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No matter how ready someone is to leave their job and how thrilled they are about a new opportunity, giving two weeks notice can be a draining and emotionally taxing experience. Even if all goes smoothly, it can take a lot out of a person—leaving them a little frazzled as they head into their new role.

As a manager who wants this person to hit the ground running, you’d obviously hate for your shiny new employee to start off on a stressful note. The good news is that you, as their soon-to-be boss, do have some control over this.

The day Muse Career Coach Leto Papadopoulos resigned from a former job, she came home to find a box of chocolate-covered strawberries with a note from her new boss and team saying how excited they were for her to start.

people want to know they matter new hire

“It was such a nice surprise to come home to,” she says. “People want to know they matter,” she explains. They don’t want to feel like the company’s “just filling a position.” The best thing a boss can do between the moment an offer’s accepted and a new hire’s start date, then, is to ensure their new direct report knows this: “You’re the one we want on the team and we’re really happy about it.”

And don’t worry, you don’t need to send anything fancy—like chocolate-covered strawberries—to express that. You can convey the same message in a simple email that’ll take you just a few minutes to write.

Here’s a template to get you started:

Template The Email

Hi [New Hire’s Name],

Hope you’re having a great [week/week off]!

Just writing to say we’re so excited for you to join the team and we’re really looking forward to working together. If you have any questions we can answer before you arrive, feel free to reach out.

See you on [Day]!

[Your Name]

If there’s a big project that was a major topic during the interview process, you can weave that into this note as well, Papadopoulos says, with a line like “we can’t wait to get started on [XYZ project]!”

If you know your company’s HR department hasn’t reached out yet, you can add a note about when they should expect to hear about details like arrival time, who’ll be greeting them and showing them around, and what they need to bring. Depending on the size of your company and how it functions, you might want to send this information yourself.

Tanaz Mody, Head of People Operations for the audio fitness company Aaptiv, recommends including “anything HR wouldn’t cover that might make them feel more comfortable.” That’s especially true if for some reason the hiring manager won’t be around on the first day.

She also advises being respectful of a new hire’s time before they start, since they’re “most likely taking time off to unwind.” That means avoiding giving them any significant work to do before they arrive.

I'd hate to try to make it seem like you're already giving an employee work before they're getting paid

Papadopoulos agrees, saying you should, at most, send a link to something short to peruse. “I would hate to try to make it seem like you’re already giving [an] employee work before they’re getting paid,” she says. “It’s a turnoff.” In short, all you need to send is a short note expressing your excitement to get started, just not right now.

About a week before I started my job at The Muse, I got just such an email from my new boss saying how excited she and the team were to start working together and checking in to see if I had any questions they could answer before I arrived. It also included a dog GIF and a note explaining the team’s (higher-than-average) affinity for them.

dog gif

I felt wanted and welcomed, and let into the loop with a little piece of insider info about my new team’s culture. It reassured me one more time that they didn’t regret their choice and that I’d made the right one too. And it made me think that’s a gesture I want to remember when I’m a boss.

Now, assuming you’re really excited your new hire is finally going to join the team and do some awesome work, wouldn’t you want them to know?

Updated 6/19/2020