Team building is lauded by some and despised by many, as its value to a business is thought to be primarily subjective. Yet, it is clear that having group activities fosters a better work environment and improves overall productivity. However, team building exercises or events do not necessarily create teams. Teams must be conceived and built by the company or department managers and then nurtured to mature and perform optimally.
Good teams communicate well, collaborate on projects, establish both personal and professional relationships, support informal socialization and work effectively. It is important to determine the best types of activities that will strengthen your team, rather than turning to what we think will be fun. If collaboration is the goal, then the exercise should leverage activities where two or more members of the team must work together to accomplish a given task or scenario. Team building activities that focus on individual winners do not improve cooperation and communication. They can, in fact, create tension and inequality within the team.
While many view team building as merely creating an activity where employees can get away from the stress of the office for a bit of time, the best are planned with input from the team members and assistance from a professional event planner. The event should also benefit the team by providing additional insights or skills they can apply to their regular job responsibilities and duties.
The American Psychological Association (APA) finds that team building activities can help employees feel valued, and 93% of employees who feel valued state they are motivated to do their best. Five suggestions from the APA for team building are:
- Physical activities
- Field trips
- Professional development activities and workshops
- Shared meals
Last week, I took my Marketing team offsite with team strengthening as the goal. We communicate and collaborate constantly, but each member of the team has different tenures with ANPI, as well as myself and each other. Therefore, it is useful to learn more about us as individuals, potentially discovering shared experiences or outside interests, and increasing the level of trust. The Marketing team’s activities involved, a two-minute introduction, a thought challenge, a presentation and a discussion of favorite marketing campaigns or ads, all followed by a trip to Top Golf. The result was an experience that included both informal and formal interactions building upon the strengths of the team.
Great teams win! The best way for your business to flourish is to invest in building great teams!