Employee Engagement

Virtual Icebreakers to Onboard Remote Employees

Virtual icebreakers can be an exciting and fun way to get the ball rolling between your existing employees and the new remote hires.

Virtual icebreakers can be an exciting and fun way to get the ball rolling between your existing employees and the new remote hires.

Icebreakers are questions or fun games to initiate light-hearted conversations to create a relaxed work environment. 

They help new remote hires to connect with other team members in their new, unfamiliar environment. Moreover, they create a sense of community. 

They help the newcomers come out of their mould and mix up with others in the team, making them feel included. 

Further, icebreakers help in easing the pressure and anxiety a new remote employee may face.

 

Why do you need virtual icebreakers for new remote hires?

  • To make them comfortable in the new work scenario
  • To make them acquainted to the company work culture
  • To help interact with colleagues and team members
  • To make them comfortable enough to speak up and share their opinions
  • To let you understand their background.
  • To warm up the discussion
  • To boost productivity and build trust 
  • For team building

Excite your new hires

Virtual icebreaker questions for new remote hires

1 Virtual icebreakers conversation starters 

  • Is there a certain person that has inspired your work?
  • What’s your proudest accomplishment?
  • What’s the most valuable piece of career advice you’ve been given?
  • Coffee or tea? What do you prefer?
  • What is your favourite TV show?
  • What was your favourite game to play as a child?
  • Are you a traveller or a homebody?
  • How is the weather in your city? 
  • Do you prefer team or individual sports? 
  • What was your first job like?

2Fun/casual icebreaker questions

  • How often do you work in PJs?
  • Are you more likely to get sucked into a social media rabbit hole when you work from home?
  • What is your most-used emoji?
  • What was the worst haircut you ever had? Share a photo.
  • If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
  • If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and why?
  • If you were to change your name, what name would you adopt going forward?
  • If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
  • What event do you remember most fondly from high school?
  • Share a fun/weird travel story.
  • Share the last meme that made you laugh hard.

3Icebreaker questions for COVID-19 pandemic 

  • How’s your motivation level today?
  • How are you and your family coping with the situation?
  • Do you need any kind of support from me?
  • Do you feel stressed or relaxed while working from home?
  • Do you have a dedicated place to work from home? 
  • Do you follow an exercise routine at home?
  • Do you have all the essentials (water & groceries) in place?
  • Do you have all the tools needed for smooth work functioning at home?
  • What do you do when you find yourself caught in a fix?
  • How many of you started any fitness activities at home?
  • How are you managing work-life balance in the present scenario?

4Icebreaker that bring out stories

  • What’s the funniest thing you did as a kid that your family still talks about?
  • If you won the lottery and you had to spend the money on yourself, how would you spend it? 
  • What is something that frustrates you at work? 
  • Who’s someone you really admire? And why?
  • What’s your favourite family tradition?
  • Seen anything lately that made you smile?
  • Do you have a favourite charity you wish more people knew about?
  • Got any phobias you’d like to break?
  • What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? 
  • What is your best memory from childhood and why?
  • What do you like most about your birthplace?

5Icebreaker questions to bring out the creativity

  • If you could write a book that was guaranteed to be a best-seller, what would you write?
  • If you could start any business in the world, what would you start?
  • Name three motivation triggers that work for you.
  • How do you feel is the best way to overcome challenges in life? 
  • What’s the best piece of advice you would like to give your team members?
  • If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would the slogan be?
  • What would you like to accomplish in your job this year?
  • What is one goal that you plan to accomplish during your adult lifetime?
  • If money were not a consideration, how would you spend your days? 
  • Which of your skills do you feel are being underutilized at work?
  • If you are asked to choose a season aligning with your personality, what would it be?

6Icebreakers to acquaint new remote employees with the team

  • Do you have access to all our software tools?
  • Share something you would like your team members to know about yourself.
  • Do you have any hidden talents?
  • What was the number one reason you joined our organization?
  • What aspect of your personality adds the most value to your work?
  • What makes for your ideal work environment?
  • What do you expect from your teammates?
  • What was your favourite project in your last job?
  • What do you value, more than anything else?
  • What is the meaning of your name?
  • What’s your favourite book? And who is your favourite author? 

Virtual icebreaker games for new remote employees

Virtual games can be used as great icebreakers for the new remote hires. 

