Building an Onboarding Kit That Makes New Hires Feel Like MVPs

January 3, 2024

Discover the best picks for creating an unforgettable new employee onboarding kit!

Ready to make your employees feel like a valued part of your team— from their very first day? You’ve come to the right place! No matter what your budget or your company’s industry, we’ve got the customizable gifts that will make your new hires feel like they’re number one!

What is an employee onboarding kit?

Before we dive into creating that ultimate onboarding kit, you may be wondering what exactly these are and if your company could benefit from them. Quite simply, onboarding kits are a corporate gift given to new hires that help them get excited about their new journey. 

For the most impact, the best new hire welcome kits are customized to show off your company’s brand. Not only does this help keep your gift top of mind, but it also acts as a great marketing tool for your brand. This is especially true when you include custom products that  your new employees can use outside of the  office so your logo goes wherever they do. 

Shown: Custom Meat Graphic Tee, Custom Baseball Hat, Two-Tone Tote, and Museum of Mother Nature PopSockets, Mug, and  Sharpie Permanent Marker 

What is included in a new hire welcome kit?

Onboarding kits are usually given to employees on their first day of employment and contain useful information for getting started as well as fun branded swag to help them feel like part of the team. The items should be useful, sustainable, branded to your company and complement  your company’s mission or culture. In other words, just like a client gift, a new hire swag kit is a direct reflection of your business. Below  are some examples of what you can use to create your own new hire kit.  

1. Company handbook

2. Job description

3. Benefits documentation

4. Workspace equipment

5. Branded swag

Photo courtesy of Only NY; Shown: Only NY Crosstown Shoulder Pack + Headwear

Why branded merch matters

When people like a company, they are happy to represent it in the best way possible. That’s one of the reasons Affiliate Marketing is such a powerful tool! So when it comes to your employees, who better to shine a light on all of the amazing things your company does? With branded merchandise like apparel, tumblers and water bottles, backpacks and more, employees have useful merch that they can use on and off the clock. 

1. Increase employee engagement

As a gift to your new hire, branded merch shows that you are invested in their success and will make them eager to learn more about your products or service. 

2. Build a sense of community

Maybe it’s a branded polo that your teams like to wear for casual Fridays, events, or team building. Maybe it’s those office mugs that are seen on Zoom Calls or in and around the office. Whatever it is, help your new employees feel like a part of the team from day 1.  

3. Creates a positive first impression

Your new hire may not have even logged in or watched a training video, and yet they are being given something special before their first paycheck—which definitely makes a great first impression!

4. Boosts brand awareness and recognition

Whether you’re introducing your new team members on a conference call or in your staff meeting, having your newest employees look and feel the part helps better integrate them into your team. Not to mention, they can continue sporting your logo wherever they go.  

Photo courtesy of Only NY (Hoodie); Shown: Only NY Outline Hoodie, Mast Chocolate, Appointed Notebook, JBL Earbuds, Topo Designs Hat, Topo Designs x Mirr Bottle, and custom Hip Bag

Discover top picks for branded merch for every budget!

Get inspired with these top picks for employee onboarding kits for a range of budgets!

$30 Welcome Kit Box Idea‍

Featuring custom drinkware, a branded tee, and a tasty snack, these easy favorites come together effortlessly at around $30! Talk to your Genote rep for ideas on customization. 

1. Nalgene Water Bottle

With a wide mouth that’s perfect for adding ice, this is an easy choice for BPA-free drinkware that’s dishwasher-safe and ready for customization! 

Photo Courtesy of Comme Si; Shown: Nalgene Narrow Mouth Bottle

2. Custom Tee

Looking for custom apparel to show off your logo and delight your recipient? Talk to your Gemnote rep about all of the branding options available for creating an unforgettable tee.   

Photo Courtesy of Only NY

3. Colorful Sticker Pack

Let your new hire express their space with colorful logo stickers.

Photo Courtesy of A24 Films

$50 Welcome Kit Box Idea

More product faves that are great for branding! For welcome kit ideas your new hires are sure to love, you can’t go wrong with a long sleeve tee, tote, branded cap, PopSocket and stickers. 

