One of the most important elements of the onboarding process is ensuring new hires integrate smoothly into the team and build relationships with their co-workers.
Beyond training for work-related tasks, the onboarding process also involves familiarizing the new hires, gaining their trust, and getting them to socialize comfortably in the workplace.
Allowing team members to get to know one another is the best way to connect the entire team on both a professional and personal level. New hire orientation icebreakers are a surefire way to set the stage for a positive experience in the organization.
Any form of team bonding activity that will instantly get a new team member comfortable and engaged is a great icebreaker. Icebreaker games for work are intended to help new team members get to know their co-workers in a non-work-related way.
Below are some excellent onboarding icebreakers that will elevate your organization’s onboarding process and welcome a new employee to the team in the best way.
Team icebreaker games are group activities or discussions that guide team members by allowing them to learn, share, and get to know their co-workers. that being said, some icebreakers can also be performed individually.
Either way, icebreaker games can be implemented during the employee onboarding process to set the tone for the future.
When it comes to new hire ice breakers, there are virtually no rules. Ice breaker for new employees can be anything from a team scavenger hunt, two truths and a lie, and sharing interesting stories to physical challenges that can help promote team bonding between new employees and other team members.
Icebreaker games generally lighten the mood and create a safe and comfortable environment where team members feel free to share their thoughts and feelings, display their characters, and discuss their likes and dislikes.
An icebreaker game is typically funny, so team members are bound to laugh at themselves and each other at some point. Team members who can laugh and let their hair down together are more likely to collaborate well and maintain a positive company culture.
Icebreaker games are more than just a fun way to get team members to bond. They are also valuable tools an organization can use to learn more about its team members and the way they think.
Not only will new employees feel closer to other team members, but management teams can also observe how employees learn and engage, which is valuable for implementing new strategies and operations in the workplace.
There are countless fun icebreaker games to choose from, but the best games engage new hires and encourage them to share some things about themselves so team members can get to know each other.
Below are some of the most fun games you can try when onboarding a new employee.
This great icebreaker game is a classic among organizations simply because it’s so effective. Moreover, as many employees are already familiar with this game, you won’t have to spend too much time explaining the rules.
The way this icebreaker game works is, every team member names three facts, two of which are true and one that is a lie. The other team members then need to guess which statements are true and which are not.
Team members will inevitably start getting daring and creative, so this game can turn into a real laughing party. It also allows new employees to share some facts about themselves in a fun way.
Some of the things people tend to share are good conversation starters for future interactions. Two truths and one lie is a great icebreaker game for remote teams as well, as no equipment or elaborate setups are needed.
Would You Rather is another example of a classic workplace game that allows everyone to get to know each other better by listening to what they like and dislike.
The game starts when a team member presents another employee with two statements starting with “would you rather…” and the first person chooses the option they prefer.
For example: “Would you rather speak in front of 100 people or clean the gutter for a month?”
Team members will quickly get to know what other employees are comfortable doing and what they would avoid doing at all costs.
Once the game really gains momentum, employees will start getting creative with their questions, which makes the game all the more interesting.
The marshmallow challenge is a great icebreaker game that requires all the participants to be in the same room, so it is not suitable for remote teams.
To start the marshmallow challenge, break the team up into smaller groups and tell them to construct the tallest structure they can with the provided materials and place the marshmallow on top.
This challenge entails a bit of preparation, but it is certainly worthwhile when you see all the team members working together to solve the problems they encounter.
Some common materials employees usually get to use include masking tape, barbecue sticks, strings, and a marshmallow.
The group that builds the tallest structure with the marshmallow balancing on the top wins the game.
This icebreaker game is a great way to get all your employees to have fun while also gathering some valuable information about your team members’ personalities.
Managers and HR staff can really benefit from noting the answers new and existing employees give.
There are several existing online personality tests and quizzes available, from Myers-Briggs and Strengthfinder to goofier quizzes like finding out to which Hogwarts house employees belong.
