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12 Creative New Hire Orientation Ideas for 2021

Published November 30, 2020

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Helping new employees acclimate to your company isn’t always the easiest task. At first, it’s the basics: where to go, what to bring, what to do. Then it’s the company culture: how we operate, what values we hold, and our mission as an organization. And lastly, it’s the team: who are my colleagues, how can I work well with them professionally, and how to can I create meaningful personal relationships.

It’s the goal of the new hire orientation process to acclimate employees to all three of those elements simultaneously and quickly.

Go Beyond the Standard Onboarding Template

However, that’s not always easy and oftentimes the orientation process follows a cookie-cutter template of onboarding paperwork, PowerPoints, and 30-second intros that leave the new employees underwhelmed and eyes glazed over.

So, how can we help acclimate our new hires in a way that is interesting, inspiring, and effective?=

Well, first, we need to consider some fresh, creative ideas that show we care about them as a new team member but are also effective in achieving those informational, cultural, and social goals.

These 12 new hire orientation ideas will provide the perfect balance to help you keep it creative. 

1. Start with a Welcome Gift 

Emails and even handwritten notes are in, but companies like Twitter, which welcomes new employees with a gift box that includes items like t-shirts, water bottles, and bottles of wine, know that you can’t just rely on the basics anymore if want your company to stand out with employees. 

Join the trendsetters and send your new hires some of the essentials that will help them assimilate quickly into your company and culture.

Gift cards to coffee or lunch places in your area, t-shirts, water bottles, branded notebooks, books that highlight the company culture, and anything else you can think of!

Poppin has some great branding materials to get you started.

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2. Have Small Team Lunches

Think about it, how often have you ever actually connected on a deep level with anyone at a large team lunch? Maybe superficially, but it’s hard to leave feeling as though you truly know someone. For the most part, new hires feel as though they must network and mingle with the maximum number of people.

Small team lunches on the other hand are a unique way to onboard because you can help facilitate all your new hires getting to know people individually.

Have 3-4 of these if the hiring class is large and match people up so they can get to know people well over the lunch hour. 

3. Learn, Explore and Socialize with a Scavenger Hunt

We’re not talking about any old scavenger hunt. We’re talking about a technology-driven, team-building scavenger hunt that helps your new hires learn, explore, and interact with the people, places, and information in the workplace they’re joining.

The best place to do this is via Scavify – an app that allows you to complete challenges, answer trivia, record videos, and more. Split everyone into teams and get to it! It’s gamification to the max.

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4. Play ball Instead of Going for a Beer

Happy hour is an office classic, but if your office culture is doing something right, then you’ll have plenty of those in the future. Skip the beer and go for a ball game instead. Either play you’re own if your office is large enough or head out to a ballpark in your area so you can bond in a different way. Playing is a team building activity in it of itself. If you go to a baseball game, you’ll get everyone chatting and enjoying America’s favorite pastime.

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can look into renting out an actual minor league baseball stadium.

5. Seat your New Hires Strategically 

This is a great hack by Twitter that allows your new hires the comfort of a buddy on their first couple of days. Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you’re the only person who doesn’t know what’s going on and desperately wish you could just lean over to your neighbor to ask for help? If you’re seated next to a seasoned pro who’s ready to answer your questions, you can! Don’t sit all the new hires together. Split them up and allow them all to sit next to someone who can help guide them through their onboarding period. 

6. Give Your Employees a Week-by-week Guide

Who says transition stops after the first week? Not LinkedIn! There, you get a 90-day transition guide with week-by-week guidelines. That’s one way to ensure that your new hires feel supported all the way through the onboarding process and not just that first week when you’re really new.

To get started, check out Atlassian’s 90-day onboarding plan.

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7. Don’t Wait for the First Day, Use a Virtual Tour

Ernst & Young wants to make sure that their new hires have the best possible start. As part of their new hire orientation model, they send out communication that allows a virtual tour before the first day even begins. No more wondering where to go when the first day arrives – you’ve seen it all before.

Take a look at Google's intern introduction and tour video below.

8. Remember the Little Touches

At some point, your new hires will head to their desk, and it might be nice if it’s not completely empty. Free surprises are always welcome!

While not all companies have the budget to fill it with personal laptops or iPads, you can always fill it with a welcome card signed by co-workers. It’s all about the small touches when acclimating to a new environment. 

9. Have your Employees Fill out a Questionnaire 

Integrating your employees into the company doesn’t have to stop at onboarding.

Want to make them feel as though they’re truly part of the team? Have them fill out a questionnaire with their favorite candy, birthday, anniversary, family, favorite local restaurants, and any other useful information and then use it throughout the year. You can have fun items waiting at their desk or surprise them on their special days!

Check out some new hire survey templates from SurveyMonkey.

10. Play Virtual Bingo 

Have your new hires get to know the rest of the company with virtual bing. The bingo game could include all the names of different managers and supervisors that they can get coffee or lunch with. Provide prizes for the first employees to complete 5 in a row, so they can get to know more than just their peers. 

11. See the World Through Other Team Members Using a Shared Map

A fun exercise that brings out common experiences is displaying a map in the office and polling everyone where the most visited locations and most unique locations where everyone has been. It’s a great conversation starter and can help evoke memories at lunch or break time for those who share common experiences.

This is an unexpected, yet welcome team-building activity. 

12. Create and Feature your New Hires on a Blog 

Spotlighting individuals during new hire orientation can help all employees learn about each other. Have each new hire provide information about themselves that you write up and post online.

This helps introduce everyone to anyone new to the office and showcase anything unique about those you hired. It’s a great way to start conversations among coworkers as well!

Looking for More Ideas?

Check out:

1. 10 Team Building Activities for Remote Teams

2. 6 Easy and Effective Virtual Team Building Activities

3. 70+ Team Building Activities

Contact Scavify

Scavify is the world's most interactive and trusted scavenger hunt app. Contact us today for a demo, free trial, and pricing.

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