Onboarding Gifts.jpg

The Business Case for Employee Onboarding Gifts

A few months ago my girlfriend received an offer to join a global technical services company. Her role as a Technical Editor allows her to work remotely here on the East Coast, which was a great selling point for her (and selfishly, for me too). During her onboarding, she received all of the obligatory legal-sized envelopes full of paperwork and documents outlining benefits and such. Along with those, she also received something that caught her completely off-guard…in a good way. While she was getting acquainted with her new MacBook Pro® (so jealous), an email arrived from her Human Resources department with directions for accessing the company's internal web store. The message also included a purchase code for a free “New Hire Package.” Seriously?

Of course, she immediately clicked on the link to investigate this mysterious “New Hire Package." When she read out loud the list of items included in the kit, I honestly couldn't believe it. I read the screen with my own eyes and it was exactly as she said: a backpack, softshell jacket, Contigo® water bottle, journal book, pens, Post-its®, and more--all featuring her company's logo. Neither of us had ever received anything approaching that level when starting a new job. I remember thinking to myself, "That's a good amount of money to spend on someone you’ve only met a handful of times."

That said, there has to be a logical reason why a company would make this kind of investment, right? Here are some observations I’ve made in the two months since the kit arrived:

1. My girlfriend tells EVERYONE about it. By everyone, I mean friends, former coworkers, people in her network….all of them prospective job applicants. We've all read the research on the importance of company culture to today's workforce. Imagine having a personal spokesperson telling everyone about the unique way they were welcomed to your company. In this lean job market, wouldn't you want to be known throughout professional circles as a desirable employer?

2. Many of the people she is telling are also potential customers. All things being equal, as a customer, wouldn’t you rather do business with a company full of happy employees? A visibly proud workforce signals passion, stability, and longevity. Those are all attributes that could tip the scale when a potential customer is evaluating their options, or raise switching barriers against competitors trying to pry your customers away.

3. She actually uses these items every day. Many of the pieces are from trendy name brands, and all are stylish and high-quality. Every time she travels, she wears her jacket and carries her backpack. Whenever she goes to the gym, she brings her water bottle. Over the life of these items, thousands of people will see her company’s logo. How much is this brand exposure worth to your company?

4. Finally, and most importantly, my girlfriend feels valued. She told me she’s never felt so welcomed or so quickly integrated into a company before. That has made her a motivated, contributing team member right out of the starting gate.

What I've learned from this experience is that a new-hire gift can represent more than just a kind gesture. By creating a compelling package full of useful, premium logoed items, what was once viewed as an expense can now be considered an investment with returns on many fronts. In addition, if there was ever a time to spend a little extra on "principal," this is it. While it may be tempting to go cheap, a new hire package that includes a reasonable number of items made by trendy brands will maximize your ROI. It certainly did for my girlfriend's company.