4. Branded Cap

Dad cap, trucker hat, baseball hat, beanie… when it comes to keeping your logo top of mind, you can’t go wrong with branded headwear like this! Plus, when it comes to customization, you can add patches, labels, embroidery and more!

Shown: AS Colour Cap, from $16 

5. Phone Accessory

What’s the one item your employee probably can’t do without? A smart phone of course! Brand a Popsocket and you can be sure your employee will be taking your logo with them wherever they go. 

Shown: Popsocket, from $20 

6. Custom Tote

From running errands to commuting to and from work, a handy reusable tote offers convenience in easy-to-brand styles and colors.

Photo courtesy of Only NY

7. Long Sleeve Tee

When not just any tee will do, think long sleeves with a comfortable fit and customized design.

Photo courtesy of Only NY

8. Custom Branded Stickers

More stickers for marketing potential that really sticks around! Talk to your Gemnote rep about all of the many ways you can customize stickers.

Photo courtesy of Only NY

$70 Welcome Kit Box Idea

Swag favorites come together nicely in this branded grouping under $75.

9. Custom Water Bottle

Lightweight and compact, this water bottle offers a sleek transparent design offers for easy hydration on the go.

Shown: Kinto bottle, from $16.50

10. Branded Lunch Tote

Forget paper and plastic bag waste, give your new hire a sustainable bag to carry their lunches, snacks and drinks in—like this BPA-free one from Baggu that’s perfect for personalizing.  

Shown: Baggu Lunch Tote, from $34

11. Custom Backpack

What’s so great about a custom backpack like this one? It’s designed to protect your new hire’s laptop too.

‍Shown: Carhartt Backpack

12. Custom Tee

When it comes to a new employee onboarding kit, there’s a reason why tee shirts remain a staple. They continue to be a powerful swag item that’s completely customizable and easy to brand.

Photo courtesy of Only NY

$100 Welcome Kit Box Idea

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to great customizable products for your new hire swag kit. Case in point this grouping of office supplies, gear and apparel that come in around $100.  

13. Logo Hoodie

Hoodies, like tee shirts, can be customized in a plethora of ways, for an easy way to market your brand. 

Photo courtesy of Glossier

14. Branded Tote 

Tote bags are fun to add to a new hire swag kit since they are sharp for the workplace and weekends and are perfect for keeping all of the other items in your onboarding kit nice and safe. 

Shown: Baggu Tote

15. Innovative Drinkware 

When it comes to innovation, you don’t have to look far for a great gift. Take this collapsible cup from Stojo that offers a space-saving design and all the best features. 

Shown: Stojo collapsible cup, from $20 

16. Branded Socks

When it comes to branding swag that’s sure to be appreciated, don’t overlook your favorite basics, like a great pair of socks.

Shown: Photo courtesy of Glossier

17. Custom Permanent Markers

Office supplies can help make your employee welcome kits a practical must have. And, when it comes to permanent markers—they’re just as useful at home as they are on the clock.

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

$150 Welcome Kit Box Idea

For welcome kit ideas that really make the grade, you have endless options when it comes to your $150 investment. 

18. Custom Duffel Bag 

From athletics brands like Nike, Adidas, and Champion to outdoor packs such as Patagonia and The North Face, Gemnote offers customization on all your favorite name brands and more.  

Photo courtesy of Glossier

19. Branded Jacket 

A step up from the branded tee or hoodie, a name brand customizable jacket is great for employees who meet with clients, commute and more. 

Shown: The North Face Sweater Fleece Jacket 

20. Custom Puzzle 

Who says your welcome kit ideas have to be all business? With a little fun and games you can keep it fun and perfectly branded. 

Shown: Areaware Puzzle, from $15

21. Corduroy Cap 

Keep your brand and logo top of mind with a branded cap that adds major cool vibes to your new employee onboarding kit thanks to the corduroy styling that’s so easy to customize with a patch or embroidery. 

Shown: AS Colour Corduroy Cap 

Welcome Kit Box idea around $200

The cream of crop, creme de la creme, and more! When it comes to bringing in high level talent, you’ll be surprised just how far $200 can elevate your new hire swag kit. Check out these premium gifts for new hires for even more ideas.

