Onboarding Activities

Remember what your first day on the job was like? To many people, the first day of work feels like the first day of school all over again. It's nothing but jitters as you step into a new world, anxious about creating the right first impression. This is when your new employees need to step up and show you what they're worth.

While it's up to them to bring their A-game, an organization can do many things to make the first day of employee onboarding as accommodating as possible. This article will focus on five of the best activities you can plan for your new employees to help them settle into the workplace.

1. Have a buddy system

Consider what the first day of work is like for most employees. After the paperwork is filled out, they find themselves in a cubicle, unaware of the people they're surrounded by or where anything is. Many businesses need a proper employee onboarding process in place. So having a buddy system in place solves most initial problems new hires encounter. This is a simple system where new hires are assigned a mentor or buddy to help them learn the ropes to accelerate employee onboarding.

Your existing employees get to broaden their responsibilities while the new employee has a trusted ally they can observe and learn from.

Microsoft implemented the buddy system as part of their employee onboarding to rousing success, and they still use it in certain departments to this day.

2. The scavenger hunt

Another typical way new employees are introduced to an organization is with a visual presentation about the company. They're treated to all the past accomplishments of the business and its key personnel with a standard flowchart as part of their employee onboarding process. This information usually goes in one ear and out the other for most people.

In contrast, the scavenger hunt makes meeting different work-family members engaging and entertaining. This hunt involves a series of questions and trials that send the new employees through the company's most important areas.

This gives them a pretence to meet different people at all company levels. This allows more open communication and interactions between everyone. The faster new employees become accustomed to existing employees and departments, the better overall communication between departments becomes.

3. Two truths and one lie

It's not easy to get people to come out of their shells. New employees are often anxious about being in the spotlight, making it difficult to organize engaging employee onboarding activities. Two truths and one lie allow people to analyze and think as much as it allows them to engage with one another.

It's a simple game that makes people think about the person in front of them. Each person introduces two plausible truths and one lie and makes the others guess which statement is the lie.

Not only does this game get people thinking and talking, but it also exposes people to different cultures and hobbies as they try to play it.

4. The selfie challenge

The selfie challenge takes a regular employee onboarding activity and sprinkles some gamification on top of it. While technology usually adds an unnecessary layer to the equation of human interaction, smartphones can help.

This challenge involves new hires breaking into teams. Their challenge is to head out towards different departments and offices to take selfies next to people and places important to the company.

The selfie challenge is often a race against time where the fastest team wins a prize. You can make this even more interesting by adding challenges and restrictions to further expand it into a team-building activity.

5. The entry interview

Exit interviews can be sad and serious affairs, yes. But entry interviews are severely underrated fun ways to kickstart the employee onboarding process. Ask your new employees questions like, "What's a superpower you've always wanted in real life?" Or, "What would your supervillain lair be like?"

Your questions should be quirky and interesting enough to warrant at least a few minutes of thought.

Not only do fun questions get your employees to release anxiety, but they can also help you understand their values so you can know how they can be managed better.

You can ask them how they'd prefer to be left to a task — with plenty of instructions or completely free-reign. This game doubles as a way for management to understand its most valuable assets. And since an entry interview is conducted after the job interview, there's much less nervousness and stakes involved.

Your employees will be more willing to share personal thoughts and opinions since the job interview process is over and done. Done correctly, the entry interview is more than just a tool for employee onboarding. It's a powerful method to gain insight into who your employees really are.