Integrating team building programs into your office or organization is an important part of successful management. The benefits of team building are far reaching, and will help to improve organizational effectiveness and productivity.
Team building games and activities enable participants to build camaraderie, improve communication, establish or improve trust, and develop decision making strategies. The successful completion of most team-building tasks requires cooperation, listening to others, sharing ideas, and the willingness to try new approaches to achieve a goal.
Fun and engaging activities help people see each other in a different light allow them to connect in a different setting. Participants are given the opportunity to see how their lessons learned connect back to the workplace.
Employees can look forward to coming to work each day. They can show up early and decide to stay late. They can take the time out of their busy schedules to help their colleagues and work with each other. They can work together not as a random assortment of individuals, but as a purpose driven cohesive team. All of this is made possible by strategic and fun team building strategies!
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What is team building, anyway?
The term “team building” is thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Team building is the process of turning a group of individuals or employees into a cohesive and high functioning team. A team is a group of people organized to work together interdependently and cooperatively to accomplish their agreed-upon purpose and goal(s).
Keep in mind though, team building doesn’t just mean getting the team together for a “fun” picnic or outing (more on this later). It is a well thought out initiative that has a process and consists of programs that are based off of psychology and a considered approach.
One of the most sought after reasons organizations try team building is to get results. Those results vary by organization, but are all rooted with the same goal: to build a stronger, more cohesive, and more productive team. Some use team building to show their employees that they matter, and their professional development matter to the company.
Through a series of planned team building activities that are fun and motivational, teams build skills, relationships, and a sense of motivation that they can transfer back into the workplace for weeks, months, and even years to come.
Who benefits from team building?
Team building initiatives can benefit anyone from big corporate companies, to groups of friends, to volunteers, even to families or friends. Corporations who have their eye on the prize use team building all the time to facilitate collaboration and encourage out of the box thinking. These traits will, in turn, increase employee engagement, morale and overall happiness.
A team building game, for example, can be the perfect ice breaker for a group of volunteers who might not know each other well but all have the same goal in mind, or a team who has known each other for years but could use some time to reconnect with one another on a deeper level. Family members or groups of friends can also benefit greatly from a team building game to bond and develop stronger relationships. The possibilities are endless, and there really isn’t anyone who doesn’t benefit from team building!
Going beyond the company picnic
The most successful, memorable team-building events are the ones that don’t feel like a day at the office. Activities that are painfully obvious in their aim to draw in leadership lessons, or practical takeaways are less powerful—participants don’t want to feel like they are a part of a team building lecture. Spending time together, sharing an experience, and working towards a common goal allows team bonding to happen more organically and far more effectively!
Going out to the bar, going bowling, or having a company picnic are not team building. Sure, they are super fun things to do together, but they are not mindfully prepared events that are based on research proven methods to bring your team closer together and make them even more productive than they already are currently.
There is something to be said for a company picnic, and sharing food with one another (check out some culinary team building games for ways to improve this method), but they are not as impactful as a team building activities.
Fun, meaningful, purposeful, and engaging team building programs bring groups together in a casual setting, without a lot of pressure, to ensure that everyone has a great time learning a bit about themselves and their team!
It’s an investment, not a cost
Sometimes team building gets a bad reputation, but that’s because it isn’t performed effectively. Bottom line: this stuff is important! Company success literally rides on the strong team and individuals who do the work. When an organization has a strong team that is dedicated to the mission and vision of a company, that isn’t the result of one activity, and it doesn’t happen right away. It is the result of real commitment to the cause!
Corporate team building is definitely an investment, but the benefits far outweigh the costs! The effects of those few hours spent together away from the office or doing something together that doesn’t involve a spreadsheet continue to positively impact office culture for a long time after the conclusion of an event. Especially if team building is an initiative and not a one and done retreat or icebreaker.
You don’t have to spend a ton of cash on expensive trips or experiences, but don’t skimp either — be willing to make a real investment in your team!
