You’re onboarding and it’s time for a fresh group of excited new hires to arrive. They’ll file in, Macbooks and macchiatos in hand, eager to get started. But we all know there’s a process to effectively getting them on their feet.
Enter… onboarding activities and games.
So why is planning a fun onboarding activity as part of that process such a great idea?
Plato taught us that “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” The beginning of a new job for them is also the beginning of a new team dynamic for you. Successfully onboarding new employees means making a positive impact on them from the beginning.
Don’t get caught up in thinking employee onboarding ideas are only for the on-site work environment. Technology makes it super easy for us to get and stay connected online, so why not take advantage of these features?
Maximize your in-person and remote onboarding processes by maximizing employee engagement from the beginning. Find the option that best fits your work group and level-up your onboarding program with one of these 18 creative and fun onboarding games and activities for your new hires in 2022.
Onboarding Games For New Hires
1. Discussion Topic Shuffle
Throw out a few great icebreaker discussion questions to get people talking and see how the team members think.
A simple Zoom meeting so your host can explain the themed breakout rooms, then everyone will be sent off in teams to mingle. They’ll work their way through each room, regrouping with their original team in between, and essentially interacting with all their other colleagues by the end of the activity.
Discussion Topic Shuffle is perfect for: Virtual onboarding
Why we love this onboarding activity: Full engagement in a remote work environment. The timed rooms keep your teams stimulated and the conversations flowing.
Try it out here: Discussion Topic Shuffle
2. Two Truths And A Lie
Classic game where you say three statements and people guess which is the lie.
Loosen everyone up, laugh a little, and learn a lot about your new hires with this game. Onboarding doesn’t have to be boring and you never know what hidden talents or skills may be revealed.
Two Truths And A Lie is perfect for: In-person onboarding
Why we love this onboarding activity: Learning about different hobbies, habits, and cultures opens doors for deeper connections and benefits everyone in the long run.
Try it out here: Two Truths and a Lie
3. Coworker Feud
A work spin on the classic TV game show.
Your new work families will square off, guessing the top five answers on the board, while trying to avoid the dreaded three strikes. Have a little fun and gain some insight into how your newbies think, complete with a witty host and a lightning round.
Coworker Feud is perfect for: Virtual onboarding
Why we love this onboarding game: “Survey says?!” This game is a great way to showcase a culture of teamwork and collaboration during the onboarding process.
Try it out here: Coworker Feud
4. Where In The World
For onboarding international or globally distributed teams, you can plan a game/activity that involves learning about other countries and cultures.
Knowing your audience is great but knowing about them is even better. These fun games give employees from around the globe an opportunity to share and shine.
Where In The World is perfect for: Virtual onboarding game
Why we love these onboarding games/activities: Very diverse and inclusive. Making a virtual trip around the globe to learn about your colleagues has never been easier.
Try one of these international options: International Game Show
5. Meet The Intern
When you’re onboarding interns, you can plan a game created just for them.
With options like pop culture and fact-match icebreaker games, there’s a little something to cover all interests. You can even customize to add questions about your organization so your new interns are learning about the company as well as each other.
Meet The Intern is perfect for: Virtual onboarding game
Why we love this onboarding activity: The first day (maybe even the first week) as an intern is tough enough. This activity helps everyone relax a little and ease into their new roles.
Try it out here: Meet The Intern
6. Meet The Team Scavenger Hunt
Plan an interactive scavenger hunt in the office, around the neighborhood, or through your city to launch your onboarding program with a team-building event.
A scavenger hunt in an app! Your teams simply log-in and hit the ground running. The first team to complete all the challenges, wins!
Meet The Team Scavenger Hunt is perfect for: In-person onboarding activity
Why we love this onboarding game: This game can be coordinated for around the office building, your company’s campus, or an entire city. There are so many customizable options to meet your organization’s needs.
Try it out here: Meet The Team Scavenger Hunt
7. Ice Shaker
Plan a few different icebreakers before hopping into your onboarding training. Invite the existing team to play along with your new hires!
A great way for your current teams to mingle with the new faces. The host will lead them through several interactive games and get everyone talking and familiar in no time.
