This past week I spent two days teaching a letter writing class for a large Seattle-area company. Both days the company made me feel welcome and important from the moment I drove into the parking lot.
Can you guess how they welcomed me in the parking lot?
No, not with balloons. They reserved a parking space for me–with my name on it.
"This spot reserved for Lynn Gaertner-Johnston," the sign said. But to me, it said much more. It told me that the company valued me and my work. The message becomes even more powerful when you consider that I am a vendor–someone arriving at their company to perform a service. I was not a visiting dignitary, yet I felt that way when I saw the sign.
That welcoming gesture in the parking lot made me think about how we welcome people at work. How do we communicate a feeling of welcome and importance to others through our writing?
One obvious way is to send out welcome announcements, messages that introduce new employees and encourage everyone to welcome them. Here is an example:
Welcome Pia Nielsen to Sales
I am pleased to announce that Pia Nielsen joins the Sales group as a sales assistant on Monday, April 11. Her role is to help us produce outstanding proposals, presentations, web demos, and related materials and events. She reports to Stephanie Burke.
Pia's experience is a terrific fit for the job. She comes to us from XYZ Company, where she worked first in retail sales and then as a store event coordinator. Before working fulltime, she earned her bachelor's degree in business from the University of Washington. She loves to kayak, hike, and take nature photographs. She did all three on a recent trip to Maui.
If you are at headquarters, stop by Pia's desk on the 4th floor and introduce yourself. You can also reach her at Ext. 20203 and email@example.com.
Director of Sales
People who read the message will learn a lot: who Pia is, what her role in sales will be, when she starts, whom she reports to, why she was hired, who she is outside work, and how she can be reached. They will also learn that the director wants her to be welcomed.
When Pia reads it, she will learn how important she is to Sales.
Have you ever been welcomed with such an announcement or gesture on the job? Or have you wished you had been?
I welcome your experiences and views on welcoming.