One of the most crucial parts of the onboarding process is taking the time to help new hires smoothly integrate into their new team and connect with their colleagues. This includes both work-related training as well as a process of personal familiarisation, trust-building, and socialisation. This has the positive impact of helping create comfort and setting the stage for teamwork between a new employee and their colleagues.
A classic and effective tool for helping facilitate relationship-building between new employees and current members of the organization is the icebreaker, which is a type of activity or question that is meant to, well, break the ice. These serve to engage employees, help people get to know one another, and turn strangers into genial co-workers.
In this article, we offer ideas for a few different icebreakers that you can do as part of your employee onboarding process to help introduce a new employee into your organisation.
Two Truths and a Lie
This icebreaker activity is classic and effective. And because it is so well-known, it can save you time having to explain overly complicated rules to a new game. The process is simple: every player goes around and names three facts or tells three stories. Two will be true and one will be a lie. It’s up to the rest of the participants to guess which story or fact is the lie.
When employees get creative and daring, this game can easily become a laugh riot, and it also allows people to volunteer the information about themselves that they think is worth sharing, which can help avoid awkwardness and give people’s personalities the chance to really shine. This is another icebreaker option that works quite well remotely, as it requires no set-up or in-person time.
Ten Things in Common
This activity is designed to build and strengthen relationships between employees by helping them find things that they have in common with one another. To get started, split employees up into teams or pairs, with each team having an equal amount of new and veteran employees. Set a timer. The activity can be easier or harder depending on the amount of time you give, but three minutes is a good starting point.
In the given time, instruct each team or pair to find and list ten things that they have in common with one another. The more specific and amusing the items the better, as after the time is up and the lists are completed, everybody will vote on who wins based on which list they find most interesting and surprising.
This activity is effective because it forms bonds on the basis of mutual interests and qualities, which research shows leads to improved connectedness .
This activity is particularly effective at getting people to talk to one another and is best in a big group. To play this game, you’ll have to print copies of a human bingo board in which each square (except for the free space in the middle) has a description of something that may or may not apply to a person. Examples of possible square options include:
Find somebody with the same number of siblings as you
Find somebody who plays an interesting instrument
Find somebody who was born in another country
Find somebody who born in the same month as you
Let all the players wander around with a bingo board and pen. They must find others who can check off one other bingo squares by signing a square that applies to them. The first person to get enough signatures in a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) to traverse the board wins
This game is great because it’s high-energy and encourages people to talk to and get to know one another by prompting them to speak about certain topics.
If you want an icebreaker activity that doubles as a having work value, you can have your employees take personality quizzes. From those that can help managers determine new employees’ strengths, like Strengthfinder and Myers-Briggs, to sillier ones that will help co-workers laugh together like discovering which Hogwarts house everybody belongs to, these are a great conversation starter. This icebreaker is also especially well-suited to remote work, as it can easily be done at home and discussed on a video conference.
Questions From a Hat
A classic icebreaker activity is simply having people answer questions about themselves that can help others get to know them better. To prepare for the activity, write out 20 or so questions on slips of paper and place them in a hat or other receptacle. Let employees take turns passing around the hat, randomly choosing a question, and answering it. Keep going until everybody has answered the same number of questions.
The key to this version of an icebreaker is simply to have questions that are as interesting as possible. Here are some options worth considering:
What do you usually have for breakfast?
Are you a morning person or a night person?
What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had?
What interest haven’t you pursued, but have always wanted to and why?
What is something no one here knows about you?
When was the last time you got the giggles at an inappropriate time?
What is the best thing that's happened to you in the last year?
What is an accomplishment you’re proud of?
What is a childhood nickname you had?
Using the Qualee Survey feature, you can even involve your team to select questions that they find interesting to ensure everybody’s engagement.
Building social ties is just one piece of the very important onboarding puzzle that sets new employees up for success in your company. Qualee is dedicated to helping you onboard new employees safely, simply, and in a way that will be engaging for them.
Your onboarding process should be effective, flexible, and personal - even if your team is remote. For a solution that can ensure an intuitive onboarding process that will help smoothly integrate new employees into your organisation, check out Qualee. Try our FREE Starter Plan today!