Have you ever watched The Office? Steve Carell’s character, Michael, makes many attempts to build teamwork among his employees. They are cringe-inducing. That is what often comes to mind when one thinks of “corporate team building”, according to Brian Scudamore at Forbes. But this is not the reality. In truth, it can do wonders for you and your company when done the right way.
It’s Not All Michael Scott
Team building is often considered a silly or even worthless exercise, but this is far from the truth. According to Executive Chef Events, which provides cooking team building events, team building can be the grease that actually makes your corporate machine work. Research shows that it engenders a sense of confidence and reliance on one another. It can open better lines of communication. Best of all, team building forces people to collaborate in group games. This encourages them to do so at the office as well.
The most beneficial team building work shows itself in better participation. This in turn will lead to a more positive atmosphere for employees. All put together, better teams do more with less and make more money for the company in the process. If you want to do the right thing for your employees and your company, team building is a no-brainer. Talent Culture echoes this point. They write that it can be “the most important investment” you make in your whole organization.
Some argue that the most important thing you can do in this regard is to make it feel natural. This is often easier said than done, but don’t fret. There are many ways to make team building feel like anything but work. Be sure to make the primary focus the simple act of everyone being together. Emphasis on supposed benefits, leadership skills, or other work-related jargon could ruin it. The goal is to produce a friendly experience that is natural and valuable.
7 Exercises for Building a Better Team
So far we have talked about how effective it can be to invest in team building, but we have not given you any practical examples of ways to do this yet. Now we turn our attention to the real activities that can grow a team’s faith in you, trust in each other, and morale. Here are seven distinct ways to build teams that enjoy each other and work harder at the same time.
- Board Games: When chosen well, these can be miracle workers. No, you don’t have to play Monopoly for eight straight hours. With the right team, charades or even something like Catchphrase are real winners.
- Improvisation: Michael Scott ruined this one, too. But you and your team don’t have to! Improv is an art form where actors create scenes on stage, often from a one-word prompt. Your team can do the same and learn about themselves and each other in the process.
- Kitchen Fun: Bakeoffs and cook-offs are easy and inexpensive. Have people bring in their favorite recipes and let the team choose the winner. That way, they get involved in both the process and the outcome, which is key to a good team building exercise.
- Scavenger Hunt: Hubspot reports this as their number one suggestion. Your team can go to the mall or a park, or even stay at the office if necessary. As long as they work together (or in groups) to find the clues or solve the mystery, it will be a huge success.
- Athletic Event: Take the whole team to a sporting event. If you live in a big metropolitan area, this should be easy. An area like SoCal, for example, has about a dozen professional teams and a bunch of college ones, too.
- Concert: Go see a music show! It doesn’t even have to be a concert. Musicals come to town all the time. If your group likes Wicked or Hamilton, go see something like that. If not, check to see when a popular band or musician is in town. Everybody loves that.
- Theme Park: If all else fails, go to a big attraction like Six Flags or Disneyland. Theme parks are popular with people of all ages. Another, cheaper option is to take the team somewhere like Dave and Buster’s. Games abound, and they’ll likely work together.
A Good Team Is Hard to Build
Getting outside the office can make a world of difference. If you want to create a stronger team, consider building rapport with fun exercises. They can make people much happier in general. Happy workers are quite often better workers. Try it out and see what happens. You will end up doing more than just building a better team, though. Your employees will likely thank you for the time to get away and enjoy each other’s company. This can build or restore their trust in you.
Talent Culture writes that tracking ROI of your team building is hard, if not impossible. But the lasting impact it will make on your workers and your business in general are beyond measure.