Best Onboarding Practices to Turn New Hires into Long-lasting Employees

onboarding best practices

Despite being a time-consuming and sometimes exhaustive process, onboarding new employees is undoubtedly an exciting process. With all of the time that both you and your new employees invest in it, you want to make sure that you do it the best you can. There are certain onboarding practices that can make or break the way an employee will feel about working for your company from the start.

Since you’ve already hired them, you want to reinforce the idea that they made the right decision in choosing your company. They will be looking out for things like whether or not your company is organized and prepared in the onboarding process to validate their decision.

Before the start date

New hire desk preparation

Reach out beforehand to welcome your new employee and give them some essential info for their first day. This should include where to park, what the dress code is, what to do for lunch, where to meet you when they get in on their first day, and any other specific information you think would be valuable to them.

Set up their desk with the necessary computers so that they can begin getting comfortable when they arrive, and arrange for a few onboarding gifts to be ready for them when they arrive. A great onboarding gift package would include a company branded t-shirt, notebook, and pen, so that they can get right to work with their new company swag. This not only promotes brand loyalty, but it helps to make them feel like a part of the team!

On their first day

onboarding gifts for new employees

When new employees arrive on their first day, it is important to make the feel welcome and introduce them to everyone in the office. Welcome new hires on their first day with an itinerary for training, along with their onboarding gifts.

Rather than sitting and going through the employee handbook with them, give them some of the most important info about the company that they may not have received in their interview or in their pre-start email. This should include any general information about the workplace or specific company policies that are important for them to know.

Make it a point to answer any of their questions off the bat. Some offices such as Amazon even find it useful to assign each new hire a mentor for their first couple of months, that way they know just who to turn to if any questions come up.

The first 90 days

Onboarding one on one meeting

For the first 90 days, your new employee should participate in a training program specific to their job duties This should not only help them learn all of the essential information about your company, but should also provide them with the skills they will need for their position.

Throughout this process, they will be able to reference their mentor when any questions come up, and you as their hiring manager should also make yourself available for any questions they might have.

Set up a check-in meeting once a month with your new employee to answer any questions they have. This is your opportunity to identify and fill in any gaps in their training, as well as ask them questions and get their views on the position and the company. This also gives you the opportunity to make improvements on your end for the employee experience.

After a good time investment on both ends to get your new employees, you will be off to a great start. The key is to make sure that you and your staff connect with your new employee, integrate them into the company culture, and vice-versa. Properly onboarding your employees will ultimately lead the to becoming long-lasting employees who will invest their time back into your company and your team.

How to Throw a Company Holiday Party Your Employees Will Love

Employee holiday party

Company holiday parties are becoming more and more popular in the U.S. In fact, over 90 percent of companies—small and large—typically throw company holiday parties.

But holiday parties are about more than just celebrating. They promote company pride, they foster a sense of unity between employees, and they also improve employee-employer relationships. Getting all the employees together under the same roof every once in a while is an absolute necessity, and there’s generally no better time than the holidays.

But you already know that. In fact, if you’re reading this, it’s probably because it’s your turn to plan the company holiday party, and you need help.

Well, we have your back! If you’re trying to host the rockin’est holiday party your company has ever seen, here are 5 surefire ways to make it happen:

Drive attendance with raffles, prizes, and games

Employee holiday party photo booth

Traditionally, one of the things office holiday party organizers struggle with most is getting the whole company to attend. In fact, it’s the whole reason we’re writing this article.

If the prospect of good food, good drink, and good company still aren’t enough to motivate your employees to show up in force, nothing works better than a good old-fashioned holiday raffle.

If you’re going to have a raffle, try to give away gifts that your employees will actually want. Gift certificates to local restaurants, electronics, TV’s, gift cards—take this time to reward your employees for their time and dedication throughout the year. Plus, if you wait until the end of the night to start drawing the prizes, it serves as an incentive for people into staying until the end!

Schedule it for the right time

One of the trickiest parts of planning a company holiday party is figuring out scheduling. For people with children or larger families, getting a day off in the couple weeks leading up to the holidays can be more stressful than it’s worth. Selecting a date the week of the holidays also might pose a problem for people who have family in other regions of the world and need to travel to see them. And if you have your holiday party too early before the holidays, the point becomes convoluted and inauthentic.