Not enough hours in the day to plan an initiate and a few events? Not to worry. To get started, check out some of these easy icebreaker questions or fun outdoor team building activities that don’t require a lot of set up, but still pack a punch!
Keep that positive energy going—this isn’t a one shot deal
Many organizations find that team-building falls flat. This is because it’s typically a one-time activity that is done and then forgotten. Organizations move on, and continue striving for their year-end and quarterly production goals.
For any team building to be successful, it is key to find ways to keep the excitement and momentum going. The biggest challenge is creating opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways that are outside of regular meetings and office happenings.
One way to do this is at your daily or weekly morning meeting. (Don’t have one of those? That is a great way to start!) At the same time each day or week, have the entire office or department assemble for a fast-paced, stand-up meeting to check-in on major projects and celebrate achievements together.
Beyond that, encourage your people to share something awesome that happened in their day yesterday (inside or outside of work), a goal they have, or something they could use quick input on from the group. It’s a powerful way for the manager or supervisot to learn about what is going on with the people in their office. This helps in becoming an even better boss, and also gives the employees a sense of togetherness, raising team morale.
Is your team remote? Plan a morning call time that lasts 10 or 15 minutes where everyone shares this same information.
Another way to incorporate team building into your work culture is to integrate some of these quick team building activities into your meetings. They do not take up a ton of time, require little to no setup, and have a big impact.
Make team building events fun, not a dreaded event
Sounds easier said than done, but it is totally possible! Team building looks different in every company, but it doesn’t have to be cheesy, corny, or downright annoying to be effective.
If you want to try something new together such as paintball, rafting, archery, or rock climbing, that is fine too! Just make sure the event has a focus, and perhaps incorporate a debriefing activity to encourage participants to talk about their experience and how they worked with their teammates. The goal should be to get a change of pace, have fun, and build meaningful connections.
Make Team Building A Priority
Go ahead and move team building events up on your company’s priority list! If you are receiving pushback from the person in charge of your budget, let them know that it’s an investment in the future, and one that any successful company can’t afford to ignore.
By focusing on building employee relationships, communication, trust, and collaboration, companies will seek out and retain more engaged and productive employees. Retaining employees saves money! Successful employees makes money!
It isn’t all trust falls, sharing interesting facts, and guessing which one is a truth and a lie. Those can be a part of it, but don’t hesitate to get out there and try something new with your team!
A few benefits of team building
In our humble opinion, the benefits of team building are endless, but here are a few that may help your team, the person in charge of your budget, and maybe even you, see how truly impactful team building can be for an organization.
Get out of the office
While we may not want to admit this fact, most of your time is spent at work. We wish we could tell you most of your time is spent binge watching your favorite TV show or hanging out at the park with your dog, but it isn’t. So why not make work more awesome?
If you haven’t figured this out yet after getting this far in this article, work can be fun! But, it can be hard to get to know your staff and your co-workers, and get an understanding of what they are really like as human beings.
People naturally like to feel connected which makes sense why coworkers are the thing most people like best about their jobs! Even when the work gets rough, as long as the people are supportive and feel good to be around, it can make all the difference.
However, it can be difficult while at work to find similarities with other people, especially if you only ever talk about work, work, and more work. It’s over a team building dinner cruise, a speed networking event where colleagues can find out they went to the same college or have kids who are the same age, or during a problem solving game where the floor is lava and the whole team has to get to the other side of the bridge, that teams build connections.
These connections might not come out in the office because the office environment isn’t necessarily built for this purpose, but team building helps employees build connections with each other that they can use in the office. Sharing personal bonds and things in common are much stronger than simply sharing cubicle dividers and the office stapler!
Make departments more cohesive
Team building also allows employees from different areas of the company to get to know each other and interact with colleagues they might not usually see. At a company-wide or interdepartmental team building activity, employees from the production team can work alongside employees of the finance team, for example. At larger team building events long-term employees are communicating with temps and interns, and senior-level employees are interacting with entry-level employees. Also new friendships and work relationships can be formed that otherwise would not have happened naturally.