Ice Shaker is perfect for: Virtual onboarding game
Why we love this onboarding game: Full engagement no matter the familiarity level. Even your employees who already know each other are sure to learn something about their colleagues.
|Check out the options for building your icebreaker|
|🏎 Speed Puzzler||
Solve a series of interactive riddles, word games, and brain teasers.
|🎉 Surprise and Tell||
Show and tell with the most surprising or unexpected item from your home.
|🦈 Shark Tank||
Create ridiculous start-up pitches on the fly to “impress” investors and make a deal.
|🖼 Rogues’ Gallery||
Quickly draw a teammate from memory so that everyone can guess who!
|🧟♂️ Stay Alive||
Quick! You have 30 seconds to find the best item in your home to help you survive deadly scenarios.
|👫 Things in Common||
Groups of ten must discover the most interesting or strange thing they all have in common.
You’ll want to play a few rounds of this party game. You can also take it to a new level by adding a charades round.
Explaining the key words without betting BUZZED for using the Taboo words may sound easy… until the pressure’s on and that one word is the only one coming into your mind. Communication styles come out to play and may the best newbie team win!
Taboo is perfect for: Virtual onboarding game
Why we love this onboarding game: Communication is key in this fast-paced word slinger.
Try it out here: Taboo
9. Favorites Game “Rapid Fire Edition”
Quick thinking. Quick answers. Rapid fire fun
With only a few seconds each, go around the room, giving everyone a chance to answer their favorites to whatever the topic is. Prepare a list of topics with varieties such as books, ice cream flavors, childhood memories, and pop culture comedians. The possibilities are endless and the answers are sure to be fun and revealing.
Favorites Game “Rapid Fire Edition” is perfect for: Virtual and in-person onboarding
Why we love this onboarding activity: No props necessary. Just simple, honest, fun.
Try it out here: Find more onboarding icebreakers here!
Onboarding Activities For New Hires
10. Open Up New Employee Welcome Kit
Have them check out their New Employee Welcome Kit before you begin your onboarding session.
Start off day one with swag. Show the new hires they’re officially part of the team with their own box of company branded gear to get them going.
The New Employee Welcome Kit is perfect for: In-person onboarding activity.
Why we love this onboarding activity: With thousands of possible welcome kit combos, new employee gifts never looked so good.
Try it out here: Employee Welcome Kit
11. Virtual Workday Update
Kind of like a “Weekend Update” but for the team.
You collect some information from your team then a pseudo news anchor does the rest. Broadcasting from “the studio,” the anchor can introduce your new hires, celebrate milestones in your existing team, and give everyone a little entertaining insight into one other.
Virtual Workday Update is perfect for: Virtual onboarding activity
Why we love this onboarding activity: Today’s top story is brought to you by the members of your team, in a fresh and fun broadcast.
Try it out here: Virtual Workday Update
12. Lunch N Learn
An opportunity to learn some history of the company, gain some insight into their department, and meet the whole team.
Onboarding remote employees doesn’t mean you can’t still have lunch with your whole team. Set the time and arrange for their favorite meal to be delivered so you can all enjoy lunch while they learn about their new organization.
Lunch N Learn is perfect for: Virtual onboarding activity
Why we love this onboarding activity: Breaking the ice while breaking bread is a great way to ease everyone’s first-day jitters.
Try it out here: Lunch N Learn
13. Field Trip For Coffee
Try out a local coffee shop and get to know them in a more one-on-one environment.
Some great business relationships have percolated over a steaming cup of coffee. Giving some personal and undivided attention to your new team members is likely just as valuable for you as it is for them in the long run.
Field Trip For Coffee is perfect for: In-person onboarding activity
Why we love this onboarding game/activity: There’s no wrong time or reason for coffee. Paired with an opportunity to give some individual attention to the new faces in the office is a win/win.
Try it out here: Starbucks Locator
14. Virtual Water Cooler
The game where airing their coworkers’ water cooler talk out to their other colleagues is actually rewarded.
Your group of newbies (or you can also incorporate your entire team) will be presented with an icebreaker question and randomly paired up with a coworker to answer in a breakout room. Participants will then be brought back to the main room for a different question and re-randomized for another round. At the end, everyone will come together to share the most fun, interesting, or weird facts they collected in their breakout rooms.
