Updated: December 29, 2022

18 Onboarding Ideas for Employees

Here is our list of fun onboarding ideas for employees.

Onboarding is the process used to integrate new hires into an organization. This process includes activities that enable new associates to complete the new-hire orientation phase. Yet, onboarding also helps new employees learn more about the company’s structure, mission, vision, values, and culture. Some companies structure their onboarding process to consist of a day or two of activities, while others may feature activities spanning several months.

This article includes:

  • Ideas for employee onboarding
  • Remote team onboarding ideas
  • Virtual onboarding program ideas

Here is the list!

List of onboarding ideas

Here are some of our favorite ideas for onboarding employees.

1. Give New Employees a Welcome Gift

New hire welcome gifts can be something small, like a gift card to a local restaurant, or it can be something cooler such as company swag for the employees to use. The truth is that people love getting welcome gifts. A welcome gift is an excellent way to introduce the new hire to the office culture, which is a big reason companies like Google and Facebook make this investment. Welcome gifts can include:

  • Company apparel
  • A laptop or other tech gear
  • Food vouchers
  • Pens and other office supplies
  • Branded swag boxes

And many other items too!

2. Schedule a Lunch

You can schedule a lunch for the new hire, their team, and the manager overseeing their duties. This small gesture allows the group to meet and chat more casually. The luncheon can occur either before their first day or even on that day. Moreover, the lunch can be in a physical or online setting. Regardless of where the food is shared, the important thing is that the meal happens.

3. Host a Happy Hour

Hosting a happy hour for new hires is a great way to connect with them. Perhaps the best part of this onboarding idea is that hosting an office happy hour is one of the best ways to connect new hires with existing employees. Everyone that attends  will have a casual setting where people find it easier and more comfortable to get to know each other. Sometimes, all it takes is a fun atmosphere and a little time to make even the quietest person come out of their shell.

4. Allow New Hires a Chance to Unwind Before Their First Day

A few tech companies give their new hires a pre-start vacation after accepting the position. With this benefit, the employees are given a certain amount of time or money to enjoy a relaxing holiday, so they come to work prepared and refreshed.

Your company may not have the same resources as large tech companies, but you can still find ways to give your new hires a refreshing start. For example, have the employee start work in the middle of the week as a way to ease into their new position.

Another effort you can do is have the new hire start work later in the morning, such as around 10 or 11 AM, so they are less overwhelmed with the process. Getting a later start is also a great way to help new team members avoid the morning commute for a few days.

5. Take Them on a Virtual Tour

If your new hires are remote team members, they may still have to have a presence at the office. An excellent way to get these staff more familiar with the office is by creating 360-degree videos of essential areas. Filming a few videos gives remote team members an idea of what the company’s office space looks like and prevents them from feeling so lost when they visit.

6. Make The First Day Memorable

If you have several new hires, schedule them to start work on the first day and then take a small break from normal business. Utilize this time to show the onboarding team members around, introduce them to their colleagues, and participate in something exciting.

One key point to avoid is boring new hires with lengthy presentations. You need to give the new hires enough information so that they feel welcome. Plan an unusual event to make the onboarding process more fun on the first day. Such events can include:

  • Virtual escape rooms
  • An office scavenger hunt
  • A game of Two Truths and a Lie
  • An outdoor picnic
  • Bar Crawl

The list of events above not only serves as a great way to connect everyone, but they are also practical team-building activities. Thus, the company is properly welcoming new hires and helping connect the team.

7. Take Employee Photos

If you work at a large corporation, then new hires will go through weeks of just learning everyone’s names. To make the process easier, you can take new and existing employees’ photos and put their names on the pictures to cut down on some awkwardness.

The other effort you can make is to take team photos. The picture can give the new hire a starting point for remembering their colleagues’ names, and it serves as a way to commemorate the team’s first day together.

8. Create a Social Media Campaign

Capitalize on the excitement of your new hires by encouraging them to send over a couple of photos of themselves. You can then use these photos to post on your organization’s social media pages to allow your audience to meet them.

9. Build a Welcome Kit

Among the most creative onboarding ideas for new employees is providing them with a comprehensive welcome kit. This kit should focus on helping new employees understand the business workings, so they feel valued and comfortable.

A new hire welcome kit can include the following:

  • Office maps and an organizational chart
  • A copy of the employee handbook
  • Information about the company’s mission, values, culture, and vision
  • Helpful information about dress code, parking, popular nearby lunch spots, general working hours, etc.

You can include more personalized items in the welcome kit too.

10. Give Remote Workers a Workstation Upgrade Budget

Remote workers need to feel appreciated too. However, finding ways to effectively onboard remote employees can be tricky. One way to motivate these team members is to give them a budget to upgrade their home workstation.

The truth is that working from home often forces employees to find their own workstations. In fact, these employees may  find themselves working in their bedroom at the same desk they have had for years. Hence, these team members may not have break rooms, comfy chairs, or a fantastic view of downtown.