Team building embraces each part of an organization. It breaks down the silos of companies, departments, and individual roles, and gives everyone a chance to be on the same playing field to bond together for a little while.
Strong bonds build strong teams and trust
Once co-workers have gone through an exciting or extreme experience together, they are bonded together. This is true in real life, so of course it’s true for work! Sharing a strong experience is one of the best ways to build trust and connection. The goal of team building is that whatever happens at the office, employees will remember the team building experience, the skills they learned, and how they had to trust and rely on each other.
Team building also grows trust! Employees begin to see each other as actual people instead of just a name at the bottom of an email or the person they run into at the coffee machine in the morning.
Leaders can get to know employees on a personal level too! Team building helps leaders to not only learn their staff’s names, but their interests and personalities. This trust goes both ways! Employees trust both each other and their leadership because they’ve gone through a memorable experience and got to see the human side of the people at their office. Leaders keep their authority, but gain a new respect that is deeper than the title that is on their business card. Plus, leaders grow to trust their employees more than ever before because they got to see what they are capable of in unique, problem-solving situations.
Just as everything with team building, the trust built reaches far beyond the activity or fun outing. It lays the groundwork for a strong company or organizational culture where employees are invested and engaged in their work.
Valued employees work harder, and stay longer
Every job can get boring and monotonous at times. Even a dream job has paperwork or other tasks that are a total drag. Due to that fact, people want to work for a company that is fun and recognizes that employees are actual people who like trying new things, laughing, learning, building relationships, and spending time together instead of just feeling like cogs in the corporate machine.
Team building is one of the most effective ways to increase employee morale. Taking a paid day off work to try a cooking class, volunteering as a group, or go on an epic scavenger hunt around the city? That’s something nearly every employee can get behind, including the boss! It gives people a mental break from work and builds connections so they feel more valued and engaged at work.
Engaged workers are more productive, which increases the output and bottom line for the company. In fact, companies with engaged employees earn more income than competitors with low employee engagement and engagement is what keeps employees around—engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave a company, according to Forbes.
Networking is Mutually Beneficial
Getting to know each other extends beyond getting to know someone and learning their names. Team building is such a great networking tool! Unlike generations of the past, employees don’t spend their entire careers at the same company. Chances are today’s co-workers will be tomorrow’s job references, but CEO’s, managers, and HR professionals should not be weary of team building because of this, they should embrace it! Employees are going to move, and team building will help them stay as long as possible while simultaneously helping them in their careers. Both sides win.
Networking helps employees grow their own personal skills but also creates a web of people they can call on at any point in their career. These are the people who will help with career transitions and be the ones to get your foot in the door for your next job. Many people spend time going to tedious industry networking events, but team building activities make it easier to build a network from your current position.
That’s all great information, but how do I know I gotten team building right?!
This is a great question! If there was laughter, a sense of excitement and accomplishment, perhaps some funny photos being taken, and chatter between employees even after you’re done with the activity you’re definitely on the right track!
It may be hard to tell at first that you are practicing team building within your organization properly, but give it time. When you have a structured and well thought out plan of action, your team will begin to exhibit that cohesiveness and productivity that you were seeking. And as discussed above, you will probably start to see less turnover due to employees feeling valued and happy within their work!
Have us do the work for you!
If you are tired of the everyday mundane tasks in the office, and are looking to get everyone together for an epic day of FUN team building, you are in the right place. You have a strong team and want to make it even more awesome. A customized team building scavenger hunt of your city is just what you need, and we are here to help!
CityHUNT offers a wide array of team building activities and we pride ourselves on our flexibility to all group sizes and locations. We are here to fit your needs – we listen to our clients before we begin the process of creating an event.
If you are even a little curious about what we offer, or are ready to commit to changing your team for the better, call us at (1-877)-HUNT-FUN or fill out our risk-free contact form to simply start the conversation today! When you fill out a form, you are taking the first step in making your employees, students, or volunteers even more awesome.