Ideally, the perfect time to plan a company Christmas party is the first or second week of January. The hustle and stressful bustle of the holidays have subsided, a new year has begun, and everybody is ready to settle back into work mode. Now’s the perfect time to get everyone together in the same room to express thanks and gratitude for a job well done and a year well spent, and allow employees a little time to unwind and decompress.

It doesn’t have to be done the first week back, but just make sure you’re not planning it so far after the holidays that the holiday theme becomes dated or irrelevant. 

Keep the food and drinks simple

Eat drink and be merry holiday christmas party

You’ve heard the phrase “Eat, Drink, and be Merry” your entire life. It’s so old, believe it or not, that its origins are biblical. That’s what the holiday season is all about.

So, when it comes to throwing a holiday party, making good food and drink available is integral to creating merriment among your attendees! Depending on the size of your group, try to avoid complicated menus and tables, and instead opt for a more communal setting—platters, tables, etc. 

Choose an accessible venue

We contemplated whether or not to take an official stance on venues for holiday parties, but every business is different. If you’re a medium-sized or larger business, renting out an off-site venue—like a banquet hall or bar/restaurant—is probably ideal. It ensures that there will be enough space for everyone, and also helps to make organizing and cleaning up easier.

If you’re a smaller crew and just want to keep things a little more casual, an after-hours get together at a local venue, or even on company premises (depending on your insurance policies), may be perfect. 

One thing that should be explored beforehand, however, is transportation. If your party will take place off the premises, especially at a place where alcoholic beverages will be consumed, you should plan on getting everyone there—and back home—as safely as possible.

Rideshare services like Uber offer corporate accounts, where you can purchase a designated number of rides for your employees, and all they have to do is enter in a discount code before scheduling their ride. This will ensure that everyone gets to and from your party safely. 

Keep it all positive

Office holiday party

The holidays are that special time of year where we show how thankful we are for everything that went right. You made it through another wonderful year, and you couldn’t have done it without the help of your incredible team.

Whether you’re a company of five people or 50,000, the point of your holiday party is to put all of those people in the same room, show them your gratitude for a job well done, and wish everyone growth and prosperity in the New Year. That’s what it’s all about.

We hope you take these tips to heart, and if you have any questions (or need some custom Christmas apparel for the occasion!), don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Our Favorite Ugly Christmas Sweater Designs 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater designs

‘Tis the season of searching for the perfect gifts, listening to the same 40 Christmas songs on repeat, and going holiday parties that require your best Ugly Christmas Sweater. You could simply go to the store and pick one up off the racks, but by doing so you risk the embarrassment of showing up to the party in the same ugly sweater as the next guy.

A growing trend that we’ve noticed over the past few holiday seasons is people taking their ugly Christmas sweater designs into their own hands. You guessed it–we’re talking about custom-designed Ugly Christmas sweaters. While we’ve seen many different approaches over the years, each year brings with it a new wave of artwork that blows us away.

Without further ado, here are our top 6 Favorite Ugly Christmas Sweater Designs of 2016.

Classic Ugly Christmas Sweater

Ugly Christmas Sweater designs

One of our graphic designers created this new template for our studio this year, and it’s a classic we’ll always love. The “Happy Holidays” ugly Christmas Sweater is not only perfect for an ugly sweater party, but we actually think it’s a pretty good looking shirt to wear around in general this holiday season. You can customize it and make it your own in our design studio!

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Conservative Christmas

Ugly Christmas Sweater design template

This is another ugly Christmas sweater that one of our designers recently added to our design studio. Like the previous one, we would actually wear this sweater around all holiday season.

This takes a more subtle–might we say conservative–approach, yet still hits the mark on “ugly.” Pair this one with a nice pair of khakis, and you’ve got yourself a holiday party outfit that fits the bill for any Holiday party dress code.

His and Hers

His and Hers Naughty and Nice Christmas sweaters

Here we have another work of design studio art–one of our Project Specialists helped to create this pair. We love the way make such a catchy duo and play on the classic “naughty or nice.”

These would make the absolute perfect His and Hers sweaters for an ugly sweater holiday party. Whether you’re the one expecting coal in your stocking, or gifts, this set of ugly holiday sweaters were created for you.

