So, you may be wondering, what is team building, and why is it important?
Team building is how company leaders encourage growth, bonding, and teamwork through exercises or activities. They can also help promote a shared company identity and help prevent burnout. They could be as simple as fun and thought-provoking questions to something more elaborate like a corporate retreat.
The benefits of these practices or events can range from improved collaborations and engagement to developing skills like communication and conflict resolution. Yes, team-building is essential for many reasons, but ultimately your results will depend on what you or your employees are trying to gain from the experience.
Now, all this may lead you to wonder, what’s needed to be successful?
Well, first things first, a team-building event needs a leader to head the meeting. It’s best to have a designated coordinator to settle quarrels, answer any questions, and properly guide the team to success. *Hint hint: This could be an ideal opportunity for high performers to round out those leadership skills.
Secondly, but nowhere near less important, set time frames of organized engagement as well as clear expectations of what’s to come. Of course, these moments are meant to be fun but also purposeful. With that said, you wouldn’t want to lose too much actual work time, so team-building activities should follow similar structures as day-to-day tasks with specific start and end times and an achievable goal.
Lastly, proper tools for collaboration and a willingness to participate are an absolute must for team strengthening. It will be challenging to get things rolling and keep up engagement with technical troubles or without the resources needed. And your chances of a successful activity can be drastically affected by little to no enthusiasm to participate or a poor attitude when partaking.
With those questions out of the way, it’s time to get into some actual exercises you can start trying today:
Icebreakers are named for “breaking the ice,” but let’s face it, you don’t actually have any ice around to break. So try to dig a little deeper into what this “ice” symbolizes for your team.
This “ice” can be the discomfort of being new on the team, returning to the office in general, or even the struggle of getting different teams or departments to know one another. Knowing the type of “ice,” you’re trying to break can help you choose the questions best fitting for the task.
Try this out: Sprinkle meetings with ice breakers.
Consider opening and, if you’re up for it, closing meetings on a high note. Starting a discussion with icebreakers can set the right mood for critical and creative thinking and even present a fun approach to putting the spotlight on employees for the opportunity to learn more about them.
As mentioned earlier, the benefits of team-building activities are quite vast. With the right planning and goals set, they have the power to help boost creativity, build on your company’s culture, increase job satisfaction, and strengthen communication skills. When targeting small or large groups, it’s important to consider what they should be gaining from these team-building ideas.
Here are a few you can try out based on your team’s needs:
The team-building idea: Employees visit a local museum or cultural spot and then share with their team their experience, pictures, and what they liked most.
When your company encourages cultural awareness, your employees will have the opportunity to build stronger bonds within their teams. For those international teams or an expansive remote workforce, sharing visits to museums, gardens, national parks, etc., can help you and your team appreciate where others live and give coworkers an idea about where they may want to vacation once things fully open up. This activity promotes a healthy work-life balance and allows the whole team to benefit.
The team-building idea: Individual members of your team each share 3 tasks they plan to accomplish, 2 challenges or hurdles they may be facing, and 1 goal for the day.
Your team may already share their tasks and projects for the day, but maybe there’s an everyday struggle or some similar setbacks among them. Sharing is caring, or at least burden relieving, when another team member may be holding the solution or an office hack. Being in the know of both the ups and downs of your team’s workday can help other employees in the team give their support, encouragement, and advice.
The team-building idea: Create a shared Spotify playlist that your team can add to each week.
This simple yet effective team-building activity virtually brings everyone together through music. Maybe your team needs a Monday pick-me-up, or a “get through another meeting” banger. Whatever the case, have your teams share their motivational beats to help uplift the whole team.
Company-wide or even department retreats can be extremely useful in reinforcing bonds and celebrating connections.
It may even be argued that retreats are no longer a luxury but a necessity for companies with remote workers. For over a year, workforces have been socially distanced by county, state, and internationally. This separation without the proper attention can result in feelings of isolation, a lack of motivation, and an odd relatability to robots. Providing and encouraging safe social interaction can help remind your team they belong and refuel their need for support and community.
Team building is meant to improve relationships among your employees, encourage continuous growth and engagement, and if successful, can be a highlight of your employee’s experience while working with you. But there’s no need to take our word for it. Give some of these ideas a try!
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