The best UK agency employee welcome kits
Agencies pull out all the stops when it comes to making a good impression with new recruits. There is, after all, a talent crunch out there.
Welcome kits come packed with all sorts of messaging and items carefully selected to reflect an agency’s culture, and to ensure as smooth an introduction into the newbies’ “new family” as possible. We catalogued some of our favorite American kits earlier this year; here are some of the best welcome kits from across the pond.
M&C Saatchi Mobile
When M&C Saatchi hit its 10-year anniversary, it commissioned limited-edition boxes for each of its new starters, starting a tradition it has since continued. Inside each are seven objects intended to reflect the agency’s core values: daring, original, fun, persistent, curious, diverse and straightforward.
The box features a camera tripod (fun), clay (original), grow-your-own-plant kit (persistence), multi-charger (diverse), playing cards (daring), customized map of local area (curious), and a glossary of mobile terms (straightforward).
Inside is also a hand-drawn map with the team’s favorite local haunts.
Karmarama strives to ensure no stuffiness creeps into the agency. On their first day, newbies are asked to stand up in front of the whole company assembly and tell an embarrassing story. The agency admits the tradition may appear a little brutal at first, but it gets everyone laughing first thing on Monday, and it’s all fair play given everyone has to do it, after all.
To soften the blow of being shoved swiftly into the limelight, new starters also get a box of goodies: a mug, bag of sweets, free coffee vouchers, and a free-lunch voucher. Oh, and they get a welcome balloon.
At R/GA London, new recruits get a mix of both fun perks and more serious work-orientated freebies. On the first day, a new hire will receive a £50 Nike voucher, and 30 percent off all products at Nike Town London.
To ensure those who want a strong dose of coffee on their first day get one easily, they receive a fully stamped card for free coffee at Caravan. New starters also get chocolate, an R/GA memory stick and moleskin book, notepad and pen.
Before they join, new arrivals are also sent links to press mentions of R/GA and to its thought-leadership program FutureVision, which centers on new technological innovation. They get a hard copy of the magazine on their desks when they arrive.
Essence values its new (and existing) hires to the degree that they’re referred to as “Essentials” internally.
The agency wants new starters to feel immediately at home, and on their first day, they’ll meet the company’s “pirates” and score some free booty.
These pirates are agency people designated to look after Essence’s culture and are at every new hire’s first meeting. On day one, new hires also get a swag bag filled with seasonally appropriate goodies. For summer, people get a drawstring backpack, sunglasses and a water bottle.
Once it gets cooler later in the year, the swag bags feature branded blankets and S’well bottles. Each office also chooses its local swag: London gets umbrellas, New York bottle openers and Tokyo headphones. New hires also get free lunches with colleagues for their first week, and an Essence “streetwise” guide to introduce them to the agency’s internal jargon and local hot spots. Plus, a customized training plan to get them up to speed by end of week one and fully operational by month one.
Dentsu Aegis digital agency 360i issues every new member of staff with an “agile working pack” before they start. There are practical reasons for that — there are only 60 fixed desks in an agency of 90 staffers, so the remaining tables need to be available to clients and other Dentsu Aegis agencies whenever they visit.
“To prevent any in-fighting, everyone needs their own supplies!” said 360i Europe head of operations Amanda Kwan.
Each new starter gets a swag bag, which has a Skype-for-Business headset (landlines have been banished forever), a portable phone charger and a water bottle. “We’ve kept it simple, and only give people things they’d actually want to use, and tech that makes their lives easier,” added Kwan.
J Walter Thompson
Newbies at J Walter Thompson are asked to download the JWT onBoard Express app before they start to help familiarize them with the agency. The app gives a global overview of the agency, including a quick history rundown, details on internal resources and tools, and lays out the leaders and where they’re located in the network.
On their first day, they’ll find a jar of sweets and a JWT mug on their desk, along with a personalized postcard representing the agency’s cultural values: capability, courage, collaboration and curiosity.
To make new starters feel “part of the herd” before they start, Steak posts each of them a welcome pack with all they’ll need for their first day.
The pack includes a leather note pad, pencil, a limited-edition Bruce the Bull USB stick, a branded stress ball mascot (the purple cow in the image above), and a portable speaker — all parceled together in a “nifty tote bag.”
At digital agency TH_NK, everyone gets a “buddy” for their first day, who takes them out to lunch and introduces them to the whole team. The buddies are assigned at the first instance, so the new hire never feels that initial shyness that can come into force on the first day anywhere.
They’ll get their own personalized welcome sign over their desk, along with a branded mug and moleskin notebook, plus an Amazon Kindle with full access to the TH_NK library and unlimited account for Amazon books.
23red has developed a way of bringing new starters up to speed on the ways of the office, the industry and the company legends at the heart of its culture. Issued with the ‘Probationers’ Challenge’ on their first day, new starters have the three months of their probationary period to learn the answers to 50 questions about 23red.
While most answers can be coaxed from colleagues with the offer of jelly beans, the story behind company mascot Ron the Rooster can only be prized from the lips of the creative director by buying him a drink at the bar!
At independent agency Zone, you don’t just get a box of sweets on your first day but a welcome lunch with the team and a one-to-one lunch with the chairman within the first month.
They also get a buddy for the first data, to help introduce them around. The chairman also has a nifty party trick to make new starters feel valued — he memorizes all their names to make a special thank-you at the annual Christmas party. His record to date is 96 people, who all joined in one year.
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