Whatever the nature of the quiz, it is sure to get people talking as team members share some unique qualities about themselves.
Personality quizzes are also great virtual icebreaker games, and remote teams can have lots of fun discussing their answers and results in virtual meetings.
This fun icebreaker game is most appropriate for big groups where all the participants can interact with one another.
This game requires printed copies of a bingo board. Every square of the board must contain a description that either applies or doesn’t apply to someone in the group. Some examples of squares you can use include:
Once all the bingo cards have been passed to all the participants, everyone will start to walk around with a pen and a bingo board, looking for someone who fits the description.
The first person who manages to get enough names to traverse their bingo board wins the game. This fun game is highly interactive and energetic, so it is sure to bring teams closer together and strengthen relationships.
Another classic icebreaker game that always does the trick is quite simply throwing a bunch of questions in a hat for new hires to answer so the entire team can get to know them better.
To play the game, write down around 20 questions on small pieces of paper and throw them all into a hat or another form of container.
Have the team members take turns taking a question from the hat and answering it. Keep playing the game until every employee has answered at least one question.
The best questions to write down are simple yet interesting, such as the following:
While simple questions are great for this game, you can also include some more challenging questions that will get the team thinking, such as the following:
While technically not a “game”, hosting themed days in the workplace is a wonderful icebreaker to lighten the mood and get the entire team engaged.
You could designate a specific theme to a day of the week and have everyone come to work dressed in their best themed outfit.
Decade themes are very popular, and veteran employees will likely still have their 90s work attire somewhere in their closet.
You can also ask employees to suggest some themes they think would be fun and possibly allocate a day to one employee’s cultural attire. This is a great way to get everyone participating and enjoying each other’s creativity.
Some lighthearted banter is a great way to get all your employees to loosen up a bit and chat about non-work-related matters.
First, split your employees up into smaller teams; two or three groups would be ideal. Next, present them with a topic for a lighthearted debate. Give the groups a few minutes to discuss their take on the topic before hosting the debate.
Each team can designate one person to present their opinion to the other groups. Remember to keep the topics of debate silly and funny. For example, present the groups with the statement, “Cats are better than dogs,” and see what they come up with.
You can also spark conversation with some cheerful controversial topics whilst keeping things light, such as, “Does pineapple belong on pizza?”.
This is one of those games that typically come up during a dinner party of some sort, but it works just as well for breaking the ice in the workplace.
At the end of the work day, gather your team and present them with a hat or a bowl containing snippets of paper with names of songs, movies, or phrases on them.
Ask each employee to act out what they read on the paper using only gestures. The rest of the group can then guess what the person is trying to convey.
If you want to make the game competitive, split the team into groups, where the team with the most right guesses wins the game.
As charades is a bit of a physical challenge, it is a great way to get team members energized and excited.
Simon Says is a game as old as time, but it never fails to excite. Give every employee a chance to stand in front of the group and give orders after saying the words “Simon Says”.
The rules of this game probably don’t need to be explained. Simon Says is a great way to get all team members engaged and having fun together.
As it is a bit more physical, it gets everybody on their feet and moving around, providing a much-needed break after sitting at a desk all day.
Be sure to put veteran employees in the front at first so as not to baffle or embarrass new hires. Only after everyone is properly warmed up and getting into the game should new hires be put at the center of it all.
Icebreaker games are intended to make the whole team comfortable with each other in their new job, regardless of where they are located.
Guiding new team members to share some facts and traits about themselves whilst engaging in team bonding is arguably the best onboarding strategy you could have.
Below are a few ideas for virtual icebreakers that can bring remote employees closer together.
The Rose, Thorn, and Bud virtual icebreaker game is a great way to get new employees to share their thoughts and present the team with some unique perspectives.
This virtual game is quite straightforward:
Every team member is presented with two virtual roses, which represent any happy experience in the person’s life at that time.
Team members would then say the word “thorn”, representing a present challenging issue in their lives. After all the participants have shared both roses and thorns, they must share a bud, which is something they look forward to.
