Employees can work better when they have a congenial working environment and have supporting coworkers around. Research proves that about 75% of employees in an average organization feel disconnected from their peers and colleagues, as a result, feel isolated in their work environment. To help break this ice it is important to encourage coworkers to better their personal and professional interactions. The best way to improve employee engagement is through some great ice breaker games and activities. Here are seven such games that can be organized anytime to help improve employee engagement: -
Though it is a full-fledged team building activity, it can also be aptly used as an ice breaker. Following the path of the MasterChef competition, small groups need to cook up a dish from a five-course meal that would get served during the day for everyone to eat. The challenge is not that easy because there is an expert chef overlooking the proceedings. Also, the dish needs to be done up professionally because that’s what the entire group is going to eat for the day. Other than strategizing and working as a team, members get to interact at a personal level, learning and exchanging ideas and skills which helps them bond well and break the barriers.
An engaging team activity that can involve any number of participants and group size, here the focus is to enable individual participants to learn beatboxing techniques initially as well as perform as a group at the end. A band of beatboxers first perform on stage and then disperse to facilitate each smaller team and their members to learn few beatbox sounds. These smaller teams are then paired up with few other teams to form a larger group where each group is taught a few beatbox rhythms. And finally, when these groups perfect the art of beatboxing, they perform together to create harmonized sounds that help fill the environment with positivity and enthusiasm. Since the teams and groups are made randomly, people from diversified backgrounds, designations and levels collect together; open with each other while working collaboratively to give the best performance. This activity is also a great way to start a conference or meeting because it creates an environment that encourages learning, communication and free flow of information.
This is another great energizer and ice breaker game. It involves the use of the Djembe instrument that is a rope-tuned goblet shaped like a drum and needs to be played using bare hands. It is native to certain West African tribes. When beaten with hands, the drum gives out a sound just like any other percussion instrument. The activity starts with each individual participant being handed over a Djembe. Lead by a band on stage or by recorded music, participants are required to start beating the drum with their hands. Initially, the sounds will not be synchronized but as the activity progresses, the fervour catches up and participates get caught in the rhythmic tempo to beat the drum in sync with the rest of the group. By the end of the game, the energy and enthusiasm levels are high with each participant responding to the crescendo creating a harmonized sound in the room.
Music and dance are a great combination in helping break the ice. In this fun activity, participants are first divided into two groups. Then, led by a facilitator, each group is taught a few dance steps and moves. The first challenge is to perfect the steps, as individuals as well as a group so that everyone dances to the music in a synchronized manner. Finally, there is a competition between both groups. The challenge here is that each member of the group must work in collaboration and coordination with each other to give their best performance in front of an audience. This activity helps participants to let loose their inhibitions and shyness and get going with the flow of the game. Energy levels are high as each team endeavours to win the competition.
This is another game that needs participants to concentrate and focus seriously. It helps break the ice between groups of people because almost all participants here are required to come out of their fears and inhibitions and walk barefoot on a bed of broken glasses. Obviously, all precautions are taken to ensure that the game is conducted safely, but the fact that each individual needs to combat his own fright and panic and put his heart, soul, mind and body completely into performing the act, makes the game interesting and fascinating. In the end, it is a feeling of great pride, sense of achievement and improved self-esteem that results from the activity.
This is an interesting game that revolves around not only breaking barriers but also motivating people to challenge their limitations and coming out of their comfort zones. In this game, participants are required to cross bare feet a bed of burning coals at almost 1200°F. In the background, the ambience is created by playing appropriate music. The good thing is that the participants are encouraged by others around and often few pair up to cross the burning coals holding each other’s hand for support and motivation. Not only does it break the ice, but it also helps recharge and re-energize the team. Since it takes a great deal of effort to challenge your own fears and apprehensions, this sets the mood for a perfect day.
This is a fun exercise that appears impossible and dangerous but is quite simple if participants are ready to trust their facilitator and their partner. Since it involves 100% involvement of the mind and the physical being, participants need to move out of their comfort zones and build up trust, faith in the self and their partner. It also involves overcoming their fears. The game involves a bendable rod that needs to be balanced by two participants at the nape of their neck. On the count of three, they are required to move towards each other that results in the bending of the rod.
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