15 Fun Onboarding Activities And Games For New Hires In 2024



15 Fun Onboarding Activities And Games For New Hires In 2024

Let The (Onboarding) Games Begin!

Starting a new job is a stressful endeavor—and not just for the new hires. For companies that have invested significant amounts of resources in scouring for talent, the stakes are high and it is essential that the nerve-wracking onboarding process goes as planned. Isn’t it time to take the heat off the first few days of induction? That’s not to say that onboarding new employees is a one-and-done deal that holds zero weight in the long run. Onboarding is an invaluable experience that builds connections between the company and its people and dictates the outcome of this relationship. Let’s make it memorable and fun. Get inspired with these 15 onboarding games and activities to welcome your fresh hires into the team.

Why Employee Onboarding Is So Important

Low-quality onboarding experiences can be detrimental to employee productivity, engagement, and retention. Many companies fall victim to rushed, run-of-the-mill induction processes that prove inadequate to fully equip new hires with the necessary tools to excel in their role. When it comes to newcomers joining a company, onboarding should be a process of acclimating and immersing them into the company’s culture, mission, and values from day one. It’s this initial phase that lays the foundation for a productive relationship between the new hire, the team, and the organization. In simple words, onboarding is a vital process that dictates the degree of success and future of this fledgling relationship.

Ensuring that it gets done correctly is an investment in the long run. A high-quality onboarding experience will spotlight you as an employer and ensure that your employees enjoy a long, fruitful tenure within your company. It illustrates your commitment to your people, empowering them to go above and beyond their job title. Hence, to set your new hires up for success, you must first show them your organization’s unique identity. Can you see why onboarding games are a stellar idea?

Onboarding Games For New Hires

If you want to transform the onboarding journey into an unforgettable experience that your new hires will revisit throughout their tenure, think outside the box. This list is by no means exhaustive; the secret to planning a great onboarding experience is to combine your objectives with elements that make your company unique—so get creative!

1. Taboo

This first onboarding activity introduces your new hires to important work terms and jargon through the well-loved game of Taboo. As a game for all ages, playing Taboo is a fun and lively way to train new employees on job-specific terms and concepts they will encounter in their day-to-day. To play, participants have to describe a term to their team without using words from the list of forbidden terms. It’s an activity that encourages your team to think on their feet and convey ideas, helping them learn work-related vocabulary in a relaxed, informal manner.

2. Icebreakers

Icebreakers have been used time and again as introductions to corporate meetings. So, why not use them for your virtual onboarding game? Icebreakers are a versatile activity and a great conversation starter to ease your new team members into their new roles and foster a friendly atmosphere. Try simple games, like a Zoom background contest, anecdotes, and “this or that” questions. Keep it short and sweet, or use them as a prelude to your next onboarding game.

3. Office Scavenger Hunt

What better way to help your new hires get familiar with the ins and outs of the office? Organize a scavenger hunt that introduces newcomers to key areas and locations around the office. This interactive tour helps your new additions get acquainted with the unknown layout, allowing them to make a mental blueprint of the location by collecting clues, solving riddles, and retrieving items. What’s better is that you can encourage company-wide participation in organizing this event and make it as extravagant as possible.

4. Meet The New Hire

First-day introductions when starting a new role can be quite awkward, especially for junior hires. Give your newcomers a heads-up and let them organize a “meet the new hire” session where they will present interesting facts about themselves, such as their background, interests, and future aspirations. It’s a structured yet informal way to announce your new hire to the team, helping them establish connections and allowing them to introduce themselves in a way that works for them.

5. Trivia

Trivia sessions are a versatile activity, great for engaging seasoned employees or onboarding new hires. Use this game to highlight important facts about the company, like its history, values, and achievements. Combining entertainment with education, this is a great activity to spotlight important information in a digestible manner to your new employees and instill a sense of pride in your seasoned staff.

6. Rapid Fire Questions

Players are asked a series of quick, light-hearted questions, and the goal is to answer as many as possible in a short time frame. Your new staffers will learn and share interesting facts about one another, fostering instant connections with their team members while enjoying a lively, welcoming atmosphere.

7. Name Game

To play the Name Game, gather your team and form a circle. Choose someone to start by stating their first name. The next person follows by saying their own name, as well as the first person’s name. The third person says their own name, the name of the second person, and the name of the first person. And so it goes. As the circle progresses and more people try to remember every name in the right sequence, chances are that someone will stumble eventually. This onboarding game brings out a fun element of competition and helps everyone recall their coworkers’ names easily going forward.

8. Company Bingo

Bingo is an engaging way to help your new hires become familiar with the organization. No more boring checklists! To create your bingo card, simply fill a piece of paper with your desired number of squares. Bingo cards typically contain 25 squares (5×5) but you can customize the number to fit with your onboarding schedule. Each square must contain a relevant statement that participants can cross off the card as they explore the office and go about their day. The first to check off all the squares shouts “Bingo!” and receives a small prize.

Up For More? 7 Additional Onboarding Activities For New Hires

9. Coffee Shop Chats

Contrary to the rest of these onboarding games and activities, coffee shop chats are a low-effort, high-reward activity that’s perfect for welcoming more seasoned employees. It’s an activity that doesn’t require much organization other than choosing the time and place. Through some good, old-fashioned communication, a coffee shop meetup is ideal for getting acquainted with the team while enjoying a beverage and taking a short break from the first-day jitters.

10. Virtual Escape Room

For remote teams, a virtual escape room can be an exciting way to bond and sharpen your communication and collaboration skills. To solve the puzzles and riddles required to escape within the set time frame, your team must actively communicate, collaborate, and brainstorm ideas and solutions. The resulting blend of individual perspectives makes the virtual escape room an ideal onboarding game for getting a sense of the prospective team dynamics. Furthermore, escape rooms can cater to a broad audience, especially those who enjoy tackling challenges and practicing creative problem solving. So, why not reap all these benefits while trying to escape from an Egyptian pyramid?

11. Topic Shuffle

This onboarding game is designed to foster a sense of camaraderie among coworkers through miscellaneous discussions. Topics can range from work-related matters to completely unrelated fun themes like, “What’s the soundtrack of your life and why?” Give your participants a few minutes to answer the question, then proceed to assign them a new topic or partner. Your new hires will get to know their new team members in no time.

12. Buddy Program

Adjusting to a new environment and role can be challenging during the first few weeks. Pairing your new hire with a seasoned employee in a buddy program can help them ease into their new duties and learn the company’s inner workings. Buddy programs have been used within and beyond the workplace for years—and for good reason. Through this pairing, seasoned employees can mentor and check in with their new colleagues and provide support throughout the adjustment process.

13. Baby Photo Guessing Game

This guessing game is a humorous way to bring your new and seasoned team members together. Each participant must submit a photo from their youth so that the team can attempt to match each picture to the correct person. Laughter and conversation ensue as coworkers share childhood stories and personal anecdotes. It’s a great way to help new hires acclimate and begin to form bonds with their team members.

14. Role-Play Scenarios

To begin delving into the full nature of the position, try role-playing scenarios that mimic real-life, on-the-job situations. This allows your new hires to step into their coworkers’ shoes and get acquainted with internal processes, customer and team interactions, as well as conflict resolution. It’s a small peek into their new day-to-day within a safe, controlled environment where they can practice, pinpoint potential skills gaps, and prepare for their new responsibilities.

15. At-Home Scavenger Hunt (Zoom Edition)

For this onboarding game, come up with a list of common household items. Then, as your online gathering progresses, call each item and watch your coworkers scramble to retrieve and show said item before the timer runs out. However, a timer isn’t mandatory—just make sure that you’re not the last one to show the item on the screen.

Conclusion

Onboarding games and activities are a valuable addition to the traditional induction process. If you want to facilitate a smoother transition for your new hires by providing them with essential information about their role and the company, do it in a way that will stick. And really, what better way to shrug off the first-day jitters than with a company-wide onboarding game? Let your new hires enjoy themselves and build rapport with their new colleagues in a relaxed and friendly manner. But don’t miss out on all the fun; take your mind off the paperwork and enjoy the games—let your employee onboarding software do the heavy lifting.



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