Onboarding new employees is a crucial component of hiring – and keeping – top talent. A defined and effective onboarding process can help you better retain your new hires (by nearly 50 percent) and help them get up to speed quicker. This often results in greater productivity and positivity at your office. But onboarding should also be fun! 

As evidence, take Glassdoor, a popular online job board. As part of its internal onboarding, the company surveys new hires following their orientation. What do new hires want most out of their onboarding experience? One of the top remarks was engaging games like icebreaker activities or scavenger hunts. It’s not that hard to do, either. Here, we look at a few ways that your HR team can integrate fun and games into your onboarding process for a smooth and memorable introduction.

Set a Clear Calendar for Onboarding

As an HR professional, you probably know that onboarding is never done after day one. It may take your new hire several weeks or months to complete a set of training goals and learn various systems or processes. Why not make this long-term orientation a little clearer to your new employee with a calendar approach? Consider creating a number of onboarding tasks that new staff need to complete within the first 1, 10, 20, 30 and 60 days and sharing this with your new hire as a calendar or checklist. This could be things like taking a tour of the entire facility (day 1), completing insurance or benefit selections (day 10) or getting fully trained on a tool like Salesforce or Outlook (30 days).

The second step is to add a little fun. In addition to practical or necessary onboarding goals, add in a few more frivolous tasks, like “find someone who shares your birthday (day 15)” or “have lunch (on your boss) with someone from another team (20 days)” to encourage socialisation. For each group of tasks or levels they complete, gift your new hire a special reward, perhaps a range of customised items featuring the name and logo of the company. These gifts could increase in perceived value at every increment. So, perhaps on day 1 they receive a button badge or funny medal, on day 10 they receive a notebook and pen and on day 30 or 60 (or later), you could gift a bespoke fleece jacket.

Race to the Top of the Leaderboard

Take a note from Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods and try out a leaderboard at your company! Friendly competition is a great way to improve your onboarding program and motivate your employees, new and old. Leaderboards are a great idea as they’re physical and visible, and can be hung in shared places around your office, such as a café or conference room. You could list out top performers on a weekly or monthly basis, especially if your team is responsible for any sort of sales numbers or goals. Another idea is to group people by seniority or job function, and pit a friendly contest between the old and new guard. This can boost team spirit as well as keep your new hires motivated and performing at their peak. Another idea is a new hire trivia contest, which is a great channel for the entire office to get to know the new team member on a personal level. 

Global e-commerce company, Etsy, is a great example. All new hires in leadership roles enter into an Etsy “Bootcamp” in which new employees rotate through different teams in the company to get to know others and develop personal ties. Or get creative like UK company Perkbox, which lets new hires push a beer trolley around the office to hand out beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to current employees. Talk about making a great first impression with your colleagues!

As with milestone goals, consider creating a range of special prizes to award to the top performers. This could be small or quirky tokens such as a soft PVC rubber keying or a coveted, higher-ticket items such as a bespoke stainless steel and bamboo wine set.

Reward Accomplishments

Recognition also goes a long way to motivate employees. Reward new hires for their early accomplishments, such as hitting their first sales target, completing a complex certification or finishing a multi-day training exercise. You can even reward them for completing the onboarding programme itself! Personalised gifts such as badges, keyrings, and bags are cost-effective, yet highly appreciated. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to recognise your longer-term employees. Consider personalised, high-end gifts to recognise long-standing employees with service awards for 10, 20 or 30-year anniversaries with the company. Classic “executive” items might include cufflinks, a high-end picnic basket or a luxury faux leather laptop bag.

We hope this post helps inspire you to refresh your onboarding process a bit. Not only will your new hires appreciate it, but it’s a great opportunity to showcase the personality and culture of your company.  

How else do you welcome new hires to your company? Or what have been your own onboarding experiences to date, good or bad? Please reach out and let us know! Together, we can help you come up with a unique, fun and effective welcome strategy to set your team up for long-term success.