Icebreakers for Onboarding

Five Icebreaker Ideas for New Employee Onboarding

break through social iceJoining a new professional environment can be extremely nerve-wracking. New employees may be so focused on making goodfirst impressions, that it can hinder them from actually doing so. This is one of the many reasons why team building is so important. A fun and productive way to team-build while facilitating onboarding is to have your new team play icebreaker games. I know, I know; “cheesy” and “cliché” are two words thought, if not verbally associated, with the idea of icebreakers. Truth is, icebreakers are a little cheesy and they are widely used… because they work! Icebreakers allow the newbies to let down their guards and share a little bit about themselves with their teammates.

Here are five icebreaker ideas that will help you transition in your office new-comers:

  1. Name Toss

This game is an icebreaking essential. New employees are often too embarrassed to admit they have forgotten a coworker’s name, and in this game they cannot fake it. Name Toss is simple. Have the employees sit in a circle and call out a coworker’s name before throwing a small ball or beanbag to them. The participants cannot call out the same name twice, so that they will have the opportunity to learn new names.

  1. Two Truths and a Lie

This game will help your employees get better acquainted through learning unique and interesting facts about one another. The new employees will each share three statements about themselves, one being a lie. The listening parties will have to guess which statement is false.

  1. Salesman

salesman icebreaker gameThe Salesman icebreaker distinguishes the flamboyant from the shy, and the creative from the dry. Each participating employee will be instructed to select a random item they may have on their person and stand up and try to sell it to their coworkers. They will have to really get into the character of a salesperson and explain the item’s utility. This game obviously works great for new sales and marketing employees, otherwise it is just fun to watch coworkers improvise a witty (or not so witty) sales pitch.

  1. Champions

During these quirky games you not only want to learn the new employees’ interests, but also their personality types. You’ll want to discover their areas of strengths and weaknesses, as knowledge of this will come in handy for effective collaboration. Remember no one personality type is better than another. According to Forbes Magazine, workplace diversity breeds innovation and growth. The Champions game promotes the discovery of individual strengths within the office. To play, have your employees pair up and then take turns telling the other a little bit about themselves, designating five minutes for each turn. At the end of the allotted time, each person in the room will stand up and tell one strength he or she gathered about the other person.

  1. Silence

This is a game that tests self-control (or displays a lack thereof). Employees will pair up, sitting back-to-back. On the count of three, each teammate will face the other and try not to laugh or smile. This may seem easy at first, but just wait until the awkwardness of staring at each other in silence mounts. This game is a simple way to make your new employee crack a smile, while breaking the ice. There are workplace benefits to smiling often.

Once everyone embraces the blatant banality of icebreakers, they can be really fun, and most importantly, effective. Implement one or all of the above game ideas into your next onboarding session and watch your team grow closer and more confident.

 

 

 

How to Deal with Passive Aggressive Team Members in the Workplace

employees working together to solve a problemNobody likes to work with that person. You know, that coworker who makes underhanded comments, sends snarky emails, and procrastinates. You may have realized that for all of the infuriating things he or she does, there’s never really been anything overtly offensive you can call them on. This is a classic example of passive aggression. Passive aggression on its own can be extremely frustrating, but even more so in the workplace. In a professional setting you are expected to maintain a level of equanimity that may seem impossible given the aggravating circumstance of dealing with covert hostility. If you find yourself struggling to coexist at work with a passive aggressive coworker, follow these tips to help put your mind at ease.

Check Yourself

Before you begin taking steps to address the issue, make sure that there is actually an issue warranting rectification. There is a difference between interacting with a passive aggressive person and interacting with someone you simply don’t like. If you find that you are annoyed by everything a certain coworker does, chances are the issue may lie within yourself. Make sure you are being fair in assessing whether or not the individual is treating you unjustly. And be sure you yourself aren’t acting passive aggressively. If you decide that you have reason to address a recurring issue, make sure to do it with tact.

