New Hire Orientation: 12 Fun Ideas To Get Staff Started

From handshakes to handbooks, personalize onboarding to create a great first impression.

By Alyssa Zacharias  •   May 28, 2024  •   7 min read

After weeks of evaluating and interviewing job candidates, you’ve found the best fit. Now it’s time to acclimate them to the company culture and processes. To do this, you need an exceptional new hire orientation plan. 

Orientation typically includes tasks like addressing HR paperwork, clarifying company policies and job expectations, and introducing new coworkers. These processes should be informative, valuable, and accommodate various learning styles and personalities.

Learn more about why orientation matters, plus explore several new hire orientation ideas to calm nerves and start the relationship off strong.

The importance of new hire orientation

Effective onboarding sets new hires up for success and improves retention rates. A 2023 study found that 80% of new hires who felt poorly onboarded planned to quit their jobs. Quickly losing new hires is costly, sure, but it also damages your internal company culture and external reputation.

Offering an efficient, informative, and welcoming onboarding experience also makes people feel valued. You show you care about their time (not dragging out the onboarding process or causing brain fatigue with too much information) and about how well-equipped they feel to do great work.

And treating your staff like people first and employees second shows you’re committed to their wellbeing—career-wise and beyond. Set this tone from day one by making onboarding more fun and less overwhelming, which leads to happier and harder working team members.

12 fun ways to welcome new employees

Help new hires get up and running using these 12 creative onboarding ideas.

1Provide welcome packages

Greet employees with a welcome package to get them ready for their first day. Provide company essentials like the employee handbook and relevant technology setup guides. You can also offer an onboarding checklist or agenda to give them a sense of what to expect in the first few weeks.

Include fun gifts to make them feel excited to work with you. Consider offering company swag, like a comfy sweatshirt or high-quality drink tumbler. You could also give something practical like a multi-device desk charger. Another nice touch is a handwritten note from managers and coworkers to welcome new hires to the team.

2Invite current employees to share their experiences

New employees want to hear from people “on the ground,” so to speak—not just from managers. Include recently hired teammates and more seasoned ones in welcome meetings (keeping sessions to about eight attendees to avoid overwhelming new hires). The former will easily recall what it’s like to start working and offer insights on navigating that challenge. The latter can chat about how they’ve grown with the company (and how the company changed as it scaled). 

This chat offers new hires a chance to ask questions and get a better idea of the company’s history, culture, and professional development opportunities.

3Create a company culture presentation

Looking for presentation ideas for new hire orientation? Understanding a company’s culture can be challenging, especially for new employees. And simply stating company values isn’t often enough—the way your team demonstrates these values via their actions truly shows your company culture. For instance, a cultural pillar might be transparency. That’s great in theory, but sharing how hosting regular check-ins with external stakeholders gained you the trust to kick off a lofty project more effectively illustrates this.

Consider creating a show-and-tell presentation explaining how the company’s values and mission drive tangible business results. Include brief introductions from various employees about who they are, why they love working at the company, and what accomplishments they’re most proud of in their roles.

If you do this remotely or with hybrid teams, use Fellow’s collaborative meeting notes app so new employees can see how meetings are structured and add their questions ahead of time. They’ll be involved without feeling the pressure of coming up with questions in the moment.

4Plan fun icebreaker activities

Introverts might feel uncomfortable when they hear “icebreaker,” so look for options that foster participation organically and inclusively. Here are some ideas to get conversations flowing:

  • Two truths and a lie: Each person shares two facts and one lie about themselves, and the rest of the group has to guess the lie.
  • Photo sharing: Everyone shares a photo of something meaningful to them, such as a vacation spot, their pet, or their family.
  • Questions from a hat: Come up with a bunch of questions to distribute at random. A mixture of offbeat and insightful prompts can keep it interesting, ranging from “What movie would you never watch again?” to “If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?”

5Host department and role-specific trivia challenges

Gamify learning about the job as a fun way to welcome new employees, which also serves as a refresher for existing staff. Work with department heads to determine what knowledge or skills you want to highlight and develop a fun way of acquiring this information, like crafting questions (true/false or multiple choice) about a particular role that a new hire could figure out.

6Organize a virtual scavenger hunt of company resources

Your company might have an online hub for employee resources, like benefits information, reimbursement forms, and department directories. Make up a fun way to teach a new employee how to find that information. Develop a list of common tasks (“I want to submit a vacation request”), as well as questions an employee might have (“What are our insurance provider’s qualifying life events?”). This helps the new hire know where to get answers and also highlights how you can improve information documentation.

7Schedule a one-on-one weekly manager meeting

One-on-one meetings are a valuable way for employees and their manager to connect. You can use these sessions to set expectations and suss out potential growing pains or skills to foster. Fellow has a wealth of one-on-one meeting templates to work from, including an agenda for the first chat.

8Pair new hires with mentors

Your long-time employees have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, so tap into that reservoir. New hires may adapt faster when they have structured mentor meetings with those who are doing similar work. These discussions encourage human connection and better work relationships, in turn fostering higher engagement levels.

9Schedule virtual coffee meetups with team members

After a company orientation ends, existing employees settle back into their grooves, but a new hire may still feel lost. This is especially true when onboarding remote employees since they won’t see people around an office every day. Look ahead at the new hire’s first few weeks and pre-schedule them for casual coffee meetings with teammates to foster connection.

10Pair new hires with lunch buddies for their first week

You’ve likely seen this often in movies and TV shows: the new kid at school sitting alone at the lunch table. If you’re an onsite company, avoid putting your new hire in this position. Proactively ensure they feel included by setting up rotating lunch partners as part of your onboarding process. Like coffee meetups, this is a simple yet effective way to get to know each other.

11Offer workshops on professional and personal development

Growth sessions benefit all employees, but it’s great to stress your company’s growth mindset from the get-go. Offer a professional development stipend and share a calendar of growth events with new hires to showcase how much you care about empowering employees from the start.

12Do an “entry” interview

You’ve heard of exit interviews, but what about entry interviews? This is a similar concept to the “pre-mortem” meeting some firms perform before tackling new projects. You’ll host this session soon after a new hire is onboarded to better understand how to improve the process. 

In this call, you might ask questions like:

  • How long did it take you to gain access to the tools you needed to perform your responsibilities?
  • Were you ever socially overwhelmed during the onboarding process? If so, when?
  • What was your favorite part of the onboarding process? Least favorite?

Set new hires up for success with Fellow

These creative new hire ideas work best when paired with the right onboarding tools and meeting templates. Fellow’s all-in-one meeting transcription and management software streamlines onboarding, fosters team collaboration, and ensures seamless knowledge transfer for remote and hybrid teams. 

Plus, Fellow’s recording library makes it easy for new hires to watch previous team meetings, town halls, and presentations so they have the context they need to better understand the company’s processes and culture. 

Fellow empowers executives to lead impactful orientation sessions that start new hires off on the right foot.

  • shopfiy
  • uber
  • stanford university
  • survey monkey
  • arkose labs
  • getaround
  • motorola
  • university of michigan
  • webflow
  • gong
  • time doctor
  • top hat
  • global fashion group
  • 2U
  • lemonade
  • solace
  • motive
  • fanatics
  • gamesight
  • Vidyard Logo