10 New Hire Orientation Icebreakers To Try
Updated June 24, 2022
When you hire new team members, establishing a supportive environment can help them thrive. New hire orientation icebreakers might build teamwork skills and help your new employees feel comfortable quickly. If you want to create positive morale and excite your new hires, it's important to understand how to select the right icebreakers and lead them effectively. In this article, we list 10 icebreakers you can use and discuss how to host successful new hire orientation meetings that can empower new and existing talent in your company.
What are the benefits of new hire orientation icebreakers?
New hire orientation icebreakers can help you make a positive first impression on your new team members. A great first day can have a long-term impact on an employee's attitude toward the workplace. While it might be tempting to begin training as soon as possible, fun and engaging orientation activities might lower employees' stress levels and establish positive memories.
An icebreaker might challenge the team to collaborate to achieve a goal. A memorable and engaging group activity may teach employees to rely on each other and offer assistance when someone is struggling. Icebreakers are also an opportunity for new hires to personally connect with each other. For example, two team members might discover they went to the same university or love the same type of music.
Related: How To Introduce Yourself to New Coworkers
10 new hire orientation icebreakers to try
Here are 10 icebreakers you can use at your next new hire orientation to foster teamwork and productivity:
1. Talent show
Ask for a few volunteers who want to share a unique skill or talent. To ease pressure and encourage participation, suggest the talent be as silly or serious as they wish. Encourage your team to cheer equally for everyone. This helps create a culture of positive feedback and reciprocal support.
Read more: The Importance of Positive Feedback and How To Deliver It to Others
Instruct the new hires to arrange themselves in a line in order of a sortable category. For example, you might ask that they line up from shortest to tallest. For an even greater challenge, ask them to do a round silently. If you have a larger group, break them up into smaller ones and encourage them to race. If your group is small, you can use a single group and time them.
3. Two truths and a lie
This popular group game is an opportunity for your new hires to get to know each other better. Ask your new employees to each share two truths and one lie about themselves, and ask the group to guess which is the lie. This light-hearted game encourages creative thinking and communication. Plus, the group uses teamwork skills to come to a consensus.
Related: 6 Tips for Effective Teamwork
4. Hometown map
This is a simple activity that offers some insight into team members' backgrounds. Display a world map and ask that new hires mark where they were born. This might open a dialogue and allow people to trade stories about where they grew up. You could even keep your map up in the office as a visual reminder of your team's individual perspectives.
5. Scavenger hunt
An office scavenger hunt gets everyone on their feet, putting nervous energy to good use. Give the team a time limit and a list of items to hunt down, challenging them to find as many as possible. Help them get to know the office by including valuable locations like the supply cabinet, the snack table or a color printer.
6. Company trivia
A trivia game is a fun way to teach employees about the company's history and mission. You can use various websites and mobile apps to create and run a group game. To incentivize the team to engage with the company's story, consider offering a gift card or reward to the person with the highest score. This is a useful option for remote teams, as it can easily be played online.
7. Introduce your partner
Assign everyone a partner and ask that they get to know each other. After a few minutes of discussion, have each pair introduce their partner to the group, sharing a few highlights from their conversation. This activity fosters individual connections and might reveal surprising and memorable facts about your team members.
8. Marshmallow challenge
Break your group up into smaller teams, and give each team a marshmallow, 20 pieces of dry spaghetti, a yard of tape and a yard of rope. Tell them to build the tallest structure they can, keeping the marshmallow on the top. This activity offers practice strategizing, collaborating, using tools and making decisions.
9. Personality tests
Choose a few online personality tests and give your new hires time to complete them. Afterward, hold a group discussion of the results. The tests can reveal valuable information about team members' work styles, values, strengths and weaknesses. This is another ideal icebreaker option for remote teams.
Read more: 18 Personality Tests To Help You Discover Your Strengths
10. Group playlist
This collaborative and creative activity challenges your team to build something meaningful together. Ask your team to work together to create a shared playlist, each member contributing a few songs. Your team might connect on shared favorites and teach each other about new genres. Send around a link to a playlist afterward so that your team can enjoy it later.
Tips for hosting new hire orientation icebreakers
Here are some tips for leading productive new hire orientation icebreakers:
Keep sessions brief
The first day at a new job can be tiring, but keeping a brisk pace can help your new team members stay energized. Stick to a precise schedule. Aim to spend 30 minutes or less on each activity.
A sense of humor can be a useful tool at work to diffuse stress and strengthen relationships. Encourage laughter and silliness during icebreakers. Shared laughs might relax your new hires and establish camaraderie among the group.
Be mindful of boundaries
Many icebreakers ask employees to share information about themselves and their lives. Some people may wish to keep certain information private, so encourage your team to respect each other's boundaries. Opt for tactful questions and allow brief responses.
If you're enthusiastic when leading the activities, it's more likely that your new employees may be enthusiastic. Monitor the group, and be sure that employees are including everybody. Try to learn names quickly so you can engage with specific employees.
Consider remote employees
Remote work is popular, and it's crucial to keep employees connected, even if they're spread across the globe. Consider how you can adjust activities to fit a remote team. If some team members work on-site and others are remote, look for ways to lessen the emotional distance between the remote and on-site employees.
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