Yay, you just hired someone!
Now it's time to make sure they stay by welcoming them in and giving them the keys to success in their new role.
Which means you need to kick-off employee onboarding. Onboarding emails are crucial for any business. Your business is all about the people who work there and your customers.
Onboarding new employees is one of most crucial tasks for founders, CEOs, managers, and HR. Getting new people started fast and making them feel welcomed is the goal and mark of a successful onboarding email sequence.
How to write onboarding emails (for employee onboarding)
Employee onboarding is critical. Why? Because research has shown that employees that feel valued and welcomed are more likely to stay and be more productive.
Company first impressions are also a real thing. You want to show the culture and professionalism of your company to new hires.
Retention and productivity are the two biggest challenges facing employees, so getting your onboarding strategy right from the start should be a priority for everyone running a business.
Thus onboarding is a critical part of the process. Over the course of the staff induction process, employers will send several emails in a sequence. Everyone must provide the same message of support and be inclusive and enthusiastic.
How can you do that? Well, it's not always easy to nail employee onboarding (and it's still a work in progress for us too), but in this guide, we’ll show you how any business can start to create their own onboarding email process.
Email onboarding best practices for employee onboarding
Let’s start with some basic onboarding email best practices. Here are 10 things everyone should know about creating effective onboarding emails.
- Start before day 1 and work out the flow of your emails
- Personalise onboarding emails wherever possible, but use templates when your company grows
- Don’t overwhelm people with information; keep things short and relevant, and save hard and important information for meetings
- Involve HR experts in creating your emails
- Use inclusive language that respects the diverse backgrounds and identities of your employees
- Give your emails some personality (nobody likes to think they’ve got a boring boss!)
- Don’t forget the formalities you’d expect in any email (subject line, greeting, sign-off)
- Don’t be afraid to include bullet points, bold text, and even emojis if it helps get your message across
- Always explain the next steps in the process
- Remember, some people will need a little extra help, so always signpost where they can get additional support and offer to answer questions in every email
Onboarding email format
Onboarding emails can be serious, funny, or formal. They can be a couple of lines long or pages and pages. What all good onboarding emails have in common is that they follow a familiar format.
All onboarding emails should contain the following:
- Captivating subject line
- Personalized greeting
- Body copy (that’s not boring)
- Information and CTA (next steps)
- Offer to answer questions
- Suitable sign-off
The core parts are a captivating subject line, body copy and email ending – so let’s look at those in greater detail below.
1. Subject line for onboarding email
You’re emailing a new starter, so unlike customer emails, we can be a bit more creative with our onboarding email subject lines. You’ll want to ensure the person receiving the email understands what it is (and why they should open it!).
Let’s take an email you would send on the first day for a new starter. You want to give them support but also make them smile. Here are some onboarding subject line examples:
- Yay! You’ve joined the team
- Nervous about your first day? We’re here for you
- This email contains ALL you need to know about (for now)
- Read this first (ignore everything else)
- This job will change your life – here’s why
Or, if you want to be a little more formal:
- Welcome on your first day
- A message from our CEO on your first day
2. Body for onboarding email
We provide some example onboarding emails below where we show you how it’s done, but the basic structure of any onboarding email includes:
- What is the email about
- What the person needs to do
- Where they can go for more information and help
- What happens next
Here’s an example of an email you might send on the first day that follows the format outlined above.
This is a fairly informal email, and it’s up to you, and your company’s culture, how far you want to go.
3. How to end an onboarding email
In a sales or marketing email, the end always includes a call-to-action (CTA) – and your onboarding emails should too. Always outline the next steps for the employee and make it easy and actionable.
Whether you want to collect feedback, book a meeting, or invite the employee to an event, be clear with your CTAs.
As well as the formal process of arranging meetings or providing feedback, always give details on who employees can speak with if they need some information, advice or support.
Employee onboarding sequence example
The email onboarding process is just that, a process. We’re talking about a regular flow of emails from employer to employee. We call this the onboarding email flow, and once it starts, it should run like clockwork.
Welcoming a new employee is always exciting, but it can quickly get confusing for both parties if communication is not clear. That’s why fine-tuning your onboarding email flow will make a big difference in helping your new hires get up to speed.
