5 Fun Employee Onboarding Ideas to Engage Your New Hires

Why Employee Onboarding Is so Important

The first few days at a new job can be both exciting and overwhelming for new hires. To make the onboarding experience more engaging and memorable, many organizations are turning to creative approaches.

The onboarding process is a critical phase for welcoming and integrating new hires into your organization. But traditional onboarding can often be perceived as dull and paperwork-heavy. To ensure that your new employees start their journey with enthusiasm and a sense of belonging, it’s essential to infuse fun and excitement into the process. In this blog post, we’ll explore seven creative onboarding ideas that will engage and excite your new hires.

According to a study conducted by Octanner, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.

Make Your Employee Onboarding Process Engaging

Your employee onboarding plan is the first impression your organization gives new hires. However, many companies make the mistake of focusing almost entirely on key onboarding components areas like productivity and compliance. Your new hire onboarding process might involve a few checklists, but it doesn’t have to make the employee feel like a checklist item.

Fun employee onboarding and efficient employee onboarding do not have to be mutually exclusive; you can set the tone for employee satisfaction and engagement by creating an enjoyable, personalized onboarding process that doesn’t forego your standard procedures. 

With that in mind, here are five fun onboarding ideas to engage and excite new team members:

1. Onboarding Trivia

Onboarding trivia is a great way to help your new hires retain key information and learn more about your company in a unique way. The premise is simple: put your new hire’s knowledge to the test by curating key information and fun facts into a trivia roundup. 

Be sure to incorporate a balanced mix of trivia questions. Otherwise, you run the risk of delivering something that feels more like a test or quiz. Stumped on where to start? Consider the following formula: 

  • 40% position/role questions (provided by manager)
  • 30% company questions
    • Fun facts
    • Real facts
  • 20% HR/procedural questions
  • 10% just-for-fun questions

Here’s an example of what this onboarding trivia breakdown might look like for a marketing new hire here at People Element: 

  • Job Role Question: How does People Element define an MQL
  • HR/Process Question: What platform would you use to request time off?
  • Just-for-Fun Question: On average, how many jokes does Cary tell during weekly company huddles?
  • Company Questions:
    • Company Question (Fun): What percentage of People Element staff have been with us for more than 10 years?
    • Company Question (Fact): Which of the following employee engagement services are not offered at People Element?

Regardless of your needs and budget, there are a wide variety of trivia tools to choose from —from fully-customizable trivia platforms to simple survey tools, there’s a solution for everyone. Here are a few options to consider:

  • TriviaMaker
  • CrowdPurr
  • QuizBreaker
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Google Forms
  • TypeForms

Onboarding Personalization Tip: Upon completion, ask your new hire to choose a few “Just-for-Fun” questions for the next new hire.

2. Team-Building Ice Breakers

Icebreakers are synonymous with new hire onboarding. Icebreakers help your existing team members get to know new team members and vice versa. This tried-and-true onboarding method allows your staff to get to know one another in an informal setting and can have a positive impact on your overall company culture. 

Most importantly, there are plenty of icebreaker questions and icebreaker formats to suit your needs. For instance, the People Element team hosts casual Q&A sessions for new hires. During this virtual meeting, our newest employee chooses a question or two for the entire team to answer in popcorn-style fashion (and answers it themselves!). 

A simple Google search will yield plenty of icebreaker ideas for you to start with and many organizations choose onboarding icebreakers that change each time.

Onboarding Personalization Tip: Ask your new hire to share an activity of their choosing ahead of your icebreaker session.

3. Onboarding Scavenger Hunt

An onboarding scavenger hunt is a unique way to give your incoming employees a fun introduction to their new role. An on-site scavenger hunt is straightforward; use your office space as a base and set up clues and challenges in break rooms, common areas, offices, and even in the surrounding areas of your building. 

Remote scavenger hunts can be slightly more challenging but are equally as fun. You use both virtual and real-world tasks on your remote scavenger hunt list. For example: 

  • What page of the Employee Handbook talks about tech allowance? Submit a picture of a product covered under the Tech Allowance Program. 
  • Identify the employee whose favorite song involves flowers
  • Which team member celebrated their birthday most recently?
  • Share a photo of your favorite place to relax
  • Submit an short introduction video and share 3 fun facts about yourself (under 1 minute)
  • Unscramble a photo puzzle of our team as fast as you can (choose from a variety of online puzzle generators)

As you can see, you can get as creative as you’d like. Custom scavenger hunt apps and tools like Scavify make it easy for organizations to create a branded and organized hunt. Use these tools to streamline photo and answer submissions, track time records, and create multiple events.

Onboarding Personalization Tip: Tailor clues and challenges to the new hire based on what you’ve learned about them prior to and during the onboarding process.

For instance, if your new hire mentioned enjoying astrology, you might ask them to send a photo of the animal that represents a particular astrological sign.

4. Send Them a Welcome Package

Welcome packages are a thoughtful way to express gratitude and appreciation for new hires. Ideally, your welcome package will arrive before or within three days of their start date. 

This starts them off on a good note, can leave a lasting impression, and reinforces your emphasis on company culture. Here are a few things you can include in your welcome package: 

  • Company swag
  • Cool tech gear add-ons
  • Printed employee handbook
  • Desk fidget toys
  • Small gift card

Onboarding Personalization Tip: During the onboarding process, ask them a few questions that help your team curate a personalized welcome package. For example, you might add their favorite snack to the welcome package. Another effective way to personalize your package is to include a handwritten welcome letter.

5. Host a Themed Lunch

Arrange an in-person or themed lunch break with your new hire and the rest of your team. Share a gift card for DoorDash, UberEats, or any food vendor of your choice. Vote on a theme and encourage people to join with theme related accessories or virtual backgrounds. 

A good theme to start with is “Favorite/Dream Vacation Destination.” Diverse themes give everyone on the team a chance to learn more about their colleagues and what they enjoy outside of work hours. During your lunch session, each team member shares a little background on their destination and meal of choice.

Onboarding Personalization Tip: Let your new hire choose the theme!

Effective onboarding is about more than just paperwork and compliance. It’s a chance to make a lasting impression on your new hires and set the stage for a successful and fulfilling journey with your company. 

By incorporating fun and engaging activities, you can create an onboarding experience that excites and motivates new employees, helping them feel like valued members of the team from day one.

More about People Element 

In order to truly understand and inspire your employees, you must listen and engage them at every step of their journey with your organization. Regardless of where your people are at in the employee journey, People Element’s employee survey platform can help you connect. They make it easy to ask, listen and act on what matters most, resulting in a healthier, more successful workplace. Request a demo today. 

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