Imagine it’s your first day at a new job, and this is your employee experience: when you arrive, you see that your desk has been decked out with your preferred equipment, a company hoodie in your size, and your favorite snacks. A few people drop by to say hello, and you meet a fellow coffee lover who invites you to the neighborhood coffee shop for an espresso. Your manager takes you out to lunch, and it’s your favorite: Thai food! Throughout the day, you meet many more people with similar hobbies: skiing, craft cocktails, yoga, bowling. It’s only your first day, but you already feel connected and welcome.

Fast forward to your company holiday party. You’re offered your choice of gluten-free, kosher meals because your office manager knows you can’t eat the other options offered. Fast forward again to your one year work anniversary. Your manager gifts you with a Disney-themed coffee mug because she knows you love coffee and that your favorite vacation spot is Walt Disney World.

When you’re trying to make someone feel welcome, personalization is key. A new hire survey can help you accomplish a thoughtful first day—and beyond—for all of your employees. Incorporate this survey into your employee preboarding process to gain the full benefit and kickstart an amazing employee experience.

What to ask in your new hire survey

A new hire survey should vary from company to company, so you can learn information that is relevant, interesting, or important for your team to know. 

Let employees know what you intend to do with the information, and make the answers optional. You might say something like, “Hi [name], Welcome to the team! We’d like to get to know you a little better before your first day. We’ve attached a quick, 10-question survey. The first 5 questions are for HR purposes only, and the last 5 may be shared with the whole team so they can get to know you as well. This is meant to be fun, so please feel free to skip any questions you’d like to skip. We look forward to seeing you on [start date]!”

Here are some sample new hire survey questions you can ask:

  1. What is your preferred nickname? 
  2. Would you like to use your nickname or legal name for your email address?
  3. Do you have any equipment preferences for your desk (i.e. Mac/PC, mouse, keyboard, standing desk, chair, etc)?
  4. Do you have any dietary restrictions?
  5. What’s your preferred t-shirt and sweatshirt size?
  6. What are your favorite hobbies?
  7. What are your favorite snacks and foods?
  8. What are your favorite drinks?
  9. Where are your favorite places to vacation?
  10. Where can we find you online (i.e. website, social media links, etc)?

What to do with your new hire survey data

Use your new hire survey data to enhance your employee experience. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Assign a work buddy with mutual interests. Their buddy will help them become acclimated to the company culture, introduce them to teammates, and check in with them during onboarding. Matching your new employee with someone who shares similar interests can help them bond with someone right away. Gallup found that employees who say they have a friend at work are more engaged, perform better, and are less likely to look for work opportunities elsewhere.
  2. Set up your new employee’s desk with their preferred equipment, a SWAG package, and some of their favorite snacks. You can even offer a similar arrangement for remote employees, by mailing them a welcome package prior to their start date.
  3. Send an internal new hire announcement so employees can get to know your new employee prior to their start date. Share fun information you collected via the new hire survey. Encourage employees to reach out via email, Slack, and social media prior to your employee’s first day.
  4. Introduce employees during the company-wide all-hands meeting. Welcome your new employees, share a bit about their background and what they’ll be doing at the company, and share some fun tidbits of information.
  5. Use it for personalized gifts. Celebrate employee birthdays and anniversaries with small gifts that match your employee’s interests. For instance, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, or a themed picture frame related to one of their hobbies. These small, thoughtful gestures can help employees feel appreciated and valued throughout the employee lifecycle.

You should also store your new hire survey data in your People Operations Platform so it’s not lost or forgotten—especially as managers change. 

Final thoughts on new hire surveys

New hire surveys help you learn more about new employees so you can help them feel welcome at your company. Collect the data you find most useful, and use it to create a memorable first day, connect employees with one another, and create a strong employee experience. Employees will feel more valued when you take the time to get to know them, and personalize their employee experience—beginning on their first day.