that the new starter will receive, along with tree diagrams – including photographs – of all staff members, so the new starter can get to know the team structures, and faces within each team, before their start date,” detailed CreativeRace marketing manager Eve Eastwood.

The recruits receive an induction calendar on day one, which allows them to meet with different departments to gain an understanding of what everyone does.

However, Eastwood noted the the most unique element part of the induction – the welcome lunch.

CreativeRace Staff welcome packs

Employees are required to brush off their show and tell skills

“Once a group of new starters have commenced employment, the company chairman (Gordon Bethell) and CEO (Gareth Healey) host a lunch, where each person attends with a ‘visual CV’,” she said.

“CreativeRace give each new starter a visual CV template before the lunch, which includes statements such as ‘this is me’. ‘my jobs before CreativeRace’, ‘who in life do you most admire’, ‘what makes you laugh’, ‘what are your ambitions’ etc.

“Each person must illustrate the questions/statements with images or photographs, words aren’t allowed! Each person – including the chairman and CEO – take turns to present their own visual CV.

“This allows the new staff members and heads of company to get to know each other on a more personal level, away from the busy office environment.”

So there you have it. Staff welcome packs needn’t be mundane. Just how does your company’s compare to the ones we found?

Whatever it’s like, make sure you keep it clear of these corporate buzzwords.