New employees smiling around a table listening to the facilitator

New Hire Orientation Ideas to Foster Employee Engagement

New hire orientation is a critical piece of the employee onboarding process, because it’s often one of the first points of contact with your new team members – and first impressions count. In fact, companies with an effective onboarding process boost employee performance by 11%.

Remember, changing jobs is a big decision, and your new employees want to feel like they’ve done the right thing. An engaging new hire orientation can solidify your team member’s excitement and give them the tools they need to hit the ground running in their new position. Consider using some of these new hire orientation ideas to enhance your employee onboarding process and prioritize employee engagement from day one.

Move beyond the lecture.

You don’t have to delete your PowerPoint presentation, but it wouldn’t hurt to shed a few slides. Make your new hire orientation more interesting with videos, guest speakers, a building tour, and interactive activities instead of a day-long presentation.


Woman raising hand to ask the presenter a question


Involve senior leadership.

Invite one of your C-suite leaders or even your CEO to participate in your new hire orientation. This could be an informal “fireside chat,” a structured presentation, or even a lunch if you have a smaller group. Having leaders that take time to engage with new employees speaks volumes for your company culture and shows that your organization values its people.

Make it social.

Establishing a community at a new workplace can do wonders for employee engagement and retention, and new hire orientation is a great time for your new team members to get acquainted with some of their colleagues. Work in a group activity, a small networking session, or a group lunch so that your employees can get to know each other before they disappear into their respective departments. Not to mention, interacting with each other will be more engaging than another hour of lecture.


Group of colleagues eating and socializing


Bring them in on strategy.

Give a high-level overview of your company strategy. While you may think they’ll learn this during their department-specific training, it’s often overlooked in the employee onboarding process, especially for those in non-management positions. Understanding how their position fits into the bigger picture will give your employees a greater sense of purpose and will help to guide their decision-making in their new role.


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Highlight company values.

Share your core values and how they shine through your company culture and business decisions. You’ll get buy-in from your new hires and boost employee engagement from day one.


Orientation facilitator talking about the companty's values


Sweat the details.

Think about the little things you can add that will make your new employees feel like you went the extra mile for them. Here are a couple of new hire orientation ideas to impress your incoming hires:

  • Serve lunch from a popular local restaurant
  • Make special accommodations for dietary restrictions
  • Give them something fun with your company logo on it (e.g. cookies, balloons)
  • Keep them caffeinated with plenty of coffee
  • Provide orientation agendas
  • Give out company swag bags
  • Introduce them to your last set of new hires

Whatever size your company or budget may be, incorporating some of these new orientation ideas into your onboarding process can make a positive impact on employee engagement. Your new hires will not only appreciate the extra effort but will also feel more excited to begin their journey with your company.

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By Sarah Ballow, iHire | November 05, 2019