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Does Your Company Have a Welcome Wagon?

Have you ever started a new job and felt like the company wasn't expecting you? After multiple rounds of interviews, site visits, and phone calls, you arrive on your first day eager to make a good first impression and your coworkers, and even your manager, are too busy working on their own projects to say much more than hello. Granted, in some cases they might be under a tight deadline or left scrambling to get your email account set up and make sure your office or cube has been cleaned, but that's a small consolation when, as a brand spanking new employee, you're hoping to feel welcomed.

I still remember the first day of my first full-time job out of college working in a management trainee program. I showed up excited and ready to conquer the world. My manager, on the other hand, had no idea I was even starting that day—talk about starting off on the wrong foot.

Here's the thing—new employee welcome wagons usually don't require a lot of time or money.

Yoshitomo Nara - Covered Wagon - Blum & PoeIn one of the best examples of an effective onboarding/welcome wagon process Humana Inc., provider of health and supplemental benefit plans, rolled out the red carpet for a new employee before she even arrived on site for her first day on the job. After accepting the position, she received a welcome package in the mail that contained, among other things, a thermal cup holder, chocolate with an embossed Humana logo, and a shot glass. And although I'm not exactly sure what message the shot glass sends about their corporate culture, the package made at least one employee feel good about her decision to join the company—well worth what I'm guessing was around a $20 total investment.

If mailing packages isn't your thing, other ideas for creating your very own new-employee welcome wagon on a shoe-string budget include pulling together a quick welcome sign or banner that includes hand written notes and greetings from coworkers, a small gift bag or coffee mug, or treating new employees to lunch on their first official day on the job. Again, all things that would take no more than 20 minutes to create and would cost less than $10-$15, but that could potentially make a very positive and lasting impression on new employees.

Think back to the first day of every job you've ever held. How many times did you truly feel welcomed (or unwelcomed)? And what are you going to do about it?

Shawn Graham helps job seekers and entrepreneurs work better. Find Shawn at, on Twitter @ShawnGraham or via email at shawn(at)