Most college graduates can probably remember those awkward moments where the teachers tried to break the ice on the first day by having everyone play a game or introduce themselves in some strange, quirky way. In an epic twist of irony, the teachers managed to completely defeat the purpose of the task. Students became more nervous than before as they dreaded the moment it became their turn to speak up in front of a class of unfamiliar teenagers. And, well, that’s actually similar to what happens when breaking the ice with new employees.
As the individual responsible for ensuring that every employee is comfortable in their work environment, this is the last thing you want to do. However, “breaking the ice” is necessary in order to promote a sense of comradery and can act as a great way to familiarise everyone with their peers.
While games are a popular choice in more relaxed work settings, they can appear unprofessional or make certain people uncomfortable. Luckily there are numerous ways to connect new employees without making them go red. Here are four creative methods that your employees will appreciate.
4 Creative Ways for Breaking the Ice with New Employees
One-On-Ones with New Employees
This simple method is especially if effective if you’re going to spend a lot of time working among your employees. Instead of a more traditional group meeting, one-on-one sessions allow you to get to know each individual and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
It may take longer to speak with everyone, but you can use this to your advantage by scheduling sessions with more nervous employees earlier. This way you can get them accustomed to their workspace faster. Be sure to speak about the other employees in your sessions so that they’re more familiar with their peers from the beginning.
Get Out Of The Office
Alternatively, you can skip the corporate introductions and head out to a more social setting. This way your employees won’t be in work mode and will be more willing to open up. Everyone can relax and have more casual interactions, getting to know each other on a more personal level before they begin working together.
There are numerous locations and activities that you can do where employees will be able to converse while doing something else at the same time, as opposed to simply staring at the person across the room. If you’re running out of ideas for team building activities, Team Tactics offers a variety of activities tailor-made for businesses to break the ice with their new employees.
New Manager Assimilation
This time-tested strategy is more suitable for professional and formal work environments. It entails an orchestrated three-step process that goes as follows: Have another employee such as an HR representative ask newcomers a set of questions, as specified here. Then, prepare your own answers to the specified questions that fall in categories such as About You, Management Style and Expectations.
Then, have your HR representative explain the rules of the session to your employees. Lastly, review all the answers and ensure that open two-way communication is maintained throughout the session. Its a great way to spread knowledge and ensure that everyone knows each other.
While the idea of a simple Q&A doesn’t seem particularly creative at first, putting your own spin on the process can greatly increase the appeal for this ice breaker. For example, go further than simply writing down questions for the employees to answer prior to you giving a speech.
Create a conversation and add more interesting questions that reveal something the employee would be proud of sharing. Also let them ask you questions so that they become more familiar with the work environment.
Regardless of which method you choose, your employees will thank you for it and you’ll reap the benefits of a more productive, positive and efficient workforce.