Team building activities are simple ways to support open communication between employees across all positions of a business. Good communication, in turn, goes a long way in creating feelings of trust, understanding and co-operation, which ultimately leads to increased productivity.
Reports have shown that participants of team building events are 45 per cent more likely to stay with their employer. Even more impressively, 93 per cent of employees reported that they felt more valued and motivated to do their best at work after taking part in team building activities.
Team volunteering programs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common – research has repeatedly shown that promoting volunteering within your company will improve your ability to retain employees and attract the best candidates.
A recent survey revealed that 97 per cent of corporate volunteers reported that volunteering helped to develop a stronger team and 76 per cent said that it had a positive influence on how they viewed their employer. Moreover, in a separate poll 70 per cent of those aged 25 to 34 years old stated that they would be more likely to accept a job from a socially conscious employer.
Some companies, such as Orion in the U.S., choose to promote disaster relief projects amongst its employees. This has shown to better develop powerful leadership skills and camaraderie in a way that could never be done in a boardroom. Likewise, corporate coaching and mentoring programs for young, disadvantaged or disabled people are fantastic ways of helping to covertly train your employees to improve listening, processing and overall communication skills while making others feel good and appreciated.
2. Physical Activities
According to psychologists, getting your employees out from behind their desks to move and have fun in whatever activity will help foster team spirit and leadership skills while communicating your commitment to employees’ mental and physical health. A study published in the Journal of Management Development revealed that 60 per cent of employees who were part of outdoor team building activities felt more connected with their co-workers afterwards.
Sign your company up for a charity walk or run, which will require employees to train and strategies group fundraising activities beforehand. This will indeed enhance positive company culture while also giving back to the community and also have the added benefits of creating a positive company culture while helping society.
Another great option is to facilitate participation in a fun and fresh new activity like sailing! Sailing functions as an incredibly effective teambuilding activity as it teaches new skills in a fun group setting and demands that everyone communicate well and cooperate to achieve a shared goal.
3. Problem Solving
Problem solving skills are central to strong performance in any role. Fun activities that help train individuals in a team setting promote group decision-making and allow your employees to learn from and with each other, rather than through formal instruction. They both improve communication between team members and allow individuals to identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
One tried and tested activity is the “Egg Drop” game. Break into teams of 2 to 4 people. Then give each team an egg and a few identical supplies and assign them to design a contraption that will allow the egg to be dropped to the floor without breaking from a height of 10 feet.
Another fantastic method is to break everyone into teams and say that you were unable to decide on a problem solving activity for the day, this will urge each team to come up with the perfect solution – creating a problem solving activity of their own! Choose a winner if you’d like, but let them know afterwards that they’ve already solved the problem.
4. Decision Making
The ability to make quick, fair and rational decisions is a vital skill that is imperative in fostering an effective and successful team. Games that focus on a group’s ability to make shared decisions will stimulate better interaction with one another through deliberation, boost leadership skills and – best of all – let them see the value of building on the ideas of others.
One fantastic and easy to organise game is called “Lost at Sea”. Set the scene for a group of team members by telling them that a mid-holiday disaster has left them and a group of friends drifting on a slowly sinking yacht in the middle of the sea, without skipper or crew. They’ve only managed to save 15 items from the wreck and need to rank the items (in order of performance) correctly in order to survive.
5. Trust Building
In order to create truly positive relationships in your workplace and ensure the development of a healthy environment – ultimately leading to increased work productivity – a baseline level of trust between your employees must be established. Trust implies feelings of honesty and reciprocity, which are hugely beneficial in business, as in life.
There are many different physical teambuilding exercises that allow team members to trust their teammates implicitly. For example, the game “Slice ‘n’ Dice”, requires team members (it works best with at least 20) to face each other in two lines, intersecting their arms with the person across from them. A nominated member of the team first walks, then runs, and, finally, sprints through the middle, while the others learn to raise their arms at precisely the right moment to allow the person through unscathed.
While these types of activities are great for large groups of relatively active people, one of the simplest and most effective exercises revolves around developing good eye contact. Teams of two simply sit across from each other and practice staring into each other’s eyes for increasing lengths of time. While they may feel quite awkward in the beginning, they’ll be surprised by how quickly they become comfortable.
Team building activities can create a team dynamic that is unparalleled to neighbouring competitors. Learning from your colleagues will really pay off and you’ll soon appreciate the people you work with even more than you already do. And not to mention- you will create and strengthen stronger bonds with those you have been too busy to see in the office.
About the author
Caroline Ginnane of Better Venues has over 10 years of experience in working as an events manager. She has organised various team building events, managed conference rooms and planned large scale corporate events and conferences.