Fa La Valhalla La

Viking style Ugly Christmas Sweater Design

Well Valhalla-la to you too! One of our fantastic customers designed this viking-style sweater, and is one of our all-time favorites. The clever designer of this work of art used mostly elements from our design studio, aside from the antler helmet.

We know that there are 30 people somewhere in the world wearing these this holiday season, and we know of about 190 more who would like to be **cough cough** our entire staff **cough cough**.

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Merry Chrithmith

Mike Tyson Ugly Chrithmith Sweater design

The customer who designed this work-of-art had it printed on a child’s crewneck. While we aren’t sure what child is running around right now in a Mike Tyson ugly Chrithmith sweater, we are sure of one thing—we all want to meet the guy who created it for him. When it comes to comparing ugly Christmas sweaters, this one will win every time, even if it has to bite a guy’s ear off.

Love any of these designs? Our Project Specialists are here to help you create your own custom Ugly Christmas Sweater. You can also visit our design studio to start creating your own!

Employee Gift Packages Your Staff Will Use and Love

Employee Holiday gift package ideas

As a business owner, you know that your employees put their hearts and souls into helping the business grow and move things forward. And with the Holiday Season in the works, it is the essential time to show them that you appreciate all of their hard work. No matter the size of your company, it can be difficult to put together employee gift packages.

When you have many employees with diverse backgrounds and interests, finding gifts that are simultaneously thoughtful, enticing, and unifying is that much more difficult. We know how difficult it can be—especially when you have a company to run—so we decided to take a little bit of stress off your shoulders and do some of the footwork for you.

Here are 4 Holiday Gift Ideas Your Employees Will Actually Use and Love. Happy Holidays! 

The “Picnic In The Park” Gift Set

Employee wine and cheese picnic gift

Are you tired of the winter doldrums yet? Christmas is the perfect time to remind your employees that spring—and all the beautiful things that come along with it—is just a few short months away.

The Picnic In The Park gift set includes a wooden cutting board, a four-piece cheese knife set, a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and a platter of meats and cheeses, perfect for a picnic in the park. And, of course, a custom-embroidered blanket is a perfect way to remind your employees how much you care. You can get all of this for a total around $80.64 per person.

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The “R&R” Gift Set

Employee Relaxation gift package

In the military, the term used to describe a soldier’s free time is “R&R.” It means Rest and Relaxation (also known as Rest and Recreation, or Rest and Recuperation). Your business isn’t necessarily the U.S. military, but your team works hard to keep things moving forward in the office. As a boss, the holidays are a perfect time to recognize and reward their efforts company-wide.

Statistics show that, especially in high-stress office environments, yoga and meditation can be incredibly helpful to increase morale, reduce stress, and improve productivity. This R&R gift set includes a plant-it-yourself bonsai tree, a yoga mat, a pair of Baoding balls (in a traditional silk-wrapped box!). It is everything your employees will need to relax and remain centered in and out of the office, all wrapped up in a duffle bag that includes your company logo.

It also includes a copy of LovingKindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, thought by many yogis the world over to be a classic and definitive exploration of the art of meditation. You can get this whole gift set for a total of approximately $54.79 per person.

“Master Chef” Gift Set

Employee Cooking Holiday Gift

Cooking is one of those things that everyone wants to learn more about, but seldom have the time, resources, or knowledge to make it happen. Everyone wants to know the secret to a solid crème brulee, what goes in to cooking the perfect steak, or how to make your own French fries from scratch, but actually setting time aside to do it is honestly more of a chore than anything.

This Master Chef gift set includes The Drunken Cookbook by Milton Crawford, which is an excellent resource for simple delicious recipes that are easy to execute while sober or after some bubbly. It’s super fun to read and, at the very least, is sure to get a couple laughs. It also includes How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food, which is a fairly cut-and-dry book (with illustrations!) from renowned chef Mark Bittman, and includes everything aspiring kitchen wizards need to know about cooking fundamentals.

It also includes a convenient cutting board and kitchen knife set, a custom company-branded apron, a bottle of smooth Pinot Nior, and a copy of famous chef Anthony Bourdain’s equally famous book, Kitchen Confidential—essential reading for anyone, not just amateur chefs. This whole gift set will cost about $87.36 a person.