Virtual Water Cooler is perfect for: Virtual onboarding activity
Why we love this onboarding activity: There’s only one rule – they can only share someone else’s fun fact, not their own!
Try it out here: Virtual Water Cooler
15. Baby Photo Guessing Game
Matching dimply baby photos to their smiling coworkers today may not be as easy as it sounds.
Gather photos of your colleagues and let the guessing game begin. Include the whole team in the fun for a bigger challenge, as everyone tries to match the “thens” with the “nows.”
Baby Photo Guessing Game is perfect for: Either a virtual or an in-person onboarding game
Why we love this onboarding game: It’s always fun to see how much people have changed over the years. This is especially entertaining with a larger group for more opportunities.
Try it out here: Baby Photo Guessing Game
16. Powerpoint Slide of Their Interests
Your employees are so much more than their titles and work skills.
What they like to do, read, binge watch, secret musical talents, where they grew up, impressive stamps in their passport, peculiar pets. There’s no end to the fun and interesting facts that can be revealed. And you never know when another team member will relate – new bonds are created from common interests.
Powerpoint Slide of Their Interests is perfect for: Virtual onboarding activity
Why we love this onboarding activity: The options are endless for topics to share. The more unique the response, the better the conversations that are guaranteed to follow.
Try it out here: Use Google Slides to make it easy for your team to submit their interests.
17. Refrigerator Madness
Show off what’s in your refrigerator and let the conversations flow.
Everything from snack habits and the veggie drawer to take-out containers and expiration dates is on the table. It’s always fun to take a little peek into your colleagues’ personal lives.
Refrigerator Madness is perfect for: Virtual onboarding activity
Why we love this onboarding activity: Eating lunch together is always a fun way to stay connected. Just don’t forget to hide those three pints of ice cream before joining the video call.
Try it out here: Send them a digital gift card to cover their lunch during their remote onboarding meeting.
18. Zoom At-Home Scavenger Hunt
Fast-paced Zoom version of adult show-and-tell from home.
Make a list of items that are commonly found around the house. An egg, a candle, a fork, a roll of toilet paper – things that most of us have on hand. Once everyone’s in the Zoom call and on camera, yell out an item and watch everyone scramble to find it. Last one to show it on their webcam is eliminated. Play until you have a winner.
Zoom At-Home Scavenger Hunt is perfect: Virtual onboarding game
Why we love this onboarding game: A virtual scavenger hunt everyone can participate in from their home office (or living room). Throw in some tougher options to see how your teams improvise to complete the challenge.
Find more great suggestions: Here on how to make this a successful online onboarding game for your new hires.
Including an interactive game or activity as part of your new employees’ onboarding experience is just the ticket. These simple yet effective ideas have so many benefits for your newbies and your team as a whole.
- They spark curiosity and conversations
- They give a little insight into who people are beyond their resume and business persona
- They support a positive and inclusive company culture
- They create bonds from the beginning among new employees and your existing team members
- They’re perfect for connecting remote workers and in-person teams alike
People Also Ask These Questions About Onboarding Games & Activities
Q: What are onboarding games?
- A: Onboarding games are fun, team building icebreakers to help new hires get acclimated and feeling more comfortable.
Q: What are the benefits of starting the onboarding process with an activity?
- A: The benefits of starting the onboarding process with an activity include a less-pressured, more comfortable group of new hires. It also gets them a little more familiar with their surroundings and coworkers and provides simple conversation starters.
Q: What are some free onboarding games to play with my team?
- A: Some free onboarding games to play with your team are Favorites Game “Rapid Fire Edition,” Baby Photo Guessing Game, Powerpoint Slides of Their Interests, and Refrigerator Madness – all listed in this article.
Q: Why are games and activities important to the onboarding process?
- A: Planning some type of onboarding team building activity can launch your new team members into their future with your company in a much more fun and energetic way.
Q: How do I know if my virtual onboarding activity was successful?
- A: You’ll know if your virtual onboarding activity was successful by asking your new employees. Feedback is the most valuable tool for identifying whether you should make adjustments in your onboarding process. It also gives your employees a voice in helping attract and retain good employees moving forward.