Effective Team Building: The Basics
Team building is the process of enhancing and fostering relationships between a group of employees to help them work better as a unit. In virtually any modern business or office setting, relationships are essential to performance. Cohesive teams can work better together, get more done, improve employee retention, and even lead to innovation.
Success in this arena starts with fostering the right sense of camaraderie, shared experiences, and potentially a certain type of friendship. In recent years, team building has become increasingly popular, and more businesses are using it to their advantage.
Purpose of Team Building
Many companies want to improve interpersonal relationships among their teams. The point of team building can vary from organization to organization. Each can use team building to clarify the goals of a project, or eliminate or reduce conflict between employees. It can also work to establish team members’ roles, responsibilities, and integrate them into new positions. Effective team building can also help identify further opportunities for growth and solutions to challenges.
The results of these exercises can provide insight into areas that need improvement, and help discover unique strengths of team members that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Benefits of Team Building
While team building may encompass several variables depending on the group or organization, the ultimate goal is usually to foster better relationships. Coworker relationships that are positive and fluid can enhance group problem-solving. Improving employee skills to produce solutions-oriented outcomes can help reduce conflict, stress, and wasted time.
Establishing Positive Relationships
Let’s say that your company just landed a new account that will require a team of employees to collaborate. Why not start the new project with a fun team-building exercise to break the ice, and get people to interact in a positive way before they settle into their roles? Once the team building activity is complete, you can wrap up by introducing the new project and designate unique roles for each employee.
To further motivate everyone, set milestones related to the project. Studies show that small tokens of appreciation and recognition go a long way, and often will give a boost of motivation within the organization. Here are a few of the most noteworthy benefits of team building.
Team-building activities and exercises that target problem-solving are learned skills that employees can transfer into their roles for real problem-solving within their roles and projects.
For most businesses, improving productivity among employees is one of the main goals within the organization. Team-building activities that bring employees together to support one another help bridge communication gaps and build trust. Team members can learn how to rely on one other to work together for the benefit of the whole organization.
For example, employee trust helps them feel confident relying on one another to achieve a goal, especially in projects where several individuals must contribute differently to the whole. Sometimes, activities centered around coworkers getting to know one another better are good for increased productivity. It also helps coworkers realize each person’s strengths, and how they are each an asset to the organization or project.
One key indicator of a team’s relationship functionality is overall morale. Things like stressful coworker relationships or feeling unappreciated, can often contribute to low individual morale, which may lead to additional affected team members, or worse, to losing an employee.
One way to boost morale is to allow employees some time away from their roles to do something fun, not directly work-related. Small changes, such as getting the group out for a day at the lake, or outdoor activities such as a team baseball game, can improve teamwork, boost morale, and company spirit.
Team building brings employees out of their comfort zones, which can give them the freedom to think more creatively. Further, camaraderie is heightened if team members can better brainstorm creative solutions, and share ideas when working on projects.
How to Team Build: Ideas and Activities
There is no universal method of team building that will work for every organization or team, so it’s essential to consider a few key factors. What is the overall culture of your company or brand? A company brand is a living thing that makes up your company culture, attitude, and mission statement. These intricacies manifest through employees, so identifying the company culture can help you find suitable activities for a team-building exercise.
Some companies have ping-pong tables set up for employees to use during breaks or after work. Others take the last fifteen minutes of a weekly meeting and participate in a skit where co-workers can be creative, inject humor and relax before going back to work.
Company gifts are a great way to build teams. Simple things, like t-shirts and mugs, enable people show their team spirit. Companies can give out more exciting or unusual items. Below are some useful items to consider.
- Laptop bags for travelers. Those who travel for their roles will appreciate a handy bag to hold their laptop and other items.
- Electric coffee mug warmers for hot beverages. This is a handy desk item to keep your drink warm while working.
- Customized Challenge Coins. To commemorate a group achievement, recognize a team or department, or even just thank employees in a unique way, challenge coins are a fun gift with growing popularity in the business world.
- Personalized desk nameplates. For added recognition and individuality.
- Coffee sampler sets. Coffee connoisseurs will appreciate this gesture, and they are cost effective if you’re on a budget.
Games and Activities
There are plenty of team building games and activities you can play right at the office. In-office team building games are a fantastic way to try these activities out on a budget.
- Board games and similar: This is one way to boost morale by letting employees relax and get to know one another during a fun exchange. Jenga is a great example.
- Improv activities and role playing: This activity promotes acceptance, communication and negotiation skills. Have employees switch their roles as a skit.
- Daily huddles: These brief, on-your-feet get-togethers maintain a continued connection, awareness of updates, and streamline logistics for projects.
- Designing a marketing plan: Increase creativity by having each employee bring something for their desks and have everyone create a marketing plan for it. Discuss ideas, pitches, and why something would or wouldn’t work.
Events and Outings
For an exceptional team-building experience, you can take your team to something fun or special outside of the office. Your organization can reserve these activities for special events that employees can look forward to quarterly or annually.
- Rock climbing: This can be one activity as a part of an event that offers other activities for a variety of abilities.
- Bowling: It provides a chance of teamwork while showcasing individual talent by nature of the game with some friendly competition.
- A cooking challenge: Eating together is bonding. Create teams to cook a specific meal for each other, or have a friendly team competition.
- Tailgating at a game: Depending on how sports minded your team is, tailgating is very popular at games and offers time to eat, bond and relax.
- Painting and other crafts: Art is another way of creative expression and bonding. This activity can work with groups and has increased in popularity. Groups can book slots for a time to learn painting and other crafts.