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The “Night In” Gift Set

Employee night in gift pack

Sometimes, after a long week of work, all we want to do is stay in and enjoy a quiet evening to ourselves. Settle down on the couch with a nice movie, maybe with a drink or two, and just relax the night away.

The Night In gift set—our personal favorite on the list—includes an actual popcorn popping machine, seeds, assorted candies and chocolates, and a Netflix gift card to ensure there’s always something good to watch! To finish it off and tie in some corporate culture, embroidered fleece blankets are ideal—warm and cuddly on these cold winter evenings. Get this entire gift pack for somewhere around $77.66 per person.

We hope we’ve provided some inspiration for your employee gifts. If you love any of these custom gift packages for your employees, feel free to give us a call to help out with your custom embroidery or printing needs!

The Best Customizable Holiday Gifts for the Whole Family

Holiday gifts for the family

When it comes to holiday shopping today, no one wants to go with the old, tired cliche gifts. Gone are the days when everyone’s Christmas lists consisted of the same ‘hot’ items. Online stores and personal sites like Etsy offer handmade items, while others offer customizable subscription packages that you can have delivered monthly. It easier than ever to find gifts that suit everyone’s interests and lifestyles.

As holiday shoppers, the new retail model leaves you with no excuses to show your family you care. All you need is a bit of gift-giving inspiration. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Check out these awesome customizable gifts for everyone on your list.

Man Crates

Man crate thoughtful gift

What is a Man Crate, might you ask? Man Crates are packages full of fun stuff suited to any interest, taste, or hobby. Aside from all the good stuff inside, one of the main appeals is the experience of getting to the gift inside. The items are all boxed up in a sealed wooden crate that requires a crowbar to open.  Trust us, nothing will make the men in your family feel more masculine than spending ten minutes cracking open a wooden crate with a crowbar and then pulling out a 2 lb. Hudson Bay Axe.

You can find a Man Crate to appeal to anyone’s interests–knives, jerky, photography, bacon, cigars–you name it! They are a bullseye shot when it comes to gift-giving.

Bright Cellars

Custom wine delivery gift

For years and years, the wine-o’s of the world had to go out each week and buy their favorite bottle of wine for their nightly pour. But then, a few wine-o’s got together to make this lifestyle easier, and a brilliant service called Bright Cellars was born.

Bright Cellars is an website that allows you to take a ‘wine personality’ quiz, and delivers a monthly assortment of new and unique wines customized to your preferences. You then, of course, have the option of ordering more of the bottles you like most.

Whether your family member enjoys a nightly glass, or would simply appreciate exploring different wine variations on occasion, the Bright Cellars subscription service makes a great gift for almost any family member (who is over 21, of course).

Custom t-shirt

Rush Order Tees custom t-shirt

One of the most customizable on our list, custom-designed t-shirts are always a win for family members. Designing your own shirt will push you to get a little creative, and the result will be worth the process.

Create something completely custom that hints at an inside joke, or for an easier design, upload an image of your family member’s pet or type out a family recipe. This personal gift is sure to get a great reaction and be a lasting and memorable gift for years to come.Rush Order Tees design t-shirts now

Personalized cutting board

Customizable cutting board

If there are two things in chef’s a kitchen that take the most beating, it’s gotta be knives and cutting boards. AND, if there are two things in a chef’s kitchen that they will almost always need replacements of, it is their knives and cutting board.

Whether or not you actually have a chef in your family, we all have the family member (or members) who love to cook. For these folks, a personalized cutting board makes an excellent gift. It will be meaningful for a young couple in your family who just moved into a new home, or for mom and dad who are always cooking for the family. Better yet, bring a custom cutting board as a gift to whoever’s hosting this year’s holiday gathering. It will be used for years to come.

Bean Box

Bean Box custom holiday gift

Any coffee lover knows that they will find their paradise in the city of Seattle–or in any number Starbucks around the world. But not everyone knows that they can get some of the best roasts from Seattle delivered straight to their door.

Bean Box is a subscription service that delivers a fine selection of gourmet coffees to your family members’ homes. Gift packages come in varieties created for particular tastes, such as dark roast and espresso, as well as varied blends from around the world. A year subscription gift pack makes the perfect gift for the coffee-lovers on your list. It can even be a great combined gift for your parents or grandparents to enjoy together.

