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New Hire Orientation Icebreakers That Are Anything But Dull


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To make those first impressions with new hires count, LinkedIn has collected their favorite icebreakers to use during new hire orientation. Use these energizers to avoid a yawn-filled crowd.

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New Hire Orientation Icebreakers That Are Anything But Dull

  1. 1. Icebreakers that are anything but dull New hire orientation energizers that instantly spark connections and conversations
  2. 2. It’s Monday morning. The nerves are growing, caffeine is flowing, and you have 20 new hires staring right at you. Welcoming new hires to your company is a big responsibility. It’s a powerful first impression that solidifies career choices, so you need to make those first interactions count. The Art of Sparking Connections Ultimately, you want employees to walk away from new hire orientation saying…
  3. 3. WOW! I am so glad I decided to come work here. – your new hire
  4. 4. Break the ice to build an experience You have your presentation and maybe a speaker lined up, but you know its not ALL about the content – it’s the experience. It’s how people feel at the end of the day. Do they feel connected and comfortable? Are they excited and energized? Building an experience is one of the most critical elements to onboarding. To accomplish this, you need energizing activities that will get new hires instantly connected and involved. At LinkedIn, we use a variety of icebreakers every week, so we gathered our favorites in this guide. Use these nine activities to not only get conversations started, but create lasting relationships between new hires and a memorable day one.
  5. 5. Energizers for entry level hires1 Senior-level conversation starters2 Delightful activities for all levels3 Tips and tricks of the trade4 What’s in store? Onboarding in a Box5
  6. 6. Energizers for entry level hires
  7. 7. Gallery Walk New hires share a splash of their personality through art! 1. Give new hires a piece of paper and plenty of markers. 2. Allow 10 minutes for employees to illustrate their answers to the questions below. But there is a catch - they can’t write any words! 3. When the group finishes, have them walk around the room introducing themselves through their artwork. 4. Tack the artwork on the walls and enjoy all day. Sample Questions •  What did you originally want to be when you grew up? •  What are you known for by your family and friends? •  Where is your happy place? 10 – 25 minutes
  8. 8. Social Scavenger Hunt Get your crew moving around the office with an interactive scavenger hunt 1.  List activities that help new hires connect with colleagues, get familiar in the office, and learn the company culture. 2.  Break the group into teams, and give them 10-30 minutes to complete the challenges. The challenge is more engaging if there is a time crunch to complete it all! 3.  As teams check items off the list, ask them to capture a video or photo of them in action. 4.  Also, if your company has an employee hashtag, ask teams to post their photos across social media using the hashtag! 5.  The first team to complete the most challenges wins! Afterwards, have them share their photos and videos. 10 – 30 minutes
  9. 9. Senior-level conversation starters
  10. 10. Creative Commonalities Find a common interest to spark personal connections among new hires. 1.  Break the room into groups and give them 5 minutes to get to know each other. They must come up with at least 2 things everyone in the group has in common. 2.  Encourage the groups to get personal, dig deep, and make it fun. 3.  When time runs out, ask each group to share their answers. Award prizes (or bragging rights) to the group with the most creative commonalities. 4.  Use the findings as a great conversation starter for the rest of the day! 5– 10 minutes
  11. 11. Fill In Their Blank! Spark laughter throughout orientation with this easy-going energizer. 1.  Ask each new hire to write a “fill in the blank” phrase on a sticky note. 2.  Collect all the sticky notes and throw them into a bag or bowl. 3.  Walk around the room. Randomly select new hires to pull a sticky note and complete the sentence. 4.  Continue this activity throughout the day! It’s also the perfect way to revive hires after lunch. Examples If I had a soundtrack to my life it would be __________ . My favorite person in the whole world is __________ because__________ . The person I would trade lives for a day with is __________ . I couldn’t live a day without _______ . 5 minutes
  12. 12. Delightful activities for all levels
  13. 13. Mad Lib Introductions Welcome new hires in a memorable way. 1.  Give new hires a printed Mad Lib (see example). 2.  Provide 5 minutes for their creativity to take over and fill in the blanks. 3.  Ask new hires to rotate throughout the room and introduce themselves using their new story. Sample MadLib Form for New Hires 5 – 15 minutes
  14. 14. New Hire’s Got Talent Pick up the pace during the after-lunch slump with a casual “talent show”. 1.  Ask a few new hires to volunteer for the next activity. 2.  Have them introduce themselves, and reveal a special talent or skill. 3.  Ask them to demonstrate their skills or talents! There’s nothing better than a quick yoga pose or karaoke moment to kick off the afternoon. 5 – 15 minutes
  15. 15. Make Your Mark A Polaroid and make-shift photo booth helps new hires brand themselves. 1.  Against a wall, set-up a Polaroid camera and branded props. 2.  Invite new hires to take their photo in the booth throughout the day. 3.  On the Polaroid picture, ask new hires to write a personal tagline or motto that shows off their personality. 4.  Have new hires share their motto and tape it to a whiteboard or wall so they can officially leave their mark for the day. Sports fanatic Life is a marathon Marketing ninja 5 – 10 minutes
  16. 16. Sample questions •  Where could we find you on a Saturday afternoon? •  In your opinion, what movie should never be remade? •  If you could impress a celebrity chef, what dish would you cook? •  What’s a nickname you took on at some point in your life? •  If you could be casted in any TV show, which would it be? •  What hobby have you been itching to try, but haven’t found the time? •  If you could live anywhere for one year, all expenses paid, where would you live? Mystery Questions Learn more about each other by asking surprise questions. 1.  Write mystery questions on note cards. Place into a bag. 2.  Have new hires pick a note card from the bag. 3.  Each person should read their question, and then answer. 4.  The key to this icebreaker is the questions – the more unique questions bring out the most memorable answers! 10 minutes
  17. 17. Oh, Snap! Get ready for your close up with a team selfie! 1.  Break into teams of 3-5 people. Have new hires introduce themselves by sharing their name, new job and an interesting factoid. 2.  Once they know each other, it’s time to brand themselves! Have groups come up with a team name that they’ll want to be known by for orientation. 3.  Once they decide on a team name, solidify those new friendships with a creative team selfie. Encourage them to take out their phones and snap a photo! 4.  Give bonus points to the group that shares the selfie on their social networks, and announces the start of their next adventure with your company. 15 – 20 minutes
  18. 18. Tips and tricks of the trade
  19. 19. Break ice like a rock star TIP: Get them moving Ask new hires to stand, huddle up, head to the whiteboard, or grab post it notes during icebreaker activities. When you have them engage their senses, it changes the whole dynamic and energy level in seconds. TIP: Get them chatting Relationships and experiences are built around great conversation. Give new hires time to chat, show off, and even laugh during and after the icebreaker. TIP: Go all-in It never hurts to pretend you are hosting your own game show! The more energized you are when explaining the activity, the more inspired the group will be to go all-in and participate.
  20. 20. Create a powerful onboarding experience Get toolkit