Providing these team members with a specific budget to invest in their home workspace enables them to get a better chair, monitor, desk, or whatever else it is that they need to feel comfortable.

11. The Buddy System

Creating a buddy system may help new hires feel less isolated or lonely during their first couple of weeks. The buddy can show new team members the ropes and help them navigate the socialization process. Having a buddy is also an excellent way to help the new hire learn the organization’s “unwritten rules.” Not to mention, the buddy may grow into a support system for the employee well outside of the onboarding process.

12. Rotate New Hires Amongst Leaders

It is essential for new associates to familiarize themselves with organizational management, but that also works both ways. An excellent onboarding idea for employees is to set up meetings for groups of new hires and their direct managers. This time can allow higher-ups to share tips, stories, and experiences that may encourage new hires to adjust to their new roles easier.

13. Host a Virtual Q&A

When onboarding numerous people at once, it may make sense to open a forum and clear up confusion with a virtual Q&A at the end of the process. Sure, your company did the best it could to create a comprehensive onboarding process, but some new hires may still have lingering questions.

Rather than dealing with all queries as they come, being proactive and hosting a live Q&A is an effective and easy way to get the whole team on the same page. Just be sure to give everyone a few days to compile a list of questions they wish to ask.

14. Rookie Cookie Program

A simple and creative onboarding idea is to encourage new hires to engage in a “Rookie Cookie” program. This process involves the person bringing a baked good into their first day of work. The new hire has to place the treat on their desk, and the benefit is that it motivates colleagues to welcome the person and introduce themselves. Rookie Cookie is perhaps the tastiest way to encourage a meet and greet in the office.

15. Office Scavenger Hunt

Companies looking for a unique and exciting way to familiarize new hires with the office layout can consider organizing a scavenger hunt. This game is engaging and requires new hires to visit with other staff members to collect rewards or answers. New associates may enjoy learning the office layout in such an interactive manner.

Moreover, a scavenger hunt is an excellent way to encourage new associates to meet colleagues in other departments and learn their names. As a bonus, this activity is an easy way to take the awkwardness out of instructions and create a sense of togetherness.

16. Incorporate Quizzes

Many new hires finish their first week overwhelmed with new faces and information. A great way to make learning about your company and industry more fun is to turn this information into a game. New hires will have fun and remember to pay attention, as they never know when you wi’ll surprise them with a short quiz.

17. Let Employees Choose Hardware

If you provide employees with technology and do not have strict guidelines on hardware, ask the new hire what they prefer. For example, if you are providing an employee with a work phone, then ask if they would like Android or iOS. You can even ask this preference with company-issued laptops. Either way, allowing the new associate to have a say in the matter will help them feel appreciated and involved.

18. Ice Breaker Games

When it comes to onboarding ideas for employees, the best ones are often those that incorporate fun into the new experience. There are many games that companies add to their onboarding process. Some examples of games include Two Truth and a Lie, Lost on a Deserted Island, Five Favorites, Would You Rather, and Never Have I Ever. The benefit of icebreaker games is that they can enhance any onboarding experience for both in-office and remote workers.


The onboarding process is crucial to the success of a new hire. When companies take the time to create comprehensive onboarding strategies, the new associates are better equipped to handle their position. Taking this step not only makes it easier for the new employees to learn company policies and goals, but it also enables them to meet colleagues less awkwardly. There are many onboarding ideas that you can incorporate into your strategy; the most important thing is ensuring all new hires are comfortable and take value from the process.

FAQ: Onboarding ideas

Here are some common questions and answers about onboarding ideas for new employees.

What are onboarding activities?

Onboarding activities are games and ideas to welcome new hires to the team. Examples of onboarding activities include hosting a live Q&A, playing icebreaker games, and giving them company swag. These activities are designed to introduce new hires to the company and welcome them to the team.

What should employee onboarding include?

New employee onboarding is the formal process of teaching a new hire about the company’s vision, values, mission, and structure. This time also enables employees to review the handbook, complete new hire paperwork, attend training, and generally learn the procedures. The onboarding process should be effective yet fun and engaging to welcome the new additions to the team.

How can I make onboarding more fun?

Many companies find that the onboarding process is more effective when the person feels valued and appreciated from the start. You can make the onboarding process more fun by adding elements such as games, scavenger hunts, happy hours, luncheons, or anything that provides a casual atmosphere for getting to know each other. Moreover, incorporating the entire team and other departments is an excellent way to make your organization feel connected.

What do new hires want from onboarding?

New employees want the onboarding process to teach them about the processes and tools required for them to succeed. New associates usually have many questions about information such as the company culture and protocols. Having a comprehensive onboarding process helps employees learn what they want to know and engagingly welcomes them.

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Content Expert at teambuilding.com.

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