A recent ALEX survey found that less than 40% of respondents had an idea of what their employer’s expectations were for them. This murky expectation setting is also found to have a direct effect on the productivity and morale of new hires.

So how do companies prevent costly miscommunications with new talent and set employees up for success during onboarding? By being crystal clear about the details of the position, the company and the work atmosphere during the talent acquisition process. Having a compelling, sleek offer letter is a great place to start.

The Importance of the Candidate Offer Letter

The offer letter is crucial to creating a positive new-hire experience for one primary – and obvious – reason: It documents the most important expectations of an employee, including what the position entails, who they report to, how much they will make and what their overall benefit package looks like. Documenting these standard job details ensures there are no gray areas when it comes to setting employee expectations and gives new hires the opportunity to evaluate a position at a more itemized level before taking it.

The offer letter also benefits the employer-new-hire relationship in a number of other ways – many of which may be less obvious but extremely impactful.

Here are a few tips for creating a transparent, engaging and unique offer letter:

Personalize It

At the point of receiving an offer letter, the candidate has likely met and developed a rapport with a few people at the company – especially the HR folks. A generic and bland offer letter might clash with a new hire’s personal interactions with a company, which at best could lead to confusion and at worst drive them to have second thoughts about taking the position.

Error on the side of being personal when creating the offer letter. Throw in a few comments about their unique qualities or skills or recall previous conversations from an interview. Establishing comfort and familiarity with a candidate empowers them to approach their new work experience with more positivity.

Underscore Your Company Brand & Culture

What’s presented in the offer letter should reflect your company’s unique brand and culture, including how it’s presented. If your company prides itself on having a laid-back, goofy workplace, the offer letter should somehow illustrate that – maybe with a joke here or there or a funny pop-culture reference. And if your organizational culture reinforces values like work-life balance, charity participation and health and wellness, those values should be included as benefits in the offer the letter. Doing so helps set clear expectations with candidates and reinforces the uniqueness of your organization to them.

Start Building the Candidate’s Relationships

Most offer letters will include a line or two about who a candidate will report to on day one. Obviously, a new hire needs to know who they will be working under, but they should also know what that working relationship will be like, including what communication processes are and what a supervisor’s specific working style might be. It would be really unfortunate for a new hire to be excited about working under a supervisor then come to work to find that individual often travels and is out of communication.

What Do Your Offer Letters Look Like?

The offer letter also benefits the employer-new-hire relationship in a number of other ways – many of which may be less obvious but extremely impactful.

Many companies may approach the offer letter as a nice-to-have but not a need-to-have tool during the talent acquisition process. Creating engaging, transparent and empathetic letters can play a key role in creating a positive new-hire experience. Rather than leaving key organizational elements – like job expectations, workplace relationships and company culture – to be communicated after an employee has been on-boarded, the offer letter gives employers the opportunity to do so before the candidate has their “day one.”

For more ideas on how to make your offer letters stand out and impact the candidate experience, check out our exclusive candidate resource portal.