Icebreaker games build empathy and harmony amongst the employees. It also keeps the team spirit up and increases employee engagement rate. 

You can use tools like Miro, Slack and similar platforms for smooth functioning in this regard.

These virtual icebreaker games will help the new remote hires to get well acquainted with the team and encourage them to put their thoughts forward.

1The birth map

For this game, you can use a virtual whiteboard tool, where all the participants can edit at the same time. 

Put an image of the world on the whiteboard. Ask everyone on your team to mark the map to show where they were born. 

You can also encourage everyone to share something about their particular cultures.

Advantage: The new remote hires will get to express their own cultural values and understand the multiple cultures of their team members through this game. 

2Personality Tests 

Online personality tests can be a great icebreaker game. To save time you can also ask the participants to take the test prior to the meeting.

Advantage: This gives your new hires a peep into the personality traits of their new colleagues.

3Fill in the blank 

For this game, you can use a dedicated employee chat platform. Choose questions that will help the new remote hires to get a deep insight about team members.

 Send the questions and let them answer on the decided platform. You can take it further by picking up the funniest or the most creative answers with a virtual badge or sticker.   

Some questions you can include are:

  • I can’t live a day without_________.
  • My ideal person is_________.
  • If I had to eat one food for the whole day, it would be___________.
  • My favourite author is_____________.
  • My dream job would be_____________.
  • My favourite colour is______________.
  • My favourite travel destination is___________.

4The company history icebreaker 

This game can help your new remote employees to learn some important points regarding the company history. You can send the questions in chat groups and whoever will answer first will be the winner.

Here are some question ideas for the game-

  • Who is the founder of the company?
  • When was the company founded?
  • What is the primary goal of the company?
  • Number of employees in the company
  • The biggest competitor of the company?
  • What is the company tagline?

5Peek into each other’s home office

You can ask the employees to share a picture of their home office or their working desk and tell everyone why they chose that picture.

This inside look will give your new remote hires a chance to know their teammates beyond the work sphere. 

You can also ask the participants to share the photos through a digital tool and ask your employees to guess the artist. Ask your employees to be creative in this game.

6Interview your partner

New remote employees are often found being uncomfortable to converse with other employees. This game can help your new remote employees to shoot the breeze and break the silence.

In this game, you make teams of two members and ask your remote employees to interview their team member with a few questions.

Then ask them to share what they learnt about each other in the virtual meeting.

You can provide a pre-set questionnaire for their convenience. Ask them to take the interview beforehand to save some time.

Advantage: Your new remote hires will get the chance to know their team members as a result. This game encourages new friendships among the newcomers.

Bonus: Tips for great icebreakers

1Plan accordingly for time zones

While dealing with remote employees coordinating the time zone can be a concern. Make sure to choose a time which will be suitable for all the participants. Make sure to keep them in sync.

2Don’t go over 30 minutes

Don’t make the game session too long. It should be short and simple. Yet long enough to let the employees get a chance to interact.

3Add humour and personal touch

Humour in icebreakers is highly effective. They induce laughter amongst the employees and make conversations healthier and warmer.

It also sets a relaxed environment for the new hires. This will help your new remote employees to get out of their uneasiness. 

Another important point to note here is that icebreakers should not be cheesy and too personal. It should have only questions that your employees can answer honestly without any feeling of intrusion.

Such fun ice-breaking sessions will give a series of inside jokes your new hires can hold on to build new relationships amongst strangers.

4It should be highly interactive

Make sure your icebreaker questions yield interaction among the employees. It should provide your new hires to come up with their own stories. 

As your new employees may feel left out amongst the existing employees bonding well. Interacting icebreakers will help boost friendships. It will also give the new remote hires a chance to speak up. 

5It should be simple & easy to understand

Make sure your icebreakers are simple and easy to comprehend. It should be easy for everyone to participate.

Conclusion

Virtual icebreakers can make the remote work environment collaborative and safe where all participants can share openly with each other. They are a proven way to increase focus and motivate the new remote hires.

Icebreakers are a great way to make newly hired remote employees feel welcomed and part of the larger team.

You may also like to read:

COVID-19: Icebreaker Questions to Ask in Meetings

Icebreaker Games for Remote Teams to Build Better Connect

21 Best Virtual Team Building Games for Remote Teams

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