Congratulations, you have hired your battalion of new employees. And, these bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new hires are all set to jump onto the bandwagon. But, there’s one major obstacle in their path – they don’t know the team.
There are no off-the-peg solutions to a perfect orientation for new hires. Having said that, remember, it always takes two to tango. If you don’t take the right steps toward a smoother transition, it will be hard for your employees to meet you halfway.
So, how do you get the new hires to mingle with your current team? How can you ease them into your company structure? How can you keep these newcomers engaged and interested? It might seem like a list of unanswerable questions but, believe us when we say, it’s not rocket science. Today we will be discussing the basics for a well-planned orientation process.
So, what is new employee orientation?
Orientation programs help build a great experience for new employees – the foundation of any onboarding process. More often than not, companies forget the importance of an effective orientation program. Sure, you might have ‘cool videos’ and ‘exceptional speeches’ prepared about the company. But, this is where you lose people’s attention. It shouldn’t be about you as much as it should be about the people in the room – the new hires!
An orientation program is much more than a briefing about your organization and a quick intro to the team. Your old team is already well adjusted with each other, making it hard for the new employees to fit in. So how do you empower your new hires and create an unforgettable day 1 experience? Consider this – coordinating energizing activities and icebreakers that involve all the employees, new and old. This process will help people to bond and get to know each other.
Why should you ‘invest time’ in icebreakers?
Icebreakers and team-building activities are the best way to encourage teamwork. They create an environment where people enjoy each other’s company while interacting in a friendly manner. With lively conversations, icebreakers bring out a sense of community that helps to build relationships.
Most companies keep away from icebreakers under the assumption that they lead to forced and uncomfortable gatherings. This is where businesses get it wrong. The goal is to have your new employees feel more at ease and look forward to working at your company. The easiest way to break down walls and promote teamwork is through a series of small steps that make a big difference.
How to plan a good orientation program?
As discussed, a good orientation program is more than mere catch-ups and intro sessions. It should be inspiring and entertaining with a personal touch. Here are a few things to keep in mind when conducting an icebreaker session:
- Begin with the basics to establish your ideas. When introducing new hires, introduce them as part of the team rather than as individual contributors. Let your employees know that they are a team, and you expect them to perform as one. This is your first step toward better team building. Focus on the team by recognizing team achievements and not just individual accomplishments. Think of it as an ongoing journey within the company as opposed to a one-time event.
- Motivate your team to work together, giving value to individual expression. This wont happen in one day. Hence, the importance of a well-planned and continuous process that benefits your staff. Show your employees how helping one another and working together can benefit them. The more personal advantages an individual sees, the more successful your team-building efforts will be. After all, everyone’s a little selfish deep within. It’s human nature to look out for ourselves first and do what benefits us the most.
- Reinforce your team-building activities by holding team meetings, sharing team news, and tracking team performance against team goals. Make your team believe that they are capable of great results. Outline the increased rewards they can achieve through teamwork by setting team goals rather than individual goals. Encourage your employees to outshine these cumulative goals and boost self-esteem in one another.
So, what are a few icebreakers you can try?
Icebreakers that are anything but dull!
We talked a lot about icebreakers, but these are hard to explain without the right examples. So, here are a few games and activities you can try for your new employee orientation.
- Pick what’s common
- What to do: Divide your staff into small groups of 5 or 6 members. Ensure that the team is a mix of existing and new employees. Set a timer for 3 minutes and instruct each team to find 5 things in common. The team that comes up with the most number of things will win!
- How it helps: Allows your staff to get to know each other, creating a co-worker bond that in the end improves productivity. Employees who are engaged within the company are 87% less likely to leave their employers.
- Hunt ‘em down!
- What to do: Create teams and provide a list of items to find throughout the office. Make it interesting by adding questions about your company with the answers hidden in various parts of the office. Send your employees on an information-seeking hunt to find the answers. The team who finishes the scavenger hunt first, wins!
- How it helps: Helps your employees bond as teammates, working toward a common goal, and sharing information.
- A ‘sweet’ icebreaker.
- What to do: Get candy bars for each attendee. Buy different varieties for each team. For example, consider 5 members in each team with 10 different teams. So, that’s 5 bars of 10 varieties each. Jumble everything up in a bag and ask your staff to pick one each, as they enter the room. The members with the same candy bars will be in the same group. Label the tables with the candy bar name, so employees know where to sit.
- How it helps: A fun approach to help your employees get to know each other while figuring out their teams.
Go ahead, tackle your next orientation with some of these icebreakers and pointers. New hires will now have a set of connections, memories, and stories about their first day. This is an easy way to promote collaboration and creativity. Not only will the process foster engagement but it will also make for a memorable experience.
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