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8 Creative Onboarding Practices That Take Employees Outside

Source | FastCompany : By STEPHANIE VOZZA

Most new hires spend their first few days on the job getting acclimated to the company, meeting their coworkers, and undergoing training. While these tasks are important, some companies like to immerse new employees in their culture by getting them outside and involved in activities that represent their values.

Here are eight creative onboarding practices businesses are using to engage new hires and help them get excited about their jobs.


Cornerstone OnDemand, a talent management software provider, brings all new hires to a three-day orientation at its Santa Monica, California, headquarters. While the program includes traditional activities like meetings with company leaders, new employees also get a chance to know each other and the company better by participating in a community service project.

“We work with children from the Boys and Girls Club to build and design skateboards and helmets,” says Kimberly Cassady, vice president of talent. “Each kid was paired with a team of two to three employees, and together we built a skateboard and learned about each other,” says Cassady. “It was a really cool mentoring opportunity,” she recalls, “and it helped me get to know employees from other departments who I likely never would have met otherwise.”


True to its brand, new hires at the social sports networking app ATLETO meet with company leaders to participate in their sport of choice. This tradition applies to any new hire, from janitorial to new executives joining the ranks, and recently the company’s new CTO took everyone paddle boarding.

“The idea behind this is for new employees to pick sports they are passionate about,” says Nicolai Galal, chief creative officer and cofounder. Additionally, he notes, “This pushes executive staff outside of their comfort zone and leads to beneficial team-building experiences.”


Suffolk Construction, a national construction firm based in Boston, has a one-week onboarding program for its newest employees fresh out of college. The program includes a variety of leadership exercises, including rowing the Charles River withCommunity Rowing.

“We wanted our onboarding process to be more than just an overview of company benefits and policies,” says Kim Steimle Vaughan, chief people and marketing officer. “Team rowing is ideal for demonstrating the importance of teamwork, communication, and camaraderie when working on a Suffolk team,” she asserts. “We often say, ‘We don’t build buildings, we build people,’” Steimle Vaughan explains. “Team rowing exercises kickstart the Suffolk experience for our newest people so we can start ‘building our people’ right out of the gate.”


Going out to lunch with your coworkers is a common joining activity for companies, but Guardian Removals, a storage company based in the U.K., puts a unique twist on the experience.

“We take all new hires out for a walk around our business park and eventually to a cafe down the road that we’ve been visiting for years,” says Max Robinson, office manager. “We’ll get the new hire to order food and drinks for everyone and see what they choose. It’s a good laugh, and it gives us a bit of insight into their personality.”

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