Over the past 10 years, team building has gained somewhat of a bad reputation, bringing to mind building rafts out of old oil barrels and cringe-worthy David Brent-esque team building days, where colleagues are forced to endure hours of role-play activities. For this reason, the announcement of a team building day can more often than not be met with sighs and eye rolls from even your most motivated employees.
Most people who’ve worked in the corporate setting have had a negative experience of team building. Often activities are put together at the last minute, are badly organised and ill-matched to your teams' needs and personality. We tend to remember negative experiences more, which can be the main reason employees have often been put off team building for life.
Past experiences aside, team building can be extremely positive and done well, can be the most important investment you’re organisation will ever make.
TEN reasons why you should be arranging a team building activity.
1. To build trust
We spend a lot of time with our work colleagues and team building activities can improve workplace projects that involve and depend on teamwork. To encourage a successful culture in any organisation, there's a need to establish trust among team members. Trust begins with learning to communicate effectively and appreciate our colleagues' strengths. After completing team building activities together employees can better understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This understanding can benefit all your businesses future projects.
In an ever-changing employment landscape with the ongoing conversation about new technology and AI being introduced to the workplace, employees may also feel worried about their future in your company or industry. Team Building can reinforce a feeling of worth and appreciation of employees efforts. Arranging an activity that helps employees clarify their role in the team can reinforce their trust and commitment to your organisation.
2. To mitigate conflict
It’s inevitable that not everyone in your team will see eye to eye all the time, and this is perfectly natural. We can’t love everyone all the time and work can often be stressful and fast-paced leading to friction. Learning to get along despite our differences is a valuable life skill and can positively impact the way we work together. Getting to know each other during team building activities as actual people (not just colleagues), facilitating patience, empathy and acceptance can positively transform wellbeing in the workplace and provide employees with the tools to manage possible future conflicts.
Equipping your team with self-regulation strategies and independence will provide you with more time to manage and give employees more time to learn to appreciate and acknowledge each other's efforts.
3. To encourage communication and increased collaboration
By taking part in the right team building activity employees might discover that they actually like each other. Most offices contain allegiances between certain groups of workmates and divisions are often clear between these groups. Age and gender can often be a factor that prevents employee engagements and once established can be hard to break. Team building helps break down these barriers by creating an interaction between the established groups creating opportunities for networks and friendships to develop making working together easier and more enjoyable.
Bringing people together can also be beneficial for all employees. One person in the team (no matter how brilliant they are) can’t carry the weight of a whole project on their shoulders and discovering that other employees can actually contribute can be a huge relief.
It’s also been suggested that we have a larger imagination when we are around people that we’re comfortable with. So, successful team building events not only bring people closer together but they also lead to more successful and creative workplace ideas. Team building is also the perfect opportunity to learn techniques for working smarter not just harder which is beneficial for employees in the long term.
4. To celebrate and motivation
With many younger employees being fast-tracked into more senior roles there’s the risk that they may lack the experience they require to support their team. A leader's mood is often inversely related to employee turnover so activities that encourage employees to consider their emotions are extremely beneficial. Bad management can often be the source of unrest and resentment in teams and team building can provide the opportunity to identify areas for managerial development.
After any sports team wins a major championship, they celebrate and have fun. This motivates them to want to win even more. This extreme example shows that the celebration, cheering, and fun that comes with every team building event can motivate employees to take their role to the next level. It can also be good to encourage a little healthy competition between employees and management teams, bringing employees together with a shared goal, but do try to avoid activities that pit your members against each other.
5. To provide everyone with the chance to show off hidden skills and abilities
As there becomes a greater discrepancy between jobs and tasks in the workplace we don’t also know exactly what our work colleagues are doing and perhaps that they are not being rewarded for extra work they take on. This can lead to resentment and feelings that they are not appreciated. A team building day is a great opportunity to get to know what colleagues and employees are doing and discover some of the skills you didn’t know they had.
During team building activities quieter less confident employees who tend to get lost in the daily noise may get the chance to shine and who doesn’t like having the opportunity to show what they’re really good at?
Team building can help participants to learn more about themselves (strengths & weaknesses), build confidence and put development strategies in place to address this. Your organisation should encourage ongoing healthy development, so you can be sure that you allocate the right person to the right task in all future tasks.
Why not try some Bushcraft activities at The Wild Place Project and really find out which member of your team has some hidden survival talents.
6. To align vision
Do your employees actually know what they’re all working towards? With the daily 9-5, we sometimes forget that we’re essentially all aiming for the same things not just in our work life, but our personal lives. Team building is a great opportunity to share these aspirations and remember that we’re all just humans and not just ‘Jon from accounts’. An effective way to get everyone "onto the same page", is to include goal setting in your team building activities for the rest of the business year and motivate people to get excited about it.
Setting goals high has been seen to significantly increase the success of a team. Take your team to great heights in a Spitfire, Tiger Moth or Dragon Rapide at Duxford and experience the thrill of a tank ride or our flight simulator. Our partners offer a range of exciting and unusual activities to enhance your corporate event.
7. It’s a chance for people to get to know YOU and your business
Although team building can often be seen as a more of a ‘punishment’, the right activity is the perfect opportunity for your employees to do something a little different and therefore see YOU and the management team a little differently. A team building day away from the office is a chance for you to show your human side and for your team to really get to know you and the ethos of your business.
You never know, you could also learn something from your team members that could be beneficial in your day to day work or even outside of work.
8. To strengthen your team
Working remotely can often be lonely and you can feel withdrawn and distant from the organisation you are employed by. If you have a lot of offices scattered across the country or departments that never get the opportunity to work together or only talk via email a team building day is a great chance for employees to match a face to a voice and really get people together.
The amount of awards employees receive has also been shown to be closely related to satisfaction and motivation.
9. To retain staff
There’s nothing more demotivating than being in a job where there’s no chance of progression or development. Organising a team building activity is an opportunity to give back to your employee and help them achieve their career goals within your organisation. Team building at regular intervals is excellent for reinforcing skills and increasing employee retention of the lessons learned during these events.
While it’s certainly true that not enough team building can lead to skills learned over the course of a work year getting forgotten, the concept of “too much of a good thing” is certainly at play here; workers exposed to the same types of team building exercises on too regular a schedule are likely to see diminishing returns when it comes to increased engagement or productivity. So, it's better to arrange a variety of activities through the year at regular intervals.
A good strategy is to try and plan your organisation’s team building events to coincide with important milestones. Starting afresh with an updated team building schedule in a new fiscal or calendar year is always ideal, for instance. Additional team building is also appropriate whenever an established team receives an influx of new members. Your organisation’s team building should be a core part of your yearly plan.
10. It’s fun!
Everybody wants to work in a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk to and work with anyone. Many organisations have trouble finding the right balance between serious and fun when it comes to their team building activities. Training events that aren’t focused enough – ones that are closer to a company picnic in structure – are a waste of time and resources, as workers leave with little to no teamwork-centric lessons at all. Ultimately, it takes a close analysis of your company culture, current worker morale, and other similar factors before making a final decision on the tone and style of your own specific team building strategy. While it’s obviously hard to quantify some of these soft metrics, a good rule of thumb to consider is a ratio of around 65% serious messaging and 35% lightheartedness. This gets the point across in a suitably serious manner while still keeping workers engaged in the event on an emotional level.
Finding the right strategies to apply to your organisation’s team building events can be challenging.
That’s why it’s always advisable to seek expert guidance from those who know the best standards and practices. If you’re keen to find the perfect team building activity and location for you and your team speak to one of our events experts. They will work with you and a selection of specialist team building partners to ensure your objectives and activity align.
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