A group of office employees welcome a new colleague with flowers and a present.
Your employee onboarding experience sets the tone for a new hire's first day. How your organization welcomes and trains a new employee is key in cultivating employee loyalty. — Getty Images/EMS-FORSTER-PRODUCTIONS

Onboarding is a vital part of employee retention. But like some team-building exercises (trust falls, anyone?), traditional onboarding activities can be annoying rather than engaging. These five activities, however, help make onboarding fun for new employees and seasoned veterans alike — all while providing key information your new hire needs to succeed.

Set up a buddy system

It can be daunting to be the new person in the room. Ease your new hire into the company culture by pairing them with a buddy or a team who can help them get to know the lay of the land. At Buffer, for example, new hires get three onboarding buddies: the hiring manager, a culture buddy, and a role buddy.

“We believe that our current teammates are our greatest asset to help shepherd new folks into the team: they’ve been a newbie before, they’re excited and looking for opportunities to share, and the process provides an opportunity for servant leadership across the whole company,” wrote the marketing management platform.

At least one of these buddies is in charge of making the onboarding experience fun and engaging. Even in small teams, it’s helpful to pair your new hire with someone besides the initial recruiter who knows the ropes and can help facilitate the new hire’s onboarding experience.

Give new hires an incredible first day

Who doesn’t love gifts? Follow the lead of Twitter and create a welcome pack for new hires that reflects your company’s values. New hires arrive at Twitter to their own workstations equipped with their login credentials, branded swag, and a bottle of wine waiting for them. The first day is treated as a celebration with a team breakfast, a tour of the company office, and the first training session relevant to their role.

This welcome experience sets the tone for the overall onboarding experience. New hires should feel confident going into their new role. Building employee loyalty and engagement starts from day one, and offering branded products is a great way to showcase your culture.

[Read more: Welcome! Onboarding New Employees Is Key to Hiring Success]

New hires should feel confident going into their new role.

Set up a PechaKucha session

Team-level onboarding is one of the most important parts of a new hire’s orientation. The faster a new hire can become familiar with the team’s dynamics and workflow, the easier it will be for everyone to collaborate. A PechaKucha slide session is a great way to break the ice and help everyone get to know each other better.

The PechaKucha concept is simple (and affordable!). “The PechaKucha 20x20 presentation format is a slide show of 20 images, each auto-advancing after 20 seconds. It’s non-stop and you've got 400 seconds to tell your story, with visuals guiding the way,” explained the organization.

Ask team members and your new hire to design a presentation of 20 images, with 20 seconds per image to tell a story about themselves. It’s a fast, fun way to get to know one another — and it works well for remote workers too.

Organize an office scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are a good way to encourage new hires to meet employees across different departments. Give your new hires a list of clues that will require them to chat with people and learn more about the different activities that go on in the workplace.

Or use your scavenger hunt to teach new hires how to use a piece of software. For instance, “Share a meme in the #random Slack channel” encourages new hires to explore the platform and learn how to upload a file.

Play two truths and a lie

This simple game is great when paired with a companywide happy hour or lunch break. Everyone goes around and says three statements, two of which are true and one of which is made up. The rest of the group has to decide which is the lie. It also works well when onboarding remote workers who aren’t around for casual chats in the office break room.

[Read more: 4 Smart Strategies for Onboarding Remote Employees]

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