- The current study by the association of graduate recruiters reveals that 16% of graduates tend to leave their first job within 2 years. This is mainly due to their poor relations with the boss.
- An ice-breaking event is important to decrease employee turnover. A large scale study shows that employee turnover costs between 3,000 pounds for a minimum wage employee.
What is Ice-breaking?
Ice-breaking is a method or process of starting a training session and a team-building event. This event is recognized as an interactive and fun session run before the main events. They help a person to know each other which helps to bind with the purpose of the main event.
Such sessions must be well-designed and well-facilitated so that it can help things to get to the main start. In this event, people get to know about the facilitator and learn about the objectives of the event. This ultimately, makes people more engaging which helps them to get their best ideas.
3 Key Elements for Ice-breaking:
Ice-breaking involves 3 most important elements which are very essential to complete this event effectively:
- Community: Building community is a process of using and involving ice-breakers so that he/she opens the door for individuals to know each other. For example: If a person learns what is more common with his/her co-workers, he/she feels more aligned towards them.
- Interaction: Interaction between co-workers is very essential for community building. The nature of ice-breaker, his experience, and how he/she uses the team matters a lot to set an effective interaction. Open discussion, laughter, and step out of my comfort zone is very important to break up the silo work environment.
- Empathy: It is the ability to see an event through the perspective of other parties. Empathy is very essential in team building because it allows members to step back and explore other’s points of view. When empathy is lacking in any event, team members simply don’t respect or care for other’s viewpoints or ideas. This helps in the dysfunction of groups.
When to Use Ice-breakers?
These sessions are designed to break the ice or the suspension among each other. With this event, people get to know each other not only professionally but also personally. These techniques are often used to ease up communication among larger groups with different backgrounds. The difference in the background might be social, economical, or even geographic. Ice-breaker must be particularly used in the following situations:
- Participants must come from different backgrounds which will make the conversation more interesting. If they will be from the same background, there are not many things to discover.
- People need to bond quickly so that the work gets started more quickly in an effective way. If they are bonded together in a very short period, it shows the likelihood of a team to be successful in the future.
- The team must be newly formed which has the larger potentiality to discover new things and generate new ideas. In the older teams, people already know the behaviors of each other; they may not enjoy their company after a certain time.
- The topics that are to be discussed in the events also need to be new and unfamiliar to most of the members of the groups. This forces the group members to exert more effort.
- A facilitator must be well-trained and experienced who can handle a large number of people. He/she must know each of the group members and also should let those members know him/her in a better way.
How to Conduct an Introductory Ice-breaking Session?
Ice-breaking event also has a certain manner or the way to be conducted in a better and a meaningful way. The introductory ice-breaking session should not be so long as group members might get bored. These sessions must be conducted as per their interest and knowledge on a particular topic. Some of the steps involved are:
- The little known fact: In this process, participants need to share their name, department, or role in the organization, how long are they going to work and little known fact about themselves. This little known fact is very important or crucial to show the grade, status, and mentality of the person even in future interactions or discussions.
- True or False: In this step, participants make 3 or 4 sentences where one statement should be false. The rest of the group, however, should vote on which statement is false.
- Interviews: This exercise is more interesting which helps for better interaction within groups. In these participants, group members are paired up in a team of 2 people. Each person interviews his/her partner for the allocated time. After that, the interviewed member tells the other members about his/her partner.
- Problem solvers: In this method, larger groups are divided into small teams where they are given to analyze a particular problem in a short time. Once the groups have analyzed and prepared the feedback, the facilitator asks each group to prepare their ideas to the wider groups.
Why Ice-breaking is an Important Event for a Larger Organization?
An ice-breaking event is important for managing people in a way that they work effectively without any conflict. The event is very important to build trust, co-operation, and a better future with the people we surround with.
More often employers from most of the companies hire candidates based on how strong his/her interpersonal skill is. Employers often like those candidates who are hard-working, honest, soft-spoken, and humble. Employers also believe that these skills are very essential in an individual although they might not be very talented. The better soft skill in an individual today makes them more prepared in the future. An ice-breaking event is one of the media that measures the inter-personal skill of individuals as well.
Business work involves a lot of communication. Many jobs at the workplace include collaboration and interaction with different other parties who support to run the organization. Therefore, an ice-breaking event is vital to make them happen.
“Today’s collaboration and interaction can be a successful team performance in the future.” Even if the person is a technical supervisor, he repeatedly needs to suggest workers so that they can perform better. Therefore, it is very essential even for supervisors or managers to know their employees from the very beginning. IT personnel also need to motivate, lead, and collaborate his team members to ensure better output and productivity at each stage.
Hence, excellent technical capabilities alone are not enough to get a good job in a reputed organization. Employers always look for how a person will suit in a challenging environment through his actions, words, and behavior.
However, the behavior of every individual may not be polite and decent in an organization. Such employees must be recognized through the ice-breaking event. They must be provided training on emotional intelligence. This helps in the development of their attributes and behaviors along with their professional excellence.
What are Some of the Mistakes While Conducting the Ice-breaking Session?
An event may not always be perfect. Therefore, the past event is the source that guides us on how the future event shall be conducted. Past mistakes should not be repeated so far to improve in event management.
Some of the mistakes companies usually do while conducting ice-breaking sessions are:
- Inconsistency of communication: Employers often rely on grapevines or rumors rather than believing in top-level executives. This always sets an image regarding the company in their mind. This is due to a lack of clarity in the communication which might happen during an ice-breaking event. In this way, employers believe in incorrect information.
- Assuming the audience understands jargon: The investment in new technologies and systems often leads people to take the help of jargon which may not be understandable by everyone. This makes the audience less attentive and participative in any session. The idea can only work if people are communicating with someone who is equally known to them. However, even knowledgeable people may not understand some business jargon. Therefore, it is far better to use simple and understandable language while communicating with your audience. Also, audience attention is very necessary to build up the team in the future. So, the use of jargon needs to be minimized for the greater involvement of the audience.
- Not listening to every employee: Ice-breakers should listen carefully and sincerely to every employee and they must respect their viewpoints and ideas. They must realize that every person is not an active speaker who likes to share his/her ideas. Some people are reserved, anti-social, or might feel shy in a large group of people. If these people are not involved in the ice-breaking session, they will never dare themselves to present in front of the mass. As a result, their needs are not well-recognized and they become dismissed. In this way, those ignored people tend to switch off.
- Not making communication leadership functions: Every individual in an organization should have effective communication skills. Communication is the key to increase business involvement and interactions. Therefore, communication training must be conducted timely for all the people of the company. C-level executives, team leaders, supervisors as well as employees need to have the capacity to present their ideas in a meaningful and well-mannered way. If organizational culture is not built up based on an effective communication from the very beginning, employees may not find any worth staying at your company. They will already have the impression that your culture doesn’t encourage the exchange of ideas and innovative thinking.