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When a new hire joins an existing team – or when the entire team is new – it is time for icebreakers. Attitudes toward icebreakers vary, but when chosen thoughtfully, planned carefully, and managed well they are very effective. But why are they effective? How do you manage them? Which ones do you choose? Read on to learn how to prepare new hire orientation icebreakers that actually work.
Icebreakers work because they create a positive, more relaxed environment that promotes camaraderie.
Icebreakers create a great environment, leaving a positive first impression that lasts.¹ They turn challenges and overcoming obstacles into positive experiences. If people meet while competing to create the best structure out of marshmallows, it is likely that the laughter and fun shared will linger on in workplace competition.
In addition to creating a fun, positive workplace, icebreakers help us relax and relieve the awkwardness of meeting new people.⁴ Icebreakers help us let our guard down and be comfortable with others, which creates a long-lasting environment of trust, collaboration, and creativity.⁴
Icebreakers also work because they create interaction that replaces perceived differences with commonalities. Perhaps two new hires both ride motorcycles or love to cook. When employees make such personal connections the result is a strong team with people who consider others when making daily workplace decisions.³
In addition to knowing why icebreakers are important, you need to know how to manage them. Above all make sure to keep icebreakers brief and simple.¹ An icebreaker can cause more harm than good if it drags on or if the requirements are complex and confusing.
Include everyone.¹ With more and more workplaces moving to hybrid models - some employees in the workplace and some at home - it is vital to have everyone included. Cohorts form naturally, either due to place or personality, but employees need to stay connected to the entire company or business.²
Make icebreakers playful and make sure everyone - including you - participates. When people have fun, they relax and enjoy work more. When you participate, you lead by example, embodying being comfortable taking risks.
Finally, icebreakers should not be used only when introducing new hires. Use them to start meetings and during training.³ When icebreakers become a regular part of a workplace their positive benefits are refreshed and solidified.
There are so many lists of icebreakers that choosing a few good ones can become an exhausting task. Before looking at any list, consider the people involved and your purpose. If you are bringing new hires into an existing team, you will need icebreakers that are not tiresome for those who already know each other. If your purpose is more fun than relaxation, choose high energy icebreakers. Also, always be aware of which icebreakers will allow you to maintain a professional environment.³
Good for your auto dealership team: Identify 3 Favourites - ask your team to look through your auto dealership’s inventory using your DealerpullInventory Management software to choose 3 favourites from your inventory. These can be vehicles they would like to own for any reason. Then have them share their choices.²