If done right, team building activities are great for bonding through fun and collaboration
Team building has been a corporate buzzword for quite some time – and not by chance. Its importance, indeed, is widely acknowledged by a great number of HR managers simply because the paramount teamwork, a mainstay of any efficiently working organisation, needs a timely refilling. For this reason, the staff members have to ever so often practice team collaboration, learning to embrace the differences, resolving potentially conflictual situations and bonding through fun and sane communication.
Team building activities can vary from short icebreakers to big company events in foreign locations, but their final goals are usually the same: to enable an interactive, collaborative work together with colleagues, to avail mutual support and understanding while accomplishing different tasks, to build genuine connections and better discussions, to construct a solid basis for successful communication, productivity, and trust both throughout the activity and afterwards, during the office routine hours.
Investing creative efforts, time and money into team events is not a lavish expense. Team building streamlines an open, collaborative corporate culture, balancing the core aspects of a truly productive team: developed leadership, common goals, clear policies and procedures, employees’ overall motivation and happiness, good internal relationships. Fun activities help your workers get together and connect in a different setting, seeing each other in a new light. Forbes authors state that “effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for the company culture and the bottom line”. It is versatile, conformed to specific needs and capable of straightening out problematic points as soon as they arise.
A valuable asset, not a costly burden: how to make team building actually work
Unfortunately, some team building activities get a bad rap. People don’t want to stay all day in a room playing children games without a clear purpose. To organise a quality team building activity that your employees would actually enjoy, come up with creative and fun ideas.
You also need a real strategy – with concrete goals and expectations about what you want to reach and improve. In addition to that, you shouldanalyse whose participation in the activity is necessary, and why. Attentively going through these considerations, you will define which issues you are going to address and what will benefit your staff the most.
At the planning stage you will face the choice of which activity to go for – a game, a contest, a talk, a meal shared together, or all of that. All team building kinds can also be divided into two categories – competitive and non-competitive. Usually HRs prefer not to risk too much and choose a non-competitive, highly collaborative kind of activity. But some others argue that competition is surprisingly an alternative way of bringing a team together. When a person is part of a group “fighting” with other teams, he/she is driven to win and is fully immersed in teamwork, striving to bring the whole team to victory. In the end, the choice in favour of a competitive or non-competitive team building event mostly depends on a current situation within the company and the existing corporate culture.
Regarding the timing as when to schedule team building – there is no one-size-fits-all formula. The general advice is not to wait for one perfect moment to gather your staff – use any time slot that seems to be an opportunity. It is best to hold team building activities during office hours, especially at first: this will motivate employees to attend the events. Once they get a feel for team building and comprehend its value, the timing will become less of an issue.
If you are not sure about your expertise in developing a great team happening inhouse, consider involving in your activity external experts – coaches, facilitators, consultants, advisors. These are professionals employed to conduct middle- and large-scale team buildings and enhance the output of employees. They may guide the entire process, preparing tailored activities apt for your goals.
Last but not least, it is important to incorporate teamwork into your general workplace culture. One-off activities do not bring a long-term effect if the values they advertise are not promoted throughout the working time.
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