Accepting a new job offer - whether for the first time or for an executive level, is an important milestone in every employee’s career. They see themselves growing within their role, and climbing the success ladder at your company. And you can do your bit by helping them set the right foundations.
This starts with employee onboarding. The 2018 Gallup survey records that 88% of Fortune 1000 companies don’t have quality onboarding procedures. This blows our mind too because a great onboarding can improve retention by as much as 82%.
Yes, an effective employee onboarding is easier said than done. To design one that retains new talents, needs to be molded with expertise, employee insights, fun ideas, and so much more. And having a reliable HR team only makes this process more efficient and seamless in every way possible.
More and more businesses are gaming up their onboarding programs to attract and retain talents. To get you started, we’ve strummed up 17 different activities – from affordable to elaborated. In other words, here are some ways to make your new hire’s first days and weeks unforgettable.
Let’s get started.
1. Creative videos for a warm welcome
Onboarding employees is a continuous process in any thriving organization. This makes it difficult to share company information to every new hire individually. Creating welcome videos versatile to every department and role can be of great help here.
You can benefit from plenty of services online that allow you to create short but effective videos in minutes. A nice welcome video will give the new hire a clear idea about your company’s ethos, culture, and goals, giving them a reason to stay.
It’s also important to mention that video production doesn’t have to be expensive. The fee you pay is a small price if it increases retention and makes the new hire feel welcome.
And lastly, don’t forget to share your video on your social media platforms. They’re a great place to reach new talent where they already are.
2. Invite new hires for lunch or an event
Food brings people together! Organising team lunches acts as an icebreaker amongst new hires and their colleagues. This also creates an opportunity to bond outside workspaces. And it eases the first day anxiety of an overwhelmed new employee. You can select any restaurant near your office, or ask your new hire to pick one of their choice.
Corporate events are not just about getting to know everyone formally, you can even make them fun! Organize a game night or a scavenger hunt that brings all your people together. It doesn’t have to be grand, as long as your employees are enjoying and connecting over topics besides work.
Such events are best guided by a group leader or an event manager. If it’s managed by HR, always ensure it doesn’t feel like a lot of work!
3. Send a care package full of goodies
Sending care packages is one of the easiest ways to impress your people. It can be anything from branded office supplies to a range of snacks. Whether your organization is working remotely or at the office, giving a bunch of sweets or savoury treats will swipe anyone off their feet.
There are many programs that let you send different food items to your remote employees. For example, Snacknation is a well-known platform offering a variety of fruits, snacks and beverages. You can create a one-time package for onboarding or sign up your employees for monthly packages.
If your employees are relocating from a different city, including a city guide would be a thoughtful addition. To take it a step further, you can create one yourself too! Include a list of restaurants, tourist attractions, or things-to-do that your existing employees strongly recommend.
This not only makes your new employee feel welcomed at their new job, but also ensures they feel comfortable living in a new city.
4. Gamify your orientation
It’s very important to make new hires feel at ease, especially when they are in a room full of unfamiliar faces. You can do this by including engaging activities or short games at the start and end of the orientation.
Activities like ping pong, wine tasting, and trivias are known to be good stress busters for new hires. They create a positive work environment and wellness amongst all your employees.
This doesn’t have to be anything mega or expensive! For example, you can create a puzzle that reveals what kind of animal each person is based on their personalities. This might sound silly at first glance, but it’s a great way for new hires to get some off work.
5. Host trivia nights or happy hours that solidify relationships
It’s time to get competitive on trivia nights! There are loads of games you can host online or in-person that require little equipment. All it takes is creativity and the right mindset. We’re talking about Bingo, Pictionary, Scattergories, or even charades.
Activities like these encourage teamwork and interaction between different departments within the company. This only makes your new hires feel comfortable during their first days, but also ensures they enjoy your workplace. You can take it further by sending out small prizes or trophies to the winning team.
6. Organise a scavenger hunt-cum-office tour
A scavenger hunt might seem like an old school activity at first. But it’s actually one of the most effective ways to familiarise the new hire with your office. The best part? It doesn’t require any money or planning ahead!
You simply create a list with clues that will take them all around your office so they can meet employees across different departments.
You could switch it up a bit and turn this into a competition. One where the winner gets to plan an activity during the onboarding! It’s not only an effective way of introducing new hires to their colleagues, but it also makes them feel like a part of your team from day one.
While this is a type of activity that is best done in a physical setting, there are also alternatives for remote employees. There are countless games online that you can play for free where the entire team can participate.
7. An online introduction call, but better
Encourage your new hires to take control over their first impression through a personalised introductory video. This acts as a great conversation starter amongst your new hires and existing colleagues. Having something to talk about besides work will bring your people closer, which will have a visible impact on their productivity.
Give them the freedom to use green screens, or quirky presentations. You can make it more interesting by bringing one of your employees to ask the new hire 73 questions (like how Vogue does it) and record it.
Some hints/ideas on what your new hire can talk about:
Where were they previously working
What are they looking forward to
What excites them
A quirky fact about themselves
8. Create Group Wellness Programs
Show support to all your employees with physical and mental health perks. Connect your team over fitness challenges, where they can support each other in more ways than just being colleagues. This will bring your people to step away from their desks and foster a healthy work environment.
