How Apple, Fab, And Warby Parker Welcome Employees

Here’s a funny first-day idea: Don’t alienate your employees. Better yet, get creative about rolling out the red carpet in a way that makes sense for your company’s culture.

How Apple, Fab, And Warby Parker Welcome Employees

Let’s admit it: Everybody gets the first day jitters, even Sheryl Sandberg. While you might not eliminate every sense of OH MY GOD I’M LOST for your new hires, it’s certainly possible to make their integration a little smoother.


That takes thinking ahead on the onboarding process–and the best companies have some unique ideas about how to do it best. Writing for the New York Times, flower-delivery startup H. Bloom exec Bryan Burkhart pulls together a few of the companies that do it the best. Some of our favorites:

  • Eyewear disrupters Warby Parker fills in new hires on the company’s origin myth with a suitably hipster-chic welcome gift that includes a copy of Dharma Bums (the company’s name comes from Kerouac characters), a notebook (for notes), glasses for you and a friend (one and one, natch), and some pretzels, the founders’ favorite snack.
  • Fab’s welcome wagon includes an anxiety-diffusing Day 1 agenda in the Inbox, plus a sticker-and-button-filled gift bag.
  • When you come in for your first day at Birchbox, you’ll find a computer, a candy bowl, and a handmade welcome flag inviting people to “come say hi.”
  • If you’re starting at ZocDoc, you and a few other newbies will lunch with the executive team. That way you have a connection with the company and feel less terrified of senior management.
  • And Apple? Burkhart block-quotes the memo that Apple gives employees on their first day, and we can’t help but do the same; a paraphrase would impugn the prose. This is how Apple amps you up:

There’s work and there’s your life’s work.

The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end.

They want their work to add up to something.

Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else.
Welcome to Apple.

And if you don’t know what your life’s work is, you might want to study yourself.

Getting New Employees Off to a Good Start

Drake Baer covers leadership for Fast Company. You can follow him on Twitter.

[Image: Flickr user Judit Klein]

About the author

Drake Baer was a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covered work culture. He's the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation.