10 New Hire Orientation Icebreakers To Try

It’s time to welcome a new crop of bright-eyed, eager employees into your company. Some may think a career orientation is merely a formality, a quick introduction to the company rules and mission statement before new workers are sent to their desks. Not so! “Orientation is important because it lays a foundation for the new employee’s entire career with the department,” explains Oregon State University. “First impressions are important since they establish the basis for everything that follows.”

A great orientation experience will leave new employees feeling excited and motivated to start their job. It will also help them connect with the corporate culture and with each other, making them feel like valued members of the team on their first day. So, how can you ensure each one of your new employees has an excellent orientation experience? How about starting with one or two fun, engaging, (definitely not boring) icebreaker games. Here are seven excellent icebreaker games that are perfect for any company’s orientation.

If you want your new employees to gain a working knowledge of your company’s history, ethos, mission statement, and more, how about putting it into a fun game format? Ask your new recruits to take out their smartphones and use Poll Everywhere to launch a trivia game that lets everyone watch answers populate in real-time.

Here are 10 icebreakers you can use at your next new hire orientation to foster teamwork and productivity:
  • Talent show. Ask for a few volunteers who want to share a unique skill or talent. …
  • Superlatives. …
  • Two truths and a lie. …
  • Hometown map. …
  • Scavenger hunt. …
  • Company trivia. …
  • Introduce your partner. …
  • Marshmallow challenge.

Icebreaker Speech 052918 New Employee Orientation

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

2. Superlatives

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

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 teams 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 companys 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 companys 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

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.

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 employees 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.

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.

Stay playful

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 others boundaries. Opt for tactful questions and allow brief responses.

Actively participate

If youre enthusiastic when leading the activities, its 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 its crucial to keep employees connected, even if theyre 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.


How do I spice up my new employee orientation?

  1. Let your new hire come in a little late. Starting a new job isn’t easy. …
  2. Set up a team lunch. …
  3. Ensure the new hire a 1-on-1 with his manager. …
  4. Assign an office buddy. …
  5. Get his or her name right before he walks through the door. …
  6. Give insight into company structure. …
  7. Bring the company to life. …
  8. Introduce department heads.

How do you break the ice with new hires?

Here are a few new hire ice breakers that will help your team get to know each other on a deeper level.
  1. Two truths and a lie. You might also hear this one called “fact or fiction.” Everyone should write down three things about themselves on a piece of paper. …
  2. Name that person. …
  3. Word link.

How do I make job orientation fun?

Icebreaker questions for small groups
  • What’s your one piece of advice to everyone here?
  • What question do you wish people would ask you?
  • What is one thing we would never guess about you?
  • What’s one thing you want to do in life but don’t know where to start?
  • What’s a cause or purpose you deeply believe in?

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