The standard onboarding sequence consists of a few important messages:
- Welcome/pre-onboarding email
- After first meeting
- Thank you email
- Follow-up email
1. Welcome or pre-onboarding email
Your first email correspondence to an employee may be before they even start preparing for their first day with you.
When creating your welcome/pre-onboarding emails, you’ll want to cover quite a few things quickly:
- Say hi and provide a warm and personalised welcome
- Give them a brief overview of their new team
- Set out the onboarding plan (don’t overwhelm them with details, it’s much easier to go over things in a meeting)
- Set out the following steps – do you want them to do any reading or watching before they arrive?
- Provide some dates and get a meeting in the diary!
2. After the first meeting
The first day is out of the way, and your introductory meeting went amazingly well. Your follow-up email should acknowledge the progress you’ve made and sketch out a road map to ensure they become positive and productive team members.
Your post-meeting email message should include:
- (Another) warm welcome!
- Brief review of everything you covered, including answers to any questions you may have been asked and where to find more information
- A checklist to ensure the employee has everything they need (login credentials, phone, laptop, a branded mug, directions to the toilet, list of lunch spots nearby etc.)
- Start-up instructions for your software, storage and social media (if they need it).
- Introductions and contact info for people they need to meet
3. Thank you, email
You’re (almost) at the end, so it’s important to thank the person and provide a handover to the manager. They can take it from here!
Your thank you onboarding email should contain:
- A thank you (obviously!)
- If you’re happy your job is done, a complete handover to the employee’s manager
- A final chance to ask any questions and provide any answers
You’ll want to personalise this thank you email to each audience, but don’t get bogged down in the details and forget the basics.
4. Follow-up email
Your responsibility to your staff doesn’t end when you’ve handed over information to their manager. It’s critical to stay in touch with employees and get feedback on how they’re doing, as well as how well their onboarding went (for you to improve).
As more and more of us work flexibly or entirely remotely, your duties to protect employees’ mental health are more important than ever – so factor it into your onboarding plans.
- Start with a general check-in
- Ask how they’re doing (and provide a mechanism for them to respond)
- If you’re using a survey tool, give the link
- Always ask for feedback on how you can improve the onboarding process!
6 employee onboarding email templates
We’ve provided some information on the onboarding process and best practice tips; now it’s time to get into new employee onboarding email templates! (We know this is what you were waiting for).
In this collection, we provide some sample onboarding emails to new employees. These cover everything you need to welcome new hires on their first day. These samples are suitable for those in your office and virtual and remote onboarding.
1. Onboarding welcome email template
This onboarding welcome email template is packed full of personality, but look closely, and we cover all the basics. You’ll see we break up the text with bullet points and bold text to make it easier for anyone to access the information they need. Here’s a sample onboarding welcome email to a new employee.
2. Pre-onboarding email template
Pre-onboarding is the stage before your new starter starts. It sounds complicated, but it’s the period between when they quit their old job and start working with you.
You can call it an onboarding invitation or pre-onboarding email – they both do the same thing. Here’s our sample pre-onboarding email template.
3. Onboarding meeting email
Meetings are essential to the onboarding process, so onboarding meeting emails are some of the most common messages.
You can use this as a virtual onboarding email; just tell the person how you want to meet them (and ensure you provide all details so you’re not sitting in front of a black screen).
4. Thank you email to HR after onboarding
HR colleagues, we salute you! This thank you email to HR after onboarding is an internal email that you’ll send to the engine room of the organisation. So here’s a kind thank you email to HR after onboarding.
5. Thank you email for onboarding
We’re flipping the script here, but if you’ve been through the onboarding process, make sure to say thanks and give feedback! To do that, you can use this sample email to thank your manager for onboarding.
6. Follow-up email for the onboarding process
As we’ve explained above, your onboarding follow-up email is a critical part of the process for you (the employer) and the employee. It ensures they have everything you need and can help you improve your operations.
So get ready for our follow-up email for onboarding.
How to respond to onboarding email
If you’ve received an onboarding email, you’re probably wondering how you should respond. Do you reply? Of course, you do; it would be rude not to.
When you respond, you can clarify that you’ve understood everything. Repeating some of the crucial info is not a bad idea either.
It also sends a strong signal to anyone that you’re serious about the process. Here’s an excellent onboarding email response.
That's a wrap! Let us know how you do employee onboarding and send us your best tips and learnings.
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