Employee orientation can be awkward. You’ve hired a person or group of people who are trying to acclimate to a new environment. You want that transition to be as easy and natural as possible–so you’ll need to do some employee orientation exercises that can help them get to know other employees and help veteran employees get to know them.
Remember that orientations are only as good as the people you hire! Use a staffing solution to expand your options and hire the right person. Know exactly what you’re looking for? Request talent, and we’ll send a pool of applicants your way.
Importance of Good Onboarding
Employees feel valued based on the ways that they are treated from the very beginning. If someone starts at a place where they don’t feel valued or appreciated in their role, it can be very hard to turn this presupposition around. Our expectations of future emotions and experiences are formed in large part by what we experience early.
Good onboarding accomplishes a few different things:
- Acclimate to the work environment. The work environment is formed in part through the employee expectation of the work environment. When creating workplace culture and environment, leveraging employee expectations will be critical to running it well.
- Forge the beginning of relationships. Nobody becomes best friends in a week of corporate sponsored events. But the beginnings of great work friendships can form during the orientation process.
- Proactively increase employee retention. Onboarding is directly related to retention success. Employee retention requires that employees have sustainable lifestyles, meaningful work to do, and enough value in the company through monetary and social compensation. If these things are met, you increase the odds that you retain an employee. And retention is worth a lot of money.
- Form effective, efficient employees. The onboarding process helps employees learn their jobs and the relevant parts of company life that will help them succeed.
Great Employee Orientation Exercises and Events
New Employee Welcome Kit Ideas
One way to show appreciation is to use some new employee welcome kit ideas to put together a nice gift for their first week. If the employee has a desk or an office, that kit might include essentials for the office that they haven’t had time to buy yet.
A welcome kit might include things like sparkling water, an extra phone charger, snacks for the office, a gift card to a local spot that people in the company like, a company t-shirt, decorations for the desk, and office supplies. A welcome kit is a fun and simple way for employees to get practical things that show them that they are valued. It is relatively inexpensive, and a great way to invest in your employees.
Fun Onboarding Ideas
The orientation process is absolutely critical to forming an effective employee. Onboarding processes can include things like:
- Meals. Let people share food that they love and conversation and friendship are two things that flow naturally.
- Presentations. Get employees engaged with the way that the company speaks, acts, thinks, and feels.
- Relevant training. This goes far beyond the day-to-day tasks of the job. Help them understand the culture of the company. Where is the coffee pot? How are dishes handled? What is the layout of the office?
- Relationships. Don’t force it, but give your employees ample opportunities to connect to people that they work with early on.
- Events and games. While these don’t form the backbone of an effective onboarding process, a few well-placed company sponsored nights out or office games can allow people to get comfortable and express themselves.
Sample Orientation Exercises
Use exercises that are in line with your company culture. If it feels authentic, the exercises will be helpful for everyone. Don’t do anything you personally wouldn’t want to do.
- Ask everyone in the office to bring in an object that helps explain who they are, and have them talk about the object.
- Daytime sports break. Sponsor a company lunch and sports viewing for everyone in the office.
- Two truths and a lie. Have everyone tell two truths about themselves and one lie, and have everyone try to figure out what they are.
- Company speed dating. Make sure it isn’t actually romantic! Have people spend a couple hurried minutes talking to someone else in the office.
- If it’s a smaller company, ask the person what they like to do. Get to know them a bit and then sponsor an event that they love that everyone in the company goes to. It might be a coffee shop, a bookstore where everyone gets a free book, a concert, or a dinner at a place they love. This can be an effective way to get everyone excited about the personality of the new employee.
What Should an Employee Orientation Program Include?
A new hire orientation presentation is an effective way to help employees get used to the new work environment. You can communicate business goals, show of the different work areas, and use it as a system that introduces new employees to senior managers.
Engagement is something that you begin to gain or lose on day one. What helps make employees engaged? A mission and vision that they believe in, and a mission and vision that are clearly connected to the day to day tasks that they perform can help increase engagement and set the stages for sucess. If they can connect what they do each week with the big vision of the company, and the big vision of the company inspires them, that’s employee engagement and motivation operating at a ground level.
An employee orientation program should have the ultimate goal of helping new employees understand the vision and fit into the vision and mission of the company. The orientation period allows employees to engage with a variety of training programs and gain the big picture of the company.
A huge mistake that employers can make is putting things into the presentation that they don’t actually care about, but that they simply think should be in the orientation program. Obviously, HR can help guide the things that are necessary, but beyond that, get creative. Workplaces and companies are changing. Want to drive effective training programs? Pretend that you’re the employee, and don’t do things that are unhelpful. Don’t say things in ways that are boring or meaningless, and don’t be boring or too long with the presentation. Pretend that you are the audience. What matters to you?
Sample New Employee Orientation
So, what might the new employee orientation process look like from start to finish? While it’s too hard to offer standardized timings of the process, a complete process might involve this cluster of things:
- Lunch with people in the office. Making friends is tough. Making work friends can be really tough.
- Company sponsored night out. This might include a trip to a bar, or it might be dinner at a fancy restaurant. Do something that you personally love and that your friends in the office love, and invite people to join you. If you don’t love it, nobody will.
- “Welcome to Our Company” presentation — it doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to include irrelevant information about the history of the company. Let a few different people talk about what the company means and how new employees can learn the systems that make the company effective.
- Employee development meeting. Employee orientation exercises fail when they don’t include a vision of the future development of the employee. Use an employee development plan template to help the new employee create goals and growth plans. If they can’t see the future, they won’t be engaged in the present.
- Training. Yes, employee training is really important during the orientation process. Good employee training will allow the people you’ve just hired to get help wherever they need it. Identify things that need to be trained and work on them. Skip the things that they already know.