In a professional landscape where 40% of members feel disconnected from associations, a strong new member orientation process is even more crucial in retaining them.
How so? Because if done right, a new member orientation program can:
- Help new members get to know your company’s mission, code of ethics, and goals
- Create a good first impression
- Open the floor for questions
- Serve as an icebreaker to help new joiners get acquainted with existing members
But how do you get new members up to speed without boring them to tears? Here are 20 creative new member orientation ideas to help you keep new members engaged and excited about their roles.
1. Host a Welcome Breakfast
Members tend to like you more when you give them a free meal. Hosting a welcome breakfast for new members is a good way to set the tone for their experience with your association. It also shows how committed you are to making them feel at home.
The breakfast table is a convenient place to introduce yourself and your team. It offers a safe space for new members to ask questions they may not feel comfortable with otherwise.
2. Host a Virtual Team Bonding Event
If you want new members to get acquainted with more experienced members in a fun, relaxed environment, host a virtual team bonding event.
Whether you’re doing virtual lunches, a Friday happy hour, or a virtual team webinar, a virtual team bonding event helps set up structured guidelines for communication where new members can relax and get to know their peers better.
3. Host a Trivia Night
Trivia nights are fun and provide a convenient venue where members can socialize and network.
Trivia nights set the stage for collaboration among members. You can also give out prizes to the winners to ignite some friendly competition. Lastly, don’t forget to find a great host speaker to help members relax and have fun.
4. Send a Welcome Email
Done right, a welcome email helps set the stage for the new employee’s career at your company. To make the best of this new member orientation tool, include the following in your welcome email:
- A brief intro to the organization
- A breakdown of membership benefits
- What to expect in the future
- Links to relevant resources to help them get acclimated
Consider using an email template to ensure you tick all the boxes.
5. Create a Mentorship Program
New member orientation goes past the first day — pair them up with a mentor who can show them the ropes.
To create a mentorship program that provides new members with the right advice and guidance, set specific objectives, and equip mentors with the tools and resources they need to excel in their roles.
6. Gift New Members With Some Brand Swag
Giving new members some brand swag shows them your company cares and gives them a deep sense of belonging even during their first days.
Some popular swag items include pens, coffee mugs, tech accessories, and more. Whatever you come up with, make sure they match your brand identity.
Read more: Strong Event Branding Tips
7. Create a Welcome Video
A welcome video is a creative way to make new joiners feel you’re happy to have them on board. As an educational tool, orientation videos inform them about the additional training and professional opportunities you offer.
For greater impact, you may include a personal message from the CEO or a meet the team segment. Annie’s Homegrown’s welcome video does a terrific job in doing the latter:
8. Play the Human Knot Game
The Human Knot Game is a great team-building activity for new members because it involves everyone in the staff working together as a team to solve a puzzle. That helps to build trust and camaraderie between association members, which is important during onboarding.
Besides, getting new members tied up in knots makes for funny moments, which can eliminate any inhibitions among them and, in turn, make them feel more comfortable interacting with their fellow members.
9. Give a Tour of the Facilities
With a manager or a coach serving as a tour guide, you can show new members where they will work, how the company operates, and what their responsibilities will be.
The tour can also give them an understanding of your organizational culture and values.
10. Give Member Quizzes
Member quizzes help new members identify any gaps in their knowledge and let you address those at the start of their journey — with a clear idea of what they will be expected to achieve. Have them read some of your informational blog posts, watch instructional videos or explore your website before taking the quiz.
You can also foster healthy competition by offering swag prizes to top scorers. If you need help coming up with questions to ask in your quizzes, this template by Paperform may help.
11. Give New Members a Shout-Out on Social Media
With their permission, you can give new members a shout-out on social media to make them feel valued and appreciated. It also shows them you’re invested in their success and care about their personal brand.
You can either collect their information via email or in a form.
12. Organize a Field Trip
If you want new members to understand how to do their jobs effectively and be inspired about it, add an association field trip to your events calendar.
Think conferences, business workshops, or retail shop visits. These experiences are valuable because they help new members gain insights they can’t get from a typical working environment.
13. Host a Group Volunteering Session
If you want members to stick around, get them involved in the community. Better yet, give them an opportunity to help out by hosting a group volunteering session.
A volunteer or advocacy program instills pride in working for your company and gives them a sense of purpose in their work.
14. Let New Members Choose a Project That Interests Them
If you want to keep your new members motivated to do their best work, encourage them to come up with a project they can be passionate about. That'll help increase the members’ overall satisfaction and foster a greater sense of responsibility for the association.
15. Host a Kickball Game
Host a kickball game to help new members get out of their shells and bond with other members (including fellow newbies). Like any ball game, a kickball game is a perfect opportunity to build camaraderie, nurture their competitive spirit, and teach them to make the most of their membership perks.
16. Plan a Team Night Out
Nothing brings people together better than a classic night out. By inviting new members to a team night out, you’re presenting them with an opportunity to socialize with their peers in a relaxed environment.
When conversing over drinks, new members are more likely to let down their guards and share more about themselves with other members.
17. Customize Your Onboarding Plan
If you want to set up new members for success in your organization, create a custom onboarding plan based on their skills, background, and experiences.
Every new member is unique, with their own strengths and limitations. By introducing them to company workflows, routines, and values in ways that play to their strengths, you’re putting them in a better position to use those strengths for the company's benefit.
18. Do an Association-Themed Scavenger Hunt
To make things interesting, turn the orientation process into a game of search and discovery via a company-themed scavenger hunt.
You can ask new members to find items that reveal helpful information about the association. A scavenger hunt is not only fun for new joiners, but it also creates opportunities for building relationships. Here’s a list of company scavenger hunt ideas to get you started.
19. Create a Member Benefits Breakdown
Give new members a good reason to stay by providing them with a benefits breakdown via multiple channels, including your association’s newsletter, a new member orientation Powerpoint presentation, an in-person session, or an FAQ section on your website. It also helps to send them monthly reminders about the perks of working for your company.
20. Host a Member Matchmaking Game
Hosting a member matchmaking game allows you to pair people with similar interests and forge enduring work relationships that will benefit your company.
Hand out questionnaires to each new member and collect insights about their personality. If you see a match, set up a virtual orientation meeting so they can get to know each other better. This game has many variations, so feel free to use what works best for your individual tiers.
If you want your new members to stick around and reach their potential faster, give them an onboarding experience they’ll never forget.
That’s easier said than done, but with the above ideas to serve as inspiration, along with some emotional investment, your new member orientation can help you build an enduring relationship with your new members.
Would you like to create a stellar onboarding kit for your members that reflect your branding? With Glue Up, you can design welcome emails, newsletters, digital membership cards and so much more. Book a demo of our all-in-one software and start engaging your members from day one!
Autumn Witter, a graduate of the illustrious Howard University, is an Associate Marketing Manager and SEO Strategist on HubSpot's Link Building team. When she's not talking about link building or SEO, you can find her in the recording studio making R&B hits, traveling, or studying for law school.