Tackle the Issue Head On

Don’t try to beat them at their own game; fighting fire with fire has never been an effective solution. Speak up and ask the passive aggressor what their deal is—in a respectful and professional manner, of course. When you approach them, be sure to have specific incidents you can reference so that you can be as direct as possible. It is best if you even have documentation of the incident so that you can provide tangible evidence of the behavior you deem to be unacceptable.

Control Your Own Emotions

Stay calm. Passive aggression has the potential to incite more extreme emotion than can overt aggression because it does not give the receiver a chance to react without seeming unstable or groundless. Fight your urge to angrily confront the person as it will cause them to shut down, undermining the productivity of the conversation. Passive aggressive people like to avoid that type of confrontation so you’ll need to remain collected while at the same time speaking directly.

Be Open to Feedback

Take ownership of problems that you may have caused. If you show a willingness to accept fault, your adversary may open up to you about issues they may have with you. Once they tell you what is wrong, make a sincere apology for anything you truly think you may have done to offend that person. In addition to achieving conflict resolution, you may even receive a returned apology.

Accept your Inability to Change that Person

changing an indiviual If, when all is said and done, you cannot get through to the passive aggressive person, just remind yourself that only the individual can change himself. Passive aggression is a complex coping mechanism that will not likely go away with one conversation. It takes time, work, and maturation for someone to let go of a deeply rooted way of dealing with stress.

Though it may be difficult to work with passive aggressive people, the reality is you will probably encounter quite a few in your career. If you know to properly handle passive aggression you will save yourself a headache, and potentially, a trip to the HR office.

Team Building Icebreakers

Rock Paper Team – 7 Favorite Team Building Icebreakers

Welcome to our first “What Can I Do At Work” Blog. Rock Paper Team is a team building company dedicated to your success. We build our events around your goals and desired results. At Rock Paper Team, we believe that team building is more than a game. It is based on the relationship between you and your teammates, building the strength and stamina that will lead you and your company to success.

You are at work, getting over the winter blues and you want to spice up the group – get energy flowing. Try these icebreakers to help boost morale

  1. Zip Zap Zoom – This is an Improv exercise to help teams support and listen to each other better. It’s like “Hot Potato” but with words and actions. Get your team in a circle (no more than 15 people to a circle). First person starts with their hands clasped together and, to anyone in the circle, says and passes Zip. The person catches the Zip by clasping hands and chooses another person to pass and say Zap. The third person catches the Zap by clasping their hands and passes the Zoom to the fourth person. The fourth person catches the Zoom like the others and says and passes Zip – starting the whole cycle again. See how quickly your team can do this exercise. Be prepared to laugh.
  1. Who Am I – This exercise is like 20 Questions. You need to create a list of famous people and cut each name into it’s own strip. Have someone tape the names on the back of each person – Don’t tell them who they are! Make sure the person taping the names gets one too. Start by going to a different person for each of the questions you ask – don’t go to the same person (unless you are a small group). Even if you figure out who you are, others need your help. This exercise helps in creative thinking and deducing, plus listening skills.
  1. Name Game – Before a meeting, or if you are having a team celebration at a bar/restaurant, break people into teams of 5 – 7 people. Give them a printed sheet of paper where you have created a table of 4 columns. The first column is the name of your company or a motto with each letter in it’s own row.   The second, third and fourth columns are titled with topics. With each corresponding letter on each row, the team has to come up with a name for each topic. The topics could be celebrities, drinks, movies, sports, etc. Have fun getting to know your teammates pop culture references.
  1. Musical Chairs – In a good-sized space, make an outer and inner circle of chairs that face each other. Turn on some music and let the outer circle go one direction and the inner circle go another direction. Stop the music and each person sits in a seat. Give them a question – start easy, then get more difficult – that they have each have to answer within a minute. You can give more time if you ask a more involved question towards the end. After their minute, start the music and people get up, continuing in the direction they were walking until the music stops. Then it starts all over again.
  1. People Bingo – Make up 30 blocks in a table on a Word document. Fill in each box with something that each teammate could answer at least one box. Examples – I speak 3 languages. I’m the youngest in my family. I have traveled to 5 countries. I like Italian Food. My favorite color is Blue. I have performed on stage. When the game starts, tell the participants to find people who match the description in the box. A different person should fill out each box unless you don’t have 30 people.
  1. Informal Icebreaker – Don’t email or IM your co-worker on the same floor as you. Get up and see them in person – take 5 minutes to see how each other are doing.
  1. Eat lunch or go on a break with a co-worker you don’t interact with during the day.

