How to Ensure Your Team Building Events Have A Purpose
Team building events have the potential to have real, positive impact on your workforce when framed and executed well. On the flip side, team building events have a real potential to be huge time-wasters that not only accomplish little, but are also something that team members come to dread for it being poor use of their time.
How can you make sure the team building activities your organization invests time and money into gives back a meaningful return on your investment, beyond just being “a good time” at best?
The short answer is by making sure they serve a purpose that helps your employees become more productive, knowledgeable, reliable and self-aware – in themselves and in relation to each other.
Here are 6 ways to ensure your team building events have a purpose:
1. Incorporate Core Values and Mission Statements
Games and activities can be designed to be company-focused. Why not do a game of charades with each core value as an answer? Or have team members race to put together a puzzle that spells out the mission statement. Art projects that display either of these are good ideas, too. These exercises are fun, give the employees a chance to be creative, and remind everyone of the overall company stance and beliefs.
2. Create Memorable Photo Ops
It’s smart to record employees having fun and being engaged; these photos can be used on social media channels to build your employer brand and showcase your company’s culture and they also serve as great memories to keep team members connected. They can also be used as subjects in recruiting materials because they’re authentic representations of your team members in a work-related context. Designate a couple of employees to take photos of the activities and ask them to get small group shots and an inclusive shot of everyone involved in the event.
3. Construct Problem/Solution Scenarios
Identify issues within your company and use those as a team building exercise. Is there a problem with your company’s culture? Do you have issues with maintaining robust communication? Do proper processes go un-followed or do people have time management issues? Whatever the issue, with a little planning and creativity you can make a game or task that helps build your team’s skills and address your problem at the same time.
4. Design Cross-Department Teams
Employees may be close to their immediate team members but have little contact with those outside their own departments. Team building can help break down those barriers. No matter the exercise or competition, make sure the teams are cross-sectionally chosen and don’t let the same cliques emerge (even those are are innocently formed!). Add employees from accounting, some from marketing, and some from operations or sales or engineering. Teams created from all departments help increase two-way communication, forge new relationships and camaraderie, and pave the way to listening to new ideas and opinions.
5. Offer Volunteer Opportunities
An easy way to ensure team building has a purpose is to go beyond your own walls and give back to the greater community your company serves. Build a playground for underprivileged kids, do a walk to raise money, clean up a highway, or cook and serve at the local homeless shelter or food bank. Volunteering helps build morale, create opportunities for employees to get to know each other on a personal level, and do some good for the less fortunate.
6. Practice Important Skills
Finally, team building events need to be able to hone and sharpen your employees’ skill sets. Use blind-fold games to promote verbal communication. Add in some strategy games to advance their problem solving skills and ability to think outside the box. Run a relay where everyone must help each other to promote trust and reliability. Play some games that have a timed deadline to help employees work better under pressure. Think about what you want to accomplish with the team building event in advance, and formulate the activities around that goal.
Consistent team building events can have a powerful impact on your workforce if you organize and execute them correctly. The key is to keep in mind while you’re planning the events that you want to achieve more engaged, productive employees who have strong relationships and communication across departments. Investing time and money into team building events is definitely worth it, as long as you make sure they have a purpose.