The more accurate heading here might be “Welcome E-Mail”, or “Welcome Letter Attachment.” For in the 21st century, 99.9% of new hire welcomes are sent out to arriving employees electronically. Still, the principles of that welcome message remain the same today as they were in the 1960’s.
Reflecting the Environment
Many institutions such as colleges and universities turn the welcome letter into a multi-pronged affair.(1) Along with a basic official marking of the new employee’s start-date arrival and associated information such as upcoming meetings, there may also be welcome letters from one or two of the institution’s top officials. This adds pomp and circumstance to the welcome letter process, and befits education, government, health care, and other public policy realms.
Other welcome letters can be short and to-the-point.(2) A couple of paragraphs in length, these pro forma versions of the document simply note that there is enthusiasm and anticipation at the company with regards to a new hire’s arrival, and that everyone is looking forward to their start date. Such letters are the equivalent of a warm handshake, and along with first-day lunchroom conversation and other niceties, can really make the difference.
Part of a Bigger Packet
In today’s highly regulated and sanctioned workplaces, new hire welcome letters are often just the tip of the iceberg.(3) Along with the letter comes a whole packet of information, everything from an employee manual to blank grievance forms to in-the-news company items.
There can also be, depending on the workplace, other more functional elements to the pack such as forms soliciting Direct Deposit paycheck information and even waivers whereby new hires agree to random drug testing. In these cases, the welcome letter will be as much about reminding the recipient to read all enclosed materials as it is to be friendly.
(1) Bowling Green State University – New Employee Orientation Manual for Human Resources, Retrieved June 5, 2011 from http://www.bgsu.edu/downloads/execvp/file38231.pdf
(2) Indiana State University – A Supervisor’s Guide to the New Employee Welcome Program, Retrieved June 5, 2011 from http://www.indstate.edu/humres/docs/SprvsrGuideNewEmployeeWelcomeProgram1-11.pdf
(3) Scott & White Human Resources Department – New Hire Packet, Retrieved June 5, 2011 from http://careers.sw.org/docs/HR_New_Hire_Packet_May09.pdf