Induction sessions can be super useful for a new hospitality team - it's a fantastic way to meet new team members and get familiar with your venue's work culture in a pressure-free environment. But they need to be well thought out so that everyone leaves feeling comfortable and excited to get started. The key is to make sure the day isn’t all about business and policies: it’s also about team building, engagement, and having fun.
Here are five of the best hospitality activities and games you can play during the induction process to get your team excited to kick off this new stage of their careers.
Everyone has been to an awkward induction day at some point in their careers: the icebreaker exercises are tired and overdone, the facilitator has already conducted ten other inductions that week, and often most of the day is filled with paperwork.
So when you’re running an induction day for your hospitality venue, how do you make sure your team doesn’t leave dreading their first day at work?
1. Team building bingo
Everyone loves a good game of bingo: it’s simple, fun, and promotes healthy competition.
This is also a particularly good choice as it's fairly easy to adapt to video conferencing if some of your team are practicing social distancing, working from home, or are waiting to be onboarded from furlough.
Rather than calling out numbers or words plucked from a hat, team building bingo encourages your incoming team to engage with each other and get up out of their seats, and it gives you the chance to see who communicates easily and is able to think on their feet.
How it works
Set up a 4x4 (or 5x5, or 6x6 - as big as your heart desires!) square bingo board with "fun facts" in each box. For example: ‘Has been to Bali,’ ‘Has three or more siblings,’ or ‘Has worked a bar job.’ Keep them relatively broad to give your team a fighting chance. Put each fact on a slip of paper and mix them together to draw from a hat.
Then, just like traditional bingo, pull out a slip of paper at a time and call it out - and see who in your team it applies to! This is a great way to break the ice and help the team learn more about each other. Sharing secrets (keeping it work-friendly, of course) or personal anecdotes helps build trust, which is a key element of strong hospitality team.
A great way to incentivize the game is to offer a prize to the winner; perhaps a free meal, a bar card, or a box of chocolates.
2. Hospitality charades
This is a fun game that can also work really well for a team that already knows each other quite well - for example, if you're doing some retraining or if you're introducing some new hires into an established team. This is another one that can work over video conferencing if need be.
It's similar to the game you know from childhood, but with a hospitality twist that is easily adaptable to your team's level of knowledge, familiarity with each other, and skill set.
How it works
The base game is very simple: take it in turns for one person to pick a word or phrase out of a hat to mime, and the rest of the team must then guess what was drawn from the hat.
For the hospitality version of this, simply choose only hospitality-related words, concepts and skills for the team to act out. You could make this as tailored as you like to knowledge and skill sets - for example, you could include terms as general as 'washing hands' or 'the check' or as specific and tricky as 'mise-en-place' and 'cappuccino'.
Charades is a great choice because it's a game everyone will be familiar with, it's a lot of fun and helps get people out of their shell, and the hospitality version helps keep the focus of your induction on-topic.
3. Take a short course as a team
Time and time again, studies show that staff feel most motivated and engaged with their workplace when they see opportunities for development, both personally and professionally, in their role. Everyone, no matter the role or even the industry, performs at their best when they see that their efforts benefit everyone, including themselves, in some way.
Taking a fun, no-pressure course together is a great way to communicate to your team that they'll upskill while on the job, that you're interested and invested in their professional development, and that although you take the team's responsibilities seriously you still have fun!
How it works
This one's fairly self-explanatory, but you can also think outside the box about how to make this work best for your team. Gamify Typsy's completion quizzes for a fun way to end the day, or take key points that your team has learned through a Typsy course and incorporate them into one of the other activities listed here!
And to make things even simpler, Typsy already has a variety of induction playlists ready for you to use as you see fit - filled with baseline skills and important how-to's that cover everything a newly formed (or reformed) team needs to know to get ready for a new challenge.
With a Typsy manager account, you can create your own playlist, and also access and assign any of Typsy's 750+ lessons to your staff, as and when you need to.
4. Mystery box
Rather than getting your team members to ask each other the same old questions, this activity is a great way to get everyone involved, learn more about your incoming employees, and promote fun storytelling.
How it works
Before the induction, write 10-20 questions on pieces of card and place them in a box. Make sure the questions are interesting, for example: ‘What is the worst movie you have ever seen,’ or ‘Who is your favorite celebrity chef and why?’
Then, take mini-breaks throughout the day and have a team member pick a question, which they can answer in a small group and have a chat if it flows nicely.
5. Two truths
We have all been to an induction where the only icebreaker activity is to fill in the group on an embarrassing or little-known fact about yourself.
This activity spins that concept on its head and allows for more engagement amongst employees, and less chance of them feeling uncomfortable. It’s also a great way to encourage communication, and gauge how your team will work with customers.
How it works
Break your employees into small groups, and give each person three post-its or small pieces of paper. Instruct each person to write down two facts and one untrue statement about themselves, and then read them out to their group.
The team then has to try to identify which facts are true and which is an outlandish fib. It's a great way to have a laugh and for your team to learn new things about their colleagues.
Have a question? We’re always ready to talk.
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