Who says onboarding can’t be fun?

Day One of a new job is not typically associated with fun. New hires usually spend their first day filling out forms, meeting co-workers and trying to keep their heads above water.

But some employers choose to enliven their onboarding process with games, quizzes and other activities that inform while they entertain. Here are some real-life examples that have made onboarding less tedious:

Handbook scavenger hunt. Purpose: Learn key handbook policies. Create questions based on what new hires need to know. Give the questions one at a time to employees to answer using the handbook. Award points for the right answers.

Fill in the blanks. Purpose: Reinforce learning during presentations. Prior to orientation presentations, hand out a list of incomplete sentences. Ask new hires to fill in the blanks with the appropriate information as they hear it during the day. Have the employees discuss and compare answers afterwards.  

Self-guided tours. Purpose: Emphasize company culture. Let new hires tour without escorts. Provide each person with a list of questions to answer based on their observations. Encourage them to talk to employees for answers. After the tour, ask the new hires to share what they learned.

Employee hunt. Purpose: Learn what co-workers do. Give new hires a list of key employees to find. Ask newbies to have a short talk with employees about their jobs and secure signatures.

Picture match. Purpose: Learn co-workers’ names. Introduce new employees to their team. Later, ask the new hires to match names with pictures of teammates.

Final note: “Sink or swim” onboarding doesn’t work. Research shows that employees who are part of a high-quality, structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to remain with the company after three years than those who are not. Creative onboarding can help reinforce the motivation that new hires bring on their first day.