Go to www.rockpaperteam.com for more ideas about team building.

Thank you for your time!  We look forward to working with you!

Working the Catwalk as a Team

Working the Catwalk as a Team – and I’m not talking about a Runway!

During my pre-teen to young adult years I was involved with Upper Darby Summer Stage – a local community theater program that has cultivated many talented performers and leaders. Lessons learned during those formative years are still used today.

I recently caught up with a friend from Summer Stage who is an international journalist living in the Middle East reporting in war torn areas. She shared that as an American, she is one of the few journalists allowed in more hostile areas because she has developed a reputation for being quick on her feet and thinking outside the box. She attributes her skills to lessons learned at Summer Stage.

When performing in a production, you have to work as a team with your fellow cast. The great lessons learned in Summer Stage didn’t always happen in front of the lights. Sometimes, the greatest lessons were behind the lights.

In my early Summer Stage years, I remember going up into the ceiling area – called the Catwalk – to set the lights for the current production ready to launch. With the lighting director, 4 of us would be spread out along the whole Catwalk which surrounded the 3 sides of the stage below. As a kid, this was SO EXCITING! I am being given responsibility, on a walkie-talkie, working with 4 other people to set the lights with the right gel/color filters and angles, to light the stage and actors, for the best effects.

Going into the catwalk, high above the ground, is the first memory of working with people I hardly knew, to accomplish a task that benefitted others before myself. I stepped out of my comfort zone, had to think outside the box and learned – That I can do ANYTHING – especially MORE with the support of a team.

Working with people can bring out many thoughts and feelings. Accomplishing goals together and getting to know one another builds foundations of support, strength and consistency. That consistency means retention of people who want to stay and work together because of the trust and respect built and maintained.

Rock Paper Team is a way to step out of your comfort zone, work with your team and get to know each other outside of your work roles. Building work relationships with people you spend a majority of your time lessens anxiety and increases productivity. Think of Rock Paper Team for your 2015 team building, training or conference for a fun, interactive experience that you won’t forget. Think outside the Box with RPT and take that bold step onto the Catwalk – TOGETHER!

Contact Dan at dan@rockpaperteam.com for more information.

Team Building to New Level

Rock Paper Team is taking Team Building to a whole new level.

In this age of technology, it is easy to feel less connected. Rock Paper Team is about connecting people in the 21st Century – Face to Face. We can create competitive and non-competitive experiences. Plus we can facilitate workshops on a variety of topics using interactive activities to keep you engaged.

Rock Paper Team – What does it mean? 
– For corporate and educational groups it means getting back to your roots (Rock), getting on the same page as your brand (Paper) and getting clients and partners on board to succeed (Team)

We communicate through IM, FB, Tweets, etc – and sometimes the person we are sending these messages to is only two doors away. Rock Paper Team gives you experiences together to break the ice, build relationships and retain good people so your team can thrive.

– For weddings – Families and friends sometimes meet each other for the first time at a wedding for a loved one. Instead of feeling awkward, let Rock Paper Team create experiences that get everyone to know each other during the festive weekend. The Ring (Rock) brought the couple together. The Marriage License and Certificate (Paper) is the legal bond. Family and Friends (Team) coming to celebrate a couple’s BIG Day – make it priceless by creating an environment of familiarity and fun.

Destination Weddings or Wedding Weekends are very popular now because people move for work and are not in the same states they grew up with their families. Finding time to bring the families and friends together can create stress. Rock Paper Team will provide adventures which bring your loved ones together, mingling and laughing. Then at the reception, everyone is up dancing as one party, not on different sides of the dance floor.

Whatever your need or want to bring people together, think of Rock Paper Team. With over 15 years of experience, we are here to connect you with others for a Fun, Fantastic experience.

Contact Dan at dan@rockpaperteam.com for more information.