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Custom pint glasses

Personalized pint glass growler set

We included wine, we included coffee…so you know we had to include beer! You don’t have to be a home brewer to appreciate custom-engraved pint glasses, or better yet, to simply enjoy them. A set of pint glasses and a growler with your family member’s first or last name on it will make a great and memorable gift. These are something that your kin will be able to use for years and years to come.

Hopefully you’ve caught some of our gift-giving inspiration and are ready to get some personalized gifts for everyone on your list. As always, if any of your gifts include custom apparel, we are here to help. Happy shopping, and happy holidays!

2016 Holiday Gift Guide: The Perfect Gifts For Everyone on Your List

2016 Holiday gift guide

Ahh, the holiday season. It begins before we can even say “turkey,” and in the blink of an eye, we’re counting down the seconds until the New Years Eve ball drops. When it comes to holiday gift buying especially, it feels like if we don’t get ahead of the curve, the time slips away. Before we know it, we’re scurrying around to polish off our gift lists last minute.

Despite whatever intentions you have of getting your holiday shopping done early this year, you may still find yourself in a twist. Luckily, we’ve seen our fair share of gifts over time, and to save you some time, we’ve compiled this year’s gift guide featuring the fastest and most thoughtful ideas for everyone on your list. 

For the baker

Thoughtful baker gift packGive the baker in your life a thoughtful gift they will love– a reboot of the old ‘recipe-in-a-jar’ idea. Whether it’s grandma who is always sending you home with her famous pie, or the friend who creates an unfair advantage at your yearly cookie exchange, any one who loves to bake will love to have their own customized baking apron.

Throw in a custom oven mitt to go with it, a new spoon and whisk, a fresh set of pans and mixing bowls, and a delicious recipe jar and you have yourself a gift that a true baker will just eat up.


The world traveller

Thoughtful traveller gift pack

Those who travel for a hobby are easy to buy for. First, their endless adventures lead them to filling various travel journals. Second, airplanes are boring, and they always need something to keep them entertained. And third, good luggage is an essential no matter where you’re going.

Whether it is your daughter who is going to study abroad, or a niece or nephew who has a trip coming up, a traveller pack makes a thoughtful gift. Pack a custom embroidered bag with some travel essentials, like a travel journal, travel mug, headphones for the trip, and a VISA gift card for spending money while they’re away. Their initialed duffle bag will be easy to find at baggage check, and they’re sure to have their bases covered when it comes to staying busy and alert during their travels.

The skier/snowboarder

Thoughtful skiier giftpack

For the passionate skiers and snowboarders, nothing is more essential than staying warm while on the slopes. For the shredders in your life, a custom beanie is the perfect unique gift. You could embroider their initials, a favorite quote, or even their last name onto the hat, and even include a long sleeve tee or fleece with the same design.

If you want to add more to the gift, you could pair with it a nice pair of ski goggles, a warm pair of waterproof gloves, and, if you’re really playing Santa, a Go-Pro so they can capture all the action live.

The grill master

Thoughtful grill gift pack

Everyone has a grill master in their life. Maybe dad’s always grilling up juicy burgers, or grandpa’s always trying to top his local award-winning steak seasoning.

Whoever the BBQ master is in your life, a set of grill-wear and a custom apron is the perfect way to say ‘Happy Holidays’ and show them that you appreciate the flavors they bring to your life. Add in a new barbecue tool set, a basket of unique seasonings, and award-winning sauces for an extra touch.

The workoholic 

Thoughful spa gift pack


We all know someone who is always on the go. Running from one place to the next, week after week, it seems like they hardly ever catch a break from work and errands.

Give that busy bee the gift of relaxation this year. Customize a bathrobe with their initials, and embroider a tote bag with their initials to fill with some relaxation goodies. Throw in slippers, a sleep mask, and scented candles for a boost of peaceful pampering.

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The golfer

Holiday gift pack for golfers

Nothing recharges dad like a nice day on the green. This holiday season, get him a thoughtful gift he will be anxious to use. A custom golf polo and visor would make the perfect gift for dad, or, really, any golfer on your list. If you’re going for a hole in one gift, include a nice new set of clubs and balls. Or, keep it simple with a set of gloves. Either way, your gift will be right on par.