All companies and professional teams, from small to large businesses, eventually face workplace challenges, whether they are related to communication, environment, project management, or the like. Many business owners don’t think of team building activities as solutions to these problems, but in reality, they can go a long way in solving a variety of issues with the added bonus of being incredibly fun for everyone involved.
Team building activities offer any company a chance to work on creating a better work environment for their employees and contractors, regardless of which areas they want to see improvement in. With the ability to customize the event to suit your company’s specific needs, size, and goals, team building events are a great option for small business owners looking to make a few beneficial changes at the office.
In addition to solving specific problems, all team building events tend to elicit positive results in more broad categories as well, such as employee relationships and inter-departmental communication — two areas any company can always improve upon. After taking some time to better yourself and your employees through team building, you’ll be thrilled to see your office transformed into a more productive, happier version of what it used to be.
Adhering to the following best practices when organizing a corporate team building event for your company will assure you, your employees, and contractors get the most benefits out of the activity.
How To Get the Most Out of Your Team Building Activities
1. Define your Goals
Before you dive into a team building event, you want to make sure you’re getting the most “bang for your buck.” The main goal of your team building exercise is really up to you, but this requires a little thought and deliberation beforehand. Are you looking to have your employees and contractors work together more efficiently? Do your virtual workspace and multiple communication platforms actually hinder coworker communication? Are you trying to make a new hire feel like part of the team? Do you want to plan something fun and team-oriented after a big push to finish a project?
Dig into the areas of your business that could use some improvement. And if you’re struggling to come up with something, ask your employees! They’ll certainly have opinions on things they’d like to see improved, which you can use to create a better working environment for everyone involved.
2. Determine the Best-Fit Activity
Depending on what your company’s goals are, there can be a variety of events that can help reach them. From museum tours and cooking classes to scavenger hunts and community service events, finding the best team building event for your business should be one of the easier (and more fun) things you should do to prepare.
Each activity is better suited to different goals, which is why it is important to define those beforehand. A team building event company can help you with this process by suggesting activities based on your goals, and also working with you to tailor each event to your specific needs.
3. Don’t Make it a “To Do”
While team building activities are incredibly fun and a great way to blow off some steam outside of the office, some employees may need extra encouragement to participate in a “work” event.
Really put thought into how you present the event to the office and when you choose to schedule it. These events make for fun weekend activities, but not all employees may be thrilled about devoting another day of the week to their job. Team building events can be a great way to end the week on a Friday, or sometimes an even better way to start off on a Monday. Do you have a weekly all-company meeting this can take the place of? Be considerate of your employees’ time and make sure your team building event won’t add more stress because of the office hours they may miss out on (even if it is for a good cause!).
4. Brief Employees Before the Event
In order to achieve the goals you set for your team building event, you need to make sure all employees know what to expect. These events are exciting and can completely transform the way your team works together, but only if every participant knows what the end goal is.
Call a company meeting to let employees know what the event is, and why they’re participating in it. Give examples of the problems you’re trying to solve and discuss how the organization as a whole will benefit from the upcoming team building activity — when employees feel as though they’ll be solving problems they’ve dealt with in the office, they’re more likely to see the event as the great opportunity it is.
5. Follow Up
Just as good leaders are proactive with feedback about day-to-day business concerns, you should also give (and receive!) feedback about your team building event. To capitalize on the success of any event like this, consistent follow-up is key. Meet to discuss the lessons you learned from team building as a company and be sure to meet with specific individuals about how these new skills can be adapted to the workplace.
Managers and senior staff members will play an important role in utilizing these lessons within their specific teams. They can also talk to their team members individually to get their opinions, advice, and feedback on the event, which can be used to make the next team building activities even more successful!
6. Be Consistent
While one-off team building events are fun, being consistent with the intent and showing employees that you are continually invested in them is more important. Employees want to see regular events – while they don’t have to be monthly, maybe quarterly events or seasonal events – to know that team building is a regular and good thing.
Building A More Successful Future
Whether you’re looking for a way to integrate new hires into your small team, facilitate better communication between your employees and contractors, or help your sales team form closer bonds, corporate team building activities can help any company reach its goals.
And every company can benefit from team building! It may seem as though things are going great, but there is always room for improvement — whether your company is made of three people or 30. If you aren’t sure what area your company needs to improve in, take some time to talk with your employees and listen to what they have to say. After all, they are part of your team, and you’re all in this together.
Dan Colgan is the founder of Rock Paper Team, LLC, a team building company that blends customized, interactive experiences with clients' goals and objectives. Dan leads events and offers workshops for corporations, wedding parties, educational institutions and non-profit organizations that include Picture Scavenger Hunts, Blind Wine Tasting, Sand Sculpting and much more to facilitate team building and effective communication. Dan has 20 plus years experience and his clients include Priceline Group, JP Morgan, and Facebook. He is also a Stand-up Comedian, who uses his performance skills to engage audiences with both professionalism and humor.