When new hires join your company, they make the core part of the impression about everything during their first weeks or even days. It all includes:

  • how things work in the company
  • people, their interests, and needs
  • team values, typical behaviors

Imagine you are a newcomer. How would you behave? Careful, right? Careful actions and deliberate thought sharing, just because you don’t know the people around you: how they react, what they think, how they perceive you.

We have a marvelously working practice of onboarding lunches in Atola. Everybody who tried it loves it. And I love sharing practical results, especially when it seems to be really helpful for others.

How onboarding lunch works

It’s an everyday activity for the whole team:

  1. All teammates gather in a room for a draw
  2. Every newbie has a personal box
  3. Newbie pulls out a small paper sheet with the name of a colleague who has already been working in the company
  4. A pair of newbie and experienced teammate go for lunch
  5. The company compensates for the lunch paying $50
    ($30 in my case which is more than enough in Ukraine)

Important: Repeat the practice 5 days in row for every newcomer.

The only restriction is that the same newbie cannot draw the same colleague twice. Thus, let’s say, Maria will have 5 one-to-one lunchs with different people: Alex, Frank, Julia, Roni, and Jennifer.

Joyful outcomes

I see the variety of reasons why it works in my company.

Fun and surprises for the whole team. The daily ritual of draw is quick yet full of joy. Teammates are eager to know whose names will be pulled out. While the ceremony serves as a short break, anticipation and unexpected results cause jokes and internal mems being created :-)

Free one-to-one talk. When you are a newcomer, it is way easier to communicate facing one teammate, in particular for introverts. What’s more, two people have more opportunities for a deeper conversation which could never happen in a group.

Show nice cafe/restaurant and neighborhood. Arranging a little tour is a sign of care about a new hire. Such care is always appreciated. They will remember the experience, maybe forever.

I am convinced the onboarding lunches bridge the gap of unknownness, for newcomers in the first place. It will leave more vivid impressions of the first workweek and inspire both experienced and new teammates. Well, you know it’s always crucial how you begin communicating with somebody new.

Vitaliy Mokosiy

CTO in Atola Technology. Gamification enthusiast. Agile proponent