The first few days at work are a perfect time to connect new hires over coffee dates. This will help you learn about their expectations, personality, working style, and so much more.
The universal love for coffee will open doors to interesting conversations. Schedule a blind date amongst your colleagues, or ask them to plan it out themselves. It shouldn’t matter whether you set it up on their first day or fourth since all employees should feel like a part of your organization from day one!
To ensure this is not a one time thing, you can give corporate membership cards of different cafes. This ensures they continue to bond in the coming weeks/months.
All employees need time to get used to their new roles and responsibilities, but they also deserve the opportunity of getting involved with everyone else as soon as possible.
10. Cook Together
This can be via Zoom, at your office, or you can organize it as an event. Sharing meals is an excellent team building activity. You can invite a chef to prepare the meal and have your people follow the instructions.
Make this a monthly or bi-monthly event where you celebrate different cuisines from cultures around the world. Of course, the scale of this event is largely dependent on your budget. You can do this in teams or include all employees at once.
Depending on the time and budget of the event, you can even invite your employees’ family members too. This makes it more fun and will encourage more employees to participate.
11. Follow a Mindful Monday routine
Most of the ideas mentioned here are team building activities. This one follows a different path of developing healthy habits. Include a mindful monday session into your every employees’ schedule. This can be a 15 minute meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
This will help your people gain control of their coming week, and set a calm tone for their workday. A study by Harvard mentioned such routines help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout.
As an employer, you will observe that employees who’re healthy and happier, will be more efficient and productive. Not to mention, it’s also easy to schedule and organize sessions that focus on your employees’ mental health.
12. Ask them to list three things they are looking forward to about joining your team
This is a great way of finding out more about your new employees and what they enjoy about their work. Ideally, this is better done on the first day, but you can also schedule it after you get to know them personally. Not only an icebreaker, asking such questions will ensure that everyone in your team shares similar views on work.
It doesn’t matter whether you ask this question in person, or over a video call. As an alternative, you could even create an auto-reply email for new hires with the same instructions.
It’s a great exercise to know your people at an individual level. On the other side, this allows newcomers to learn the right values of your organization. They will be able to demonstrate that they can do their job, and that you can rely on them with high-value tasks.
13. Schedule a Show and Tell
Something we did as kids, show and tell gives us a glimpse into the life of people. This is a super easy activity to follow if you’re working remotely. Ask your employees to share their hobbies, or a favourite place to work in their home.
You can create a collage of this and upload it on your office wall, or share it via company-wide email. Include a fun, interesting fact of your employee with their pictures. They make for great conversation starters at corporate social gatherings. And also makes newcomers feel like they’re a part of your family.
You can create a meme office wall where employees can create memes on one another based on these interesting facts. This is a light-hearted way to take the tension out of the new employee’s first days and weeks.
14. Create a welcome board
It can be not only funny, but also useful especially if there are many people working in your office, and a new hire needs to get to know them all quickly. It’s a great icebreaker and also helps them interact with more people, especially during these remote times.
Creating such a welcome board is not difficult since you could even print out pictures from Google or Facebook! You don’t have to ask everyone for one but it shouldn’t be too hard to get a few pictures.
15. Offer them free snacks in the break room
Offering new hires free snacks in the break room is one of the easiest ways to spark conversations. Such quick mid-work chats can help take mind off of work, and is a great place to make plans for future activities.
You can have a vending machine with a mix of healthy bites and candies. Or you could also offer smoothies and coffees at a subsidized rate.
As mentioned before, you can get something special from websites like Snacknation or you can just head to your local supermarket and stock up on a variety of snacks.
16. Have a welcome sign for a positive start
Although welcome signs are a traditional concept, they help create a valuable first impression. You can get as creative as you want to - from having a handwritten note to a quirky greeting card. If you’re feeling your new hire’s enthusiasm, greet them with a high-fi – it takes the formality out of the way. Such signs can also make people feel more comfortable about their surroundings.
17. Mix up your formats
For most companies, sending a list of documents is the first and the only step to their onboarding process. Although we understand the importance of getting all the necessary paperwork done, to nail your onboarding - we strongly recommend you to include engaging activities.
Once you think you’ve perfected your onboarding, brainstorm how you can mix different games/activities to give your newcomers a fresh start. Perhaps you can include a variety of team building, and self-learning formats.
Moreover, not every new hire will be the type that learns through reading, so it’s a good idea to offer different choices.
Videos are a great addition to your onboarding material stack. Unlike a document, a video allows you to make the content more dynamic and show your own personality. Besides learning more about your company, they get to hear your employees talk and express their passion for the job, department, and company.
While videos may take longer to prepare compared to a handbook, they have the advantage of being more interactive. At the same time, they can be reused in the same way as an article would be.
Contrary to the popular tradition, employee onboarding does not necessarily have to be the same old meet-and-greet that most companies follow. There are countless ways to make your onboarding process interesting, exciting and different from everything else out there. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and every detail counts towards the overall impression.
If you’re looking for a way to make your onboarding process more structured, streamlined and fun for your employees, we’d love to talk to you. Check out our free demo or talk to our experts for a consultation!
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Alex takes care of everything related to marketing and customer success at Zavvy. On this blog, he mainly shares insights gained from discussions with selected experts and from helping our customers set up and improve their onboarding program or learning programs.