Team building activities can help an organisation or individuals recognise existing skills and also aid the development of new ones. Because many team skills lie in collaboration and communication, this has the power to transform the culture of an organisation.
Great team building activities allow employees to get to know each other better, understand how to work together effectively and allow themselves to become part of the wider team to achieve their objectives. New strategic relationships will be taken back into the workplace, and clear business objectives can be met.
The outcome of this is a team that reaches a higher level of performance in all areas. To achieve this, team members will employ skills and tactics learned and improved during the team building activity.
Successful team building activities help your business create stronger teams that understand how to work together effectively and in harmony. In creating productive, happy teams within your business where each employee knows the value of their contributions, you can create an organisation that’s successful and rewarding to work for.
What elements should successful team building activities include?
It’s important to focus on all of the important elements of what makes a successful team building activity:
- Team engagement
- Making sure your business objectives are being met
- Ice breakers
Incorporating all of these key elements ensure your team and your business will enjoy maximum benefits from the day. Here’s how:
Lots of team building activities can end up making quieter or less confident members of the team feel less involved. A good team building activity means that everyone is given an equal part. This ensures all participants are engaged and included with no accidental preference for more confident team members. This enables both introverts and extroverts to benefit from the activity, as both will benefit from adopting techniques and skills from each other.
Employees who are leaders in the workplace (because they are assigned managerial roles or just natural social leaders in a group) are obliged to also act as followers. Roles are reversed and re-reversed throughout, allowing subordinate employees and less confident team members to rise to the top and be noticed in a non-threatening environment. It’s a day for role reversals, questioning assumptions and fostering equality and understanding for all team members.
Making sure your business objectives are being met
Your goals as a company may not be in line with your team’s goals, or with the individuals within those teams. Outlining your objectives and then communicating these effectively is the first step in achieving this. Whatever your business objectives, the focus should be to facilitate these through the activity.
If you’re investing time and money into a team building day it’s essential you see return on investment. There should be ways you can measure the longer term benefits in the weeks after taking part.
Many events sold as team building activities‚ only work on this singular aspect, but ice breaking is only one element in a successful team building activity. Doing something fun and out of the ordinary encourages participants to relax. Employees who don’t normally interact at work can get to know each other better, further breaking down barriers between silos that can form in an organisation.
Doing something different can boost creativity and an innovative culture. You never know what ideas might form unless you give time to conversation in new areas that are uncommon. Ice breakers are also a great way for new team members to build trust and begin to form relationships and feel integrated into the company and the company purpose.
How you can organise an effective team building activity
Set objectives or goals
No team building event is successful without defining clear, actionable objectives. Examples of objectives may be to break silos down in the organisation, encourage new ideas and incentivise employee contribution or to hit certain numbered targets.
The goals you set should be measurable so you can quantify them. Each goal should have a specific (but realistic) timeframe so you can identify progress on your way to achieving the objectives.
Understand how you will measure your ROI
Decide what value team building really has to the business in the long and short term and think of how you want to see this value demonstrated. Setting team KPIS, organising appropriate feedback, completing reports; however you wish to measure your ROI, plan this before you begin to organise a team building activity.
Plan how to include the entire team
Activities that most people don’t have a wide range of experience in will mean most people start on an equal footing. Choosing heavily physical activities for example might alienate less physically able members of the team. Try and plan an activity around something unusual but challenging that will mean everyone is a little out of their comfort zone.
Make sure you can’t get into a situation where only the most vocal or confident team members step up. Although these team members are valued, it’s important to think about how you structure the activity so that everyone plays an equal part.
Communicate your company vision and goals
Understand what your company vision is, its mission statement and its goals. Your goals as a company may not be in line with your team’s goals, or with the individuals within those teams. Outlining your goals and purpose clearly as a company and then communicating those goals effectively is the first step in achieving this. Once you can communicate these, current teams and individuals can come together to work towards this shared purpose.
Team building activities can be instrumental in bringing teams together to unite in this way. They allow employees to get to know each other better, understand how to work together effectively and allow themselves to become part of the wider team to achieve their objectives.
Keep a relaxed environment
If you can remove your team from their usual work space it will help them to break free of any habitual thinking associated with their every day role. To get people thinking creatively, being in a new or different environment is more stimulating and places everyone on a level footing away from the associations of their role. This doesn’t mean you have to leave the building, but make sure everyone is away from their desks and somewhere that has enough space, light and lack of distraction.
Get behind a common cause
When you’re looking to align your team to your company goals, finding a common cause or a higher purpose to work towards can inspire your organisation and gives depth to your team building.
Tying your company’s team building goals with its aims to deliver corporate social responsibility allows every employee to be involved. Teams are proud of their achievements on the day, not just because they have bonded with their team and discovered something new about how to improve their work practices, but also because the hard work and fun of the day will be appreciated by someone else who really needs it.