When it comes to a job, it’s a safe bet to say it’s stressful, but not for reasons you might originally assume. Sure there are deadlines, mountains of paperwork and eight one-hour-long meetings during an eight hour shift, but out of the top 50 most stressful life events, work-related events were listed more than five separate occasions. There’s no doubt that starting a new job is a stressful, not only for an employee, but for the company as well. Don’t believe me? Check out some of these frightening statistics:
Without onboarding:

  1. Companies will lose as much as 20 percent of staff turnover within the first 45 days of employment.
  2. Companies will lose 25 percent of all new employees within one year.
  3. The failure rate in retaining talent that did not go through an onboarding plan is 50 percent.

An employee’s first day is no longer just about introductions and paperwork. It’s important to set the employee up with the guidelines to succeed, and companies have been making onboarding a bigger, more important and dare I say, fun priority to beat the odds.
Improving your onboarding process doesn’t have to break the bank, or your CEO’s budget. There are plenty of fun, cost effective ways to get your new hires engaged, enthused and excited on their first day and beyond. Below are some simple tips for taking your company’s ordinary onboarding process to extraordinary!
Snail Mail
There’s a reason that online shopping is such a huge industry…people love receiving packages and mail (minus the bills of course)! How about surprising new hire(s) with a little snail mail before their first day. The best part, you can choose what to send! Whether you send a welcome card, a gift card for coffee or something a little more personal, your new hire(s) will be elated when they open their mailbox to an unexpected surprise.
Volunteer Opportunity
Sure, it may have nothing to do with day-to-day duties, but what better teamwork activity than to give back to your local communities? Plus there’s plenty of one-on-one time while volunteering to discuss the company, the core values, and for getting to know that new hire(s) on a more personal basis, making it that much easier to for him/her to transition into the office.
Photo Match Game
Let’s face it, an employee is not going to remember the names of every single colleague on their first day. Especially if they work in a larger office! But with gamification, learning who’s who, doesn’t have to be so intimidating. Introduce new hires to their fellow colleagues, then have them try to match names with faces. Not only is this really fun, it takes away a lot of the pressure of meeting people, and plus, the sheet is theirs to keep should they need to reference it in the future!
Welcome Box
No one wants to start their first day at a new job with an empty desk that feels stale and impersonal. Go the extra mile and give new hires a welcome box. This box can be filled with business cards, candy, a mug, some desk decorations, college alumni souvenirs, etc. The best part is that this welcome box can fit into any budget and is unique to each individual. Oh, and don’t forget to include a hand-written thank you card welcoming he/she to the team. Trust me, personal thank-you cards never go out of style!
Egg Drop
Two parts healthy competition, one part stress and three parts FUN. No one wants to clean a broken egg off the floor on their first day of work, so divide new hires into teams and give them the supplies to create a device that will keep an egg from breaking during a 10-foot drop (it can be any distance you have access to). Set a time limit, and welcome the laughter, the teamwork and the competition as teams try to find any way possible not to break the egg.
Bingo Card
Pass out bingo cards to new hires on their first day. These cards contain the names of key colleagues and mentors you wish the employee to get to know and/or various activities the employee should complete during their first week, such as reading a business book (bonus points if you put the book in their welcome box!), completing new hire paperwork or having lunch with the CEO. And don’t forget to reward the employee(s) with small prizes for bingos!
Long gone are the days of stress and fear for your new hires on their first day of work. Following along with these simple onboarding tips, implementing variations of these processes or even thinking outside the box to create your own, unique onboarding practices will ensure you and your company are one step ahead of the curve to hiring and retaining the best and brightest talent.