For new employees, the first day of work feels a lot like being the new kid at school. Forget about adding a company retreat to the mix. Ugh. Lunch already feels lonely enough for many employees, particularly those who work remotely or are new hires. Imagine adding an unfamiliar place and a bunch of team-building activities to the mix. Yep. It’s grade school all over again, complete with being picked last for the kickball game at recess.
But company retreats don’t have to be like that for your new employees and remote workers. In fact, hybrid/remote team meetups may hold the key to leveling the playing field between all of your employees and, in the process, building stronger relationships with old and new co-workers.
Here are some company retreat tips for onboarding your new employees at your company retreat.
1. Alert the Staff of New Hires Before the Retreat
Although you’ll do icebreakers at your retreat, it’s a good idea to introduce all of your remote and new employees to the whole team before you leave, even if it’s just via email.
This is helpful for a couple of reasons.
First, your current employees won’t be surprised when they see a new face in their midst. Mentally, they’ll have to shift fewer gears if they already expect to meet the new employees at your corporate retreat.
Second, this gives you an opportunity to assign a more seasoned mentor to the new employees. This assigned mentor can start onboarding the new employees, including having a Zoom call with them. The Zoom call is a good idea because it gives the new employee a face to look for once they get to the retreat location.
2. Company Retreat Tips: How to Make Ice Breakers Memorable
Start the opening day of your retreat with some icebreakers. This gives everyone a chance to meet the new employees and be introduced to any remote workers.
It also makes introductions less awkward all around because everyone is in the “hot seat” for at least a few minutes, not just the new and remote employees. Make it your goal to draw people out in a creative way.
Here are some possible questions you can ask.
- Name some items on your bucket list and talk about a few that you’ve already accomplished and why they landed a spot on your list in the first place.
- Talk about your most memorable career event to date: It could be another retreat you went on, hitting a significant career milestone, or meeting a mentor.
- What kind of jobs did you envision having as a kid, and how old were you when you decided on what you wanted to be when you got to be an adult?
- What’s something from our history that people might be surprised to learn? For example, were you a foreign exchange student, or did you attend a big city university after growing up in a town of 500 people?
Questions like these give all of your employees a chance to get to know one another in a way they haven’t before, creating more feelings of equality and connectedness between them in the process.
3. Give New Employees Small Tasks to Work On
If ideation or company annual planning is part of the agenda for your trip, then make sure that your new employees can take part in that in a way that’s not overwhelming.
For example, when you plan breakout sessions to take care of company production ideation, create teams consisting of both old and new employees. This helps new employees learn about what your company does while being guided and welcomed by more experienced players on your team.
Additionally, breakout sessions often include brainstorming activities. All ideas are welcome. It’s worth noting that the best ideas often come from people who aren’t familiar with company culture because they don’t censor themselves.
According to the Harvard Business Review, people on the outside bring different knowledge to the table, which often leads to great innovation and solutions to long-standing problems.
Your new employee could be the source of your greatest business innovation to date. All you have to do is create a space where they feel comfortable sharing what they know. Your off-site company retreat could be that place.
4. Make Sure New Employees Don’t Eat Alone
Just as you don’t want your new employees to sit alone during group work events, the same can be said for meal times. While your employees should have some time to eat on their own if they want, having a shared meal, like lunch, would be a nice touch.
If you do this, then create a seating chart and arrange it so that old and new employees sit at the same table for lunch to allow people to get to know each other.
5. Check in Often With Your New Hire at the Company Retreat
You can prevent feelings of overwhelm in your new employees if you check in with them often during the retreat. Ask them how they’re doing and if they have any questions that haven’t yet been answered.
It’s also a good idea to check in with them after the retreat concludes and invite them to future hybrid/remote team meetups in your local area if possible.
Why Onboarding New Hires at Your Retreat Can Be a Good Thing
When new employees come to the office on their first day of work, they come into a situation where everyone knows each other, and of equal importance, they know each other because they go to work in the same building each day.
For new employees, as well as remote workers, this can exacerbate feelings of isolation. They don’t share office space with their co-workers.
However, when you take your employees on an off-site company retreat, the unfamiliar place and the implementation of team-building activities at the retreat create new shared experiences for old and new employees alike.
Final Thoughts on Making New Employees Feel Welcome
If you play your cards right, onboarding your new employees at your company retreat helps you forge new relationships between all your employees, seasoned and new. It also allows you to create innovative solutions to common work challenges. In short, an off-site retreat in a lovely location can be a perfect place to say “Welcome aboard!” to new employees.
Are you planning a company retreat? We can help you make your corporate events for your hybrid/remote team, new employees, and seasoned players a great experience all around. Contact us for a proposal.