The importance of new employee onboarding can be easily missed in the rush to get your team up to speed. That might not seem like a big issue, but it's a fact that the first few weeks at a new job can determine whether an employee will stay for the long term. One study claims employees are 69% more likely to stay at a company for up to three years if they attended an onboarding programme. Failing to have an onboarding strategy is a costly HR mistake. If you want to improve employee retention, you need to consider having creative onboarding activities for your new employees.
Normally, most employers and hiring managers fill the first few days with administrative tasks, health and safety videos and meetings with team leaders. While, this is important to do, it's not a fun way to start at a new company.
Job shadowing and a work's lunch is a nice way to break the ice and help new starters settle in but here are some more creative ways you can use to make a positive and lasting impression.
Lunch time quiz
Having drinks after work is a popular way to help new starters to get to know everyone, however, this isn't always easy to plan if many employees have other responsibilities after work. Instead, create a fun lunch time quiz. This gives the new starter the opportunity to work with their colleagues in a fun and relaxed environment.
Be creative with your quizzes and offer fun prizes.
Here's an idea: Rather than making your new starter watch multiple power points and videos about the company's history, you can incorporate it into your quizzes. It's a fun way to learn and it saves the new starter having to suffer through an hour-long video later.
A fun day out with the team
Of course this will depend on the size of your company/team. Team building activities outside the office gives new starters and employees a chance to work together in an informal setting.
- Crazy golf
- Escape rooms
Activities that encourage people to work as a team can help your new starter feel like part of the team faster and build new friendships quickly.
This may be difficult if your office is the size of one room.
If you've got plenty of space, then a scavenger hunt is an onboarding activity you must consider doing. Why? Because they're fun and it gives new starters an opportunity to fully explore their new workplace.
You can create a map which directs new starters around the workplace where they can find fun information about their new company (or even hidden gifts, like office stationery or other welcome gifts).
Create a welcome gift hamper
This is more of an activity for your current staff before the new starter arrives but your new employee will really appreciate this one.
Gift hampers are amazing gifts for new starters. They will appreciate the effort you've made and they won't forget receiving an incredible gift on their first day. Rather than just creating a hamper, you can get all your employees involved to create a personalised hamper.
Ask all employees to buy something for the hamper. This is an opportunity for all the staff to get involved and it can be a great conversation starter later on. For example, you can ask all employees to buy something they like to eat or do.
If the new starter has relocated from somewhere far away, then it would be nice to create a hamper of local treats, leaflets of what-to-do in the area and any other location-related gifts.
Why you need to make the effort when onboarding new starters
As already mentioned, the first few weeks are crucial for new starters. A bad start can create a negative impression of the company and increase the chances of new employees leaving within the first year. If they decide to leave, you will have to restart the process of hiring again which is an additional cost for the company.
By creating fun onboarding activities for new starters you can break the ice faster, help them settle into their role and show the company cares about them.
When creating an onboarding strategy, remember to include:
- Meetings and ice breakers with relevant managers
- Clear information on the new starter's roles and responsibilities: this will help improve a culture of accountability in your company
- Provide health and safety information
- Fun activities and team building exercises
Another positive benefit of having a creative onboarding strategy means it can attract top talent to your company. Today, more people care about company culture and how employees are treated. Millennials especially care more about company life, some think it's more important than their salary.
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