Team building activities are critical to boosting trust and communication between team members and building a positive company culture. By strengthening relationships between team members, an organization may ultimately impact business outcomes.
Choose team building activities that challenge employees to step out of their comfort zone, but take special care to ensure they do so in positive ways. Team-building activities that require too much vulnerability are often dreaded by employees, resulting in poor participation and loss of benefit. One great way to get employees to expand their horizons is to pair them in unnatural groups: i.e., with a coworker they don’t know well or don’t work with directly.
Here are a few ideas for positive team building activities:
Encourage your team to come together to better community. When employees donate their time and effort towards something greater, relationships and trust are established. Consider organizing groceries at a nearby food pantry, assisting with a pet adoption event, or hosting a car wash to raise funds for a local shelter.
Participating in activities like these will benefit the company in many ways: As millennials grow in the professional workforce, providing meaningful work and dedication to important causes continues to be a leading factor in personal employment decisions. This means that participating in periodic volunteer opportunities can improve recruitment and retention. Furthermore, employees often gain a sense of personal pride and gratitude after volunteering for a good cause—and happy employees perform at the highest levels. Finally, when your company supports volunteerism in the community, the community gains awareness and respect for you.
Get Out of the Office
Getting out of the office allows employees to engage on a social level and get to know one another in a new setting. Some great ideas to get teams out of the office and connecting with one another in non-work ways include:
- A team-building ropes course that will challenge team members to face their fears, trust one another, and coach their colleagues through obstacles.
- A night at the movies, which provides an opportunity to socialize for even the most introverted of team members.
- A picnic on a nice summer day in a local park.
- Get-togethers that welcome friends and family; having new guests can help direct conversations away from work.
- Room-escape challenges bring teams together in a fun and challenging way.
- Fun local attractions such as an arcade, roller rink, laser tag or bowling alley.
- Paint and wine events, during which employees are coached to paint a simple piece of art.
Many employees appreciate the opportunity to get some fresh air, try something new and see fellow coworkers from a different perspective.
Host a Company Lunch
Hosting a lunch for your team is especially effective in building relationships at work. As more and more employees look to maximize their workday by eating at their desk, they are losing the social benefit of water cooler talk that occurs during lunchtime. Nobody is put on the spot during informal lunches, so discussions occur organically and give employees an opportunity to get to know one another personally through conversations about family and hobbies. Finally, employees feel valued when lunch is provided on occasion; it’s a useful perk to keep retention high.
In summary, team building activities are both beneficial and fairly simple to facilitate. Incorporating a team building activity into company meetings and training benefits both staff and the company.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.