22. Bluetooth Speaker 

Like music to their ears, a custom Bluetooth Speaker is perfect for having in their home or in their office. 

Shown: Lexon speaker, $30

23. Custom Backpack 

Whether your company branding is jet black, shades of gray, canary yellow—you get the idea!—your Gemnote rep can help you find the ultimate branded merch that gets noticed.  

Shown: Topo Designs Rover Classic Backpack, from $99

24. Branded Cup

Some things are just born to complement each other. Peanut butter and jelly. Fish and chips. Coffee and early mornings. Help them start their day off right with a customized camp cup for their daily ritual. 

Shown: Topo Designs Camp Cup, from $27 

25. Soft Custom Crewneck Sweatshirt

For business or pleasure, a stylish sweatshirt that’s styled for everyday is your perfect employee swag and easy to show off your brand.

Photo courtesy of Only NY

26. Tech Favs

Having a charger when you need it is half the battle. So for employee onboarding kits that will really make their day, a Native Union charger is perfect for keeping them plugged in.

Shown: Native Union Belt Cable

Types of branded swag to include an onboarding kit

When it comes to your employee welcome kits, you have lots of options. Here are some of the best picks that are perfect for new hires.  

Clothing and Accessories

Items like tee shirts, hoodies, jackets, joggers and other apparel items are great ways to let your employee show off your brand from workdays to weekends. And, with fun customizable accessories like caps, socks, scarves, and more there’s an accessory or clothing piece for every brand and budget. 

Office Supplies

It’s helpful to give your new hire office supplies that they can use right from the start! From branded notebooks and pens to customized folders, files, staplers, pen holders, and more, office supplies are just as useful as they are plentiful! 

Tech Gadgets or Accessories

While the word tech may seem a little pricey, you’ll be surprised at how many affordable options there are when it comes to scoring these customized swag pieces. From power banks and PopSockets with your company’s logo to charging stations, power cords, bluetooth speakers and other items that are fun and convenient, creating an on-budget onboarding kit is easier than you think.  

Food and Drink Items

First days can be stressful—from meeting lots of new people to diving into training, a great tasting snack or beverage can help ward off those first day jitters! Plus, your Gemnote rep can help you find sustainable packaging for making even these gifts branded for your company.  

Personalized Gifts

Whether it’s business cards, a greeting card, or maybe a custom branded leather souffle for your newest partner, there’s a personalized gift for every company and budget as well. Talk to your Gemnote rep for ideas or browse our LookBook.

Desk Decor

Help your new hires make their new office feel like home—or their home office feel like part of your company with custom branded desk decor. From picture frames and laptop covers to stylish catchalls and more, there’s something special just waiting to be branded! 

Shown: Planted in Metaverse Sweatshirt, Notebook, Bucket Hat, Travel Cup, Bluetooth Speaker, Pens, and Backpack

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Branded Merchandise in Your Onboarding Kit

Are your new employee welcome kits making the grade? To ensure you’re getting the most bang (or appreciation) for your buck, here are some ways to measure the effectiveness of your new hire swag kit: 

Surveys and feedback forms

Sometimes the best thing you can do is ask. When it comes to getting feedback, send out a survey or feedback form that your new hire can fill out. These can even be created anonymous so the feedback you receive is more authentic. 

Social media and online engagement

Are you seeing your swag on social media? Make sure you include a unique hashtag with your onboarding kit, so you can see which swag is being posted online.  

Employee retention and performance metrics

When it comes to employee engagement and satisfaction, you can also look at performance metrics and employee retention to determine how well your branded onboarding merch and swag are doing. 

Brand recognition and loyalty

Are your employees using the branded items you gifted them? This is a great way to know if they like them. Furthermore, if your current employees are asking how they can get similar branded merch, you’ll know you’re on the right track. 

Refreshing your onboarding kit with Gemnote 

Whether you’re looking to create a brand new onboarding kit or just need to switch out some of your merch to make it more relevant and on trend or seasonally appropriate, Gemnote can help! 

Happy employees stay and grow with your company, and we want to help you welcome them on their First Day and celebrate their milestones throughout the year! 

Browse Gemnote’s most popular branded swag for your onboarding kit. 

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