No matter how many times you’ve done it, starting a new job can be stressful. Even once you’ve cleared the job-search and application hurdles, along with the pride and anticipation comes at least some anxiety. There are new processes to learn, new buildings to navigate, information firehoses to drink from, and — at Salesforce, especially — a lot of new names to remember.
For employers, the first few days offer not just a chance to bring fresh talent up to speed, but an opportunity to welcome them into a culture. A first-day gift for new employees can be a powerful way to express gratitude for the expertise, brainpower, and time they’ve chosen to give your organization.
Corporate swag is endemic in the tech industry, where logo-emblazoned backpacks, sweatshirts, and water bottles abound. All this stuff gives new hires an easy way to broadcast belonging, and businesses a bit of free advertising. Crimes of fashion aside, there’s nothing wrong with another polar-fleece vest … but what if we could do better?
With that challenge in mind, the UX organization at Salesforce decided to assemble a New Hire Welcome Kit that could transcend swag. When we welcome new members to our organization, we are also welcoming those people into internal tribes with their own personalities, functions, values, and ways of working. We envisioned a kit created specifically for UX talent, one that recognizes the specific skills of those joining our design community. From a design perspective, we wanted it to speak to the team’s unique brand identity, without getting too far from Salesforce’s corporate look.
“Starting a new job can feel daunting, especially in the tech industry. The New Hire Welcome Kits deliver a sense of comfort and fun for every new team member.”
— Jason Kriese, Salesforce VP of UX Operations
All in the Details
In designing the UX New Hire Welcome Kit, our UX Operations team looked for items that have the potential for ongoing use, reflect what’s important in the discipline, and build professional intimacy. The kit also had to scale easily for delivery to design team members around the world. Here’s what we learned when putting together our first set of kits.
We wanted to give our new teammates sustainable products that reflect Salesforce values and would be less likely to collect dust in the back of a closet — things they could use, in both work and life, for a long time. The verdict: a microfiber screen cloth, a case to hold writing or drawing materials throughout the day, and a gift certificate for new headphones they could use on commutes or during heads-down work time.
Importance in Discipline
In lieu of techy accessories, we included tools for creativity, such as rulers, pens, and pencils, that speak to designers’ artistic impulses and show respect for their craft. Other items also exemplify care and craft — a reusable mug and handkerchief, for example, feature line art representing our UX community’s internal brand identity. As San Francisco-based UX design hire Christine put it, “The products are still branded, but in a charming way. And because they’re nonessential, it feels even more like a gift.”
“The products are still branded, but in a charming way. And because they’re nonessential, it feels even more like a gift.”
— Christine, UX Designer
Each kit is personalized with an embossed name tag signed by the employee’s new team members and hiring manager. Such personal details communicate that the recipient is an individual we want to know. Michal, a UX designer joining our team in Tel Aviv, told us the kit offered a way into what can feel like a daunting task — connecting with new coworkers: “The kit, along with other welcoming experiences, made me feel more comfortable reaching out to people I don’t know.”
On the practical side, our kit had to be able to scale as our team grows. It needed to be modular, relatively affordable, and easy to deliver. We started by housing the kits in compact, reusable boxes that were easy to ship anywhere in the world, then created a modular design system that can be specialized for any Salesforce design group. Kit design templates can be continually adjusted and evolved for multiple branches of the company, letting teams personalize for each recipient at a low cost. Remembers Michal, “It was so nice to get something personalized with my name. It felt so welcoming, like they had gone the extra mile to connect me with the larger Salesforce community.”
“It was so nice to get something personalized with my name. It felt so welcoming, like they had gone the extra mile to connect me with the larger Salesforce community.”
— Michal, UX Designer
Make Your Own Welcome Kit
A thoughtful New Hire Welcome Kit acknowledges a new team member’s first day with a gift that’s equal parts appreciation, anticipation, and excitement for what’s to come. When you bring on new hires, start things off right by designing a kit (or updating your existing welcome gift) using these tips to embody the unique spirit of your team.
Many thanks go out to to rockstars Jason Kriese, Lana Herrera, and Bailey Jones for putting so much great work into designing these kits, to Jessica Clement von Rohr for the writing support, to Elizabeth Miller for photo skills, and to Alan Weibel for fielding all of my questions.
Learn more about Salesforce’s design philosophy and culture at www.salesforce.com/design.