New-hire orientations have several purposes, including easing any anxiety experienced by new employees, answering questions, communicating organizational expectations and policies, increasing employee action and promoting good public relations. The most successful orientations are entertaining, as well as informative, and involve interactive activities rather than straight lectures.

Include Key Employees

Everyone likes stories. Avoid dry presentations in lecture style by human resources personnel and instead invite key employees to orientations to tell their stories. Select key employees who want to participate in orientations and be mentors to new employees. Ask them to discuss their careers with the company, talking about what they like about their work and what their challenges have been, then offer to be mentors.


Quizzes in new-hire orientations add interactivity and introduce some fun. Have the presenter ask questions about company history, industry facts or other relevant information. Use a buzzer or some noisemaker to indicate wrong answers and keep score. Use merchandise with the company logo as prizes for the most correct answers.

Matching Games

Include matching games in the new-hire orientation to familiarize new employees with various aspects of company culture. Have them match names and titles of people in the company. Post an enlarged organizational chart at the front of the orientation at the beginning, then take it down when the matching games begin. Replace it with a board that has employee names on one side and titles on the other, on cards affixed with Velcro or double-sided tape. Jumble the names and titles on the board, then have new employees take turns trying to match the names with their titles. Use matching games for other information such as matching company products with packaging or matching company locations with the number of employees at those locations.

Learning Assignments

Prepare worksheets for new employees to help them learn the company’s key products and services. Have a space at the top of the worksheet for employees to write in the product or service, and include spaces for description, features, pricing, guarantees or warranties, and typical customers. Either have key managers come to the orientation to discuss products and services and have new employees take notes on their worksheets, or have completed worksheets for employees as handouts.