This is the perfect icebreaker for those who want their remote teams to connect on a more intimate level. It also makes good news and exciting events known to the whole team.
New employees are bound to feel a bit anxious at first; anyone would if they were presented with heaps of new faces and information they need to process.
A good way to get them to relax and maybe share some thoughts about their training session and the company culture is to allow everyone some downtime.
Since remote workers cannot meet at a local establishment, a fun alternative would be to arrange a virtual happy hour.
Encourage employees to ask some icebreaker questions to spark conversation about the organization and what they like and dislike about it.
Hosting a virtual scavenger hunt is a great way to boost morale and promote employee engagement. This exciting team-building game will also highlight your team’s best skills as they attempt to win the game.
To start the scavenger hunt, one person needs to come up with a list of several items the participants need to look for in their homes.
The facilitator must then present the players with some clues that give them a hint about the objects they need to find.
Everyone will then turn off their cameras and go hunting for items. If an employee finds an item, they must turn their camera on, and they receive a point. The player with the most points wins the game.
You’ll need a virtual whiteboard to play this game so all the team members can edit the board as the game progresses.
On the whiteboard, put up an image of the world map and ask every team member to mark the country and place they were born.
Ask every employee to share an interesting fact about their birthplace before the next person starts.
This icebreaker game is great for getting employees to express their cultural values, so everyone will get a better sense of their team members’ backgrounds.
This game is fantastic for getting a large group engaging and laughing together. Ask every employee to send you a picture of them in their childhood years and put all the photos in a slideshow.
During your next virtual meeting, share your screen and go through each picture. Ask everyone to guess who they think is in the picture and see what happens.
This game is especially interesting when someone shares an embarrassing photo that makes everyone laugh before they even start to guess who it is.
Music has a way of bringing people together, and what better way to get to know each other’s tastes than by playing a musical game?
Start the game by asking an employee to sing, whistle, or even play a song on an instrument while the others guess the song.
The person who guesses the correct song first gets a point. Continue until everyone has had a chance to present a song.
The person who has the most points wins the game. This musical trivia game is perfect for small groups where everyone can start to sing along and have a great time. Just imagine what it would sound like when a group of 10 employees tap and clap to “We will rock you”!
This icebreaker game is ideal for lightening the atmosphere and getting co-workers to laugh at each other and themselves, which also makes it one of the best icebreaker games for new employees. One by one, give every employee a chance to imitate one of their co-workers.
Beforehand, remind the team that this is a lighthearted game to prevent any resentful imitations, but such instances are rare, as everyone will be brimming with laughter at what people come up with.
After an employee has imitated someone in the group, ask everyone to guess who they were impersonating. The person with the most right guesses wins the game.
If the thought of imitating another person in the group doesn’t appeal to you, the team can also do celebrity impersonations, where the team guesses which famous person is being portrayed.
This game is as simple as it sounds and gives smaller teams a chance to laugh together, or rather, try not to.
In your next virtual meeting, ask one person to tell the funniest joke or story they know. The other participants must then try their best not to smile or laugh at the joke.
This game is a great way to get new employees more relaxed about starting their new job by showing them the lighter side of their co-workers.
The person who manages to keep a straight face the longest ultimately wins the game.
This icebreaker game is a great way to start any virtual meeting and allows employees to understand each other’s state of mind that day.
Before diving into work-related issues, ask every employee in the meeting to share an emoji that represents their mood that day. Everyone then gets to guess the adjective that describes how that person feels.
Every employee can also elaborate a bit on why they are in that particular mood if they want.
Nothing gets people excited like introducing their beloved pets to others. In your virtual meeting, you can ask every employee to share a picture of their pets if they have any.
Alternatively, they can put their pet in front of the camera to meet your team members first-hand.
After introducing their pet, have every employee speak in the voice they think their pet sounds like and share a thought they think their pet would have.
This game can become rather funny when some more unusual pets are introduced to the group.
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