According to research from CBI, only 1 in 10 companies are satisfied with the employee engagement within the company. One way to build that engagement with new hires is by organizing icebreaker events to help the team get to know one another better. Team building exercises often have the reputation of being silly and less than helpful, but new hire orientation icebreakers can be a useful tool for helping employees feel comfortable in their first days.
These are eight ideas for icebreaker activities that will help to energize your employees and build team morale.
1. Talent Show
Ask the group if anyone has a hidden talent that they would be willing to share. Choose three of the volunteers to come to the front of the room. Have them demonstrate their skills, one at a time, in front of the group. Let the rest of the room vote on the winner. Stranger skills will be sure to get conversations started, and unexpected talents are always good for a laugh.
2. Two Truths and a Lie
This is a classic, but one that’s always entertaining. Have each person stand up and say three facts about themselves, two of them true and one of them a lie. Then, let the rest of the room decide which they believe is the lie. Move through the room, giving everyone a chance to share their fun facts. This is a great way to get to know some of the quirkier aspects of coworkers.
3. Five Things
If you’re working with a larger group, start this activity by diving up into smaller groups. The moderator can then announce a topic for the top five list. The topics can be relevant to the theme of the meeting or day’s events or can just be fun conversation starters. Each person in the breakout groups can share their top five list while the rest of the group can proactive active listening.
These are some ideas for top five topics:
• 5 favorite books
• 5 jobs you’ve had before your current job
• 5 places you’ve traveled to
• 5 place you’d like to travel to
• 5 best qualities in a coworker
• 5 factors for a successful project
4. One Word
Just like the last activity, this one will start by dividing a large group into smaller groups. Ask the groups a simple question, which they’ll need to answer with only one word, as a group. An example of a question to ask is “How would you describe what our company does?” By keeping the question general, you’ll likely spark an interesting discussion among the groups while individuals make their cases for their words. The activity also promotes teamwork and compromise as the group finds one word they can agree on. Set a time limit, and at the end of that time, have each group share their one word.
5. Question Ball
Sometimes, the biggest obstacle to getting to know others is not knowing what kind of questions to ask to get the conversation started. That’s where a question ball can help. Just buy an inexpensive and lightweight playground ball in a light color. Grab a Sharpie marker and write questions all over the ball. For the activity, have all participants stand in a circle. Start by tossing the ball to one person. Have them read the question closest to their right thumb when they catch the ball and answer it aloud. Then, they pass the ball to someone else who will answer a question, and so on.
Here are a few ideas for questions to write on the question ball:
• Where was your favorite vacation destination?
• What is your hometown?
• What is your favorite movie?
• Who is your role model?
• What is your favorite band?
6. Speed Meeting
This activity can be set up just like a speed dating event. Find out how many new hires will be in your orientation and bring in the same number of experienced employees to match them with. Have the existing employees each take a seat, with an empty seat across from them. The new employees will move from one seat to the next, spending 2 minutes at each seat with a timer set. Those two minutes should be spent with the employees sharing a quick introduction. When the timer goes off, the new employees move to the next seat. At the end of the activity, everyone will know just a little more about one another.
7. Ten Things in Common
This is a simple activity, but a fun one. Split your large group into smaller groups. Set a timer for 3 minutes and give your groups instructions to find at least ten things that all of the members of the group have in common. Have one person write down the list. At the end of the three minutes, have each group read their list aloud. The team with the most things on their list wins. If you’re giving our prizes for the winners, you might also give a prize for the most unique item on a list.
8. Scavenger Hunt
This new hire orientation icebreaker is an excellent opportunity for new employees to get to know the office where they’ll be spending their work days. Divide your group into pairs and give each pair a checklist of things they should find around the office. These can be physical items or pieces of information. Set a time limit of an hour and send the pairs off to check as many things off of their lists as possible. Have the teams take photos of the physical items and write down any information they might need to collect.
These are some ideas of items to add to the lists:
• The employee who has been at the company the longest
• The office supply closet
• The administrative assistant’s desk nameplate
• Stationery with the company logo
• The name of the charity the company supports
• Someone in a company t-shirt
The onboarding process is important for welcoming new employees and helping the team get to know one another. When employees feel engaged in the workplace, they’ll be more likely to work hard at their job and stay with the company over time. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the funding you need to bring in new employees and grow your business.
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