April 30, 2020
These days, almost every company implements team building exercises — and rightly so, as decades of research have shown how beneficial they can be. Indeed, in a Forbes article O2E Brands CEO Brian Scudamore argues that team building activities are the most significant investment companies can make.
However, team building activities have earned the ire of a lot of employees due to their reputation as boring or lame company-mandated events. Additionally, poor planning and ineffective management can mean that your organisation may not be able to maximise the benefits. That’s why in this article, we’ll talk about why it’s important to have team building exercises, and how to do them the right way.
What’s the point of team building exercises?
First of all, team building exercises create genuine relationships within the company that usually can’t happen during regular work hours. From the higher-ups to regular employees, team building activities foster a safe space where everyone in the company can interact. This then opens up the employees for positive reinforcement from their superiors, which can directly help with company productivity. In fact, Maren Hogan reports on LinkedIn that teams who receive feedback exhibited a 12.5% higher productivity rate than teams that received none.
Besides that, team building exercises address the need for a positive company culture and better company morale. Our post “How Important Is It To Be Happy At Work?” highlights a CV-library report revealing that at least 87.9% of the British workforce feels that management can do more to improve company morale. And that’s exactly what team building projects aim to do — it reinforces a conducive working environment through collaboration, communication, and learning opportunities.
How can I carry out successful team building exercises?
When planning activities for company collaboration, you should first take note of the company goals and values that you want to impart for the whole team. By basing your activity on specific goals, you have better chances of making a positive impact on your team.
It’s important to plan around everyone’s personalities and different needs, rather than forcing them to do something they might not be comfortable with
However, even with good intentions, many team building activities fail due to lack of planning. It’s important to plan around everyone’s personalities and different needs, rather than forcing them to do something they might not be comfortable with or can be very inconvenient for them. For instance, introverts should not be put under the spotlight because they might be overwhelmed by the attention.
Meanwhile, employees who are parents will also appreciate activities that stay within the 9-to-5 work window, as many of them will need to pick up their kids after office hours. Being aware of these different needs can help lessen your risk of people bailing out, while also ensuring everybody is happy and engaged.
And the best part is it doesn’t have to be big activities. During company town hall meetings, for instance, spruce up the agenda by adding fun group games like trivia — where players get to pool their knowledge and earn points as a team. Or, if you have a work-from-home set-up, set aside time every week for everyone in the company to interact with each other through virtual multiplayer games.
For telecommuters, HP’s Tom Gerencer recommends software like Zoom and Cisco Webex Meetings, which can allow teams of all sizes to virtually “meet” and interact online. You can set weekly check-ins with these programs for that valuable face-to-face time, or even have them running while playing simple online games. All of this can be used to help all company staff socialise with each other and create an encouraging work environment, wherever you may be.
If you’re not sure how to start, you can try one-to-one sessions between team managers and employees. This could ease up any worries employees might have with participating in a group activity and allows you to assess and plan the activities well.
Overall, there’s no recipe for success when it comes to team building exercises. As employers or HR managers, your role is to design company activities based on every individual’s strengths and weaknesses. While it must be said that this isn’t an easy undertaking, seeing your team and company grow will definitely be worth the trouble.