It can be challenging to step away from your desks and dedicate time to team building. But it’s worth it – here’s why.
Let’s break it down into a fun acronym: TEAM!
See Related: 6 Steps to Planning the Perfect Team Building Event
TEAM Building Benefit #1: Team spirit is an irreplaceable asset
Let’s talk quality of life, shall we?
When you walk into an office or log onto a team Zoom, what do you want to see? Frowning faces hunched over, or friendly smiles asking about your weekend?
Simply put, team building activities boost employee morale. They humanize colleagues and strengthen relationships.
Team building improves company culture
The right team building activity can teach employees about each other. The more they know about each other, the more positive relationships will form.
This all creates a more positive work environment.
Team building humanizes your employees
It’s easy to forget that your colleagues have lives outside of work. They are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, friends.
Team building events promote empathy because they let employees bond over activities that aren’t work-related.
Activities like show and tells and sharing circles help teams learn about each other.
- Do your colleagues enjoy archery or cooking Italian food? Maybe you do too!
- Do they spend their weekends at their child’s volleyball tournaments? Perhaps that’s something you have in common.
- Do they care for a parent with dementia? Maybe you’ve been through that experience before and can help support them.
A little bit of sharing can go a long way for improving team morale.
Consider ways to foster positivity every day
Team building is important for many reasons. But one to consider is how happy teams are to come to work every day (in person or online).
When employees work somewhere that breeds joy and gratitude, they will be more excited to do their jobs.
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Set up a bulletin board where everyone can leave positive messages for each other
- Individually, add more compliments and expressions of gratitude to your communications
- Throw half days into the schedule regularly to allow time for group activities
Team building helps with longevity
Not only this, but one of the many benefits of team building is keeping great employees around. As a team member, would you like to work somewhere that feels disconnected and cold?
Team building is important because it inspires new employees to invest their time in your company. A close knit team will also help you retain the best team members.
Consistency is key. If you create a consistently team-oriented environment, then you will consistently keep team members around.
Warmth, encouragement, and empathy make employees feel appreciated.
TEAM Building Benefit #2: Employee engagement opportunities give employees a voice
These days, your employees may be located all over the world. It’s an incredible feat of technology, but can make employee engagement a tad difficult.
When teams don’t spend time in the office together, it can be hard to identify their needs. Where are folks missing connection? What aspects of being in the office do they miss?
Consider team building activities that engage remote teams and in person teams
There are countless ways to bring a virtual team together through team building! Here are a few ideas:
Have the employees fill out a personality test.
- It can be as serious as the Myers-Briggs or as casual as the Pottermore quiz! (Who’s Team Hufflepuff?)
- Then, gather virtually to discuss their findings. Not only will remote employees learn more about each other, they can create unexpected connections!
Create a web-based scavenger hunt.
- Virtually divide your employees into teams and have them scour the internet for funny items. This will promote open communication while getting everyone laughing!
- Make scavenger items fairly open-ended so you get a variety of entertaining findings.
Lead a guessing game.
- Collect a little-known fact about each member of your staff. Then have a friendly virtual competition to see who can match the fact to the person!
- You’ll get engaged employees and help everyone learn about each other.
Play to your staff’s strengths
Don’t plan all of the team building activities alone. Activate your staff and honor their opinions by forming a planning committee.
Getting employees to help plan and emcee a team building event is productive because:
- It demonstrates that you value your staff’s thoughts and ideas
- They will provide insight into the employees’ experiences you may not have been aware of
- They’ll tell you which activities will actually be fun for the staff
- They can help you understand where company culture is lacking
Great leaders know when to ask for help. You don’t need to have all the answers!
Team building is an opportunity for you to learn about your own staff’s strengths and needs.
TEAM Building Benefit #3: Advance trust and communication for a better workplace
On that note, let’s talk about workplace efficiency. Here’s a secret: high performing teams aren’t only effective because of their education or personal work ethic. They have something even more important.
Effective teams trust each other.
That’s right – trust. A great team knows it can lean on one another. The right team building exercises will help your group become a more harmonious unit. Here’s how:
Select team building activities that develop trust
There are plenty of activities that ask participants to embrace vulnerable positions, such as:
- Trust falls (cheesy, but can be effective!)
- Blind direction activities (learn to trust your colleagues’ guidance)
- Personal storytelling shares (a chance to share part of what makes you, you)
- Improv classes (the ultimate way to bond while laughing!)
Showing vulnerability builds trust because participants share part of themselves they perceive to be a weakness.
Now, it is extremely important to prevent harm when conducting trust-building exercises.
There must be explicit rules as far as boundary setting and personal safety. Take care of your group. Be thoughtful and intentional.
And remember: anyone who doesn’t seem to care about the personal safety of others is probably not someone you want on your team.
Run team building exercises that strengthen problem solving and communication skills
A cohesive team knows how to communicate with each other, even in challenging situations. Consider running a team building activity that encourages cross functional collaboration.
What do I mean?
A strong team resolves conflicts effectively. Choose conflict resolution activities that will enhance problem solving skills the staff can bring back to the workplace, such as:
- Solving riddles
- Running a ropes course
- Designing a team logo
TEAM Building Benefit #4: Motivated employees mean better business
Ultimately, you hire employees to meet your company goals. But that doesn’t mean they’re just chess pieces.
Demonstrate personal interest in your staff and watch team performance improve.
Remember the story of Ebenezer Scrooge?
He is exorbitantly wealthy, but treats his employee, Bob Cratchit, terribly. Long hours, low pay, cruel language. Remember the ending, though?
Scrooge learns the error of his selfish ways and begins to treat Bob Cratchit much more kindly. He supports Cratchit’s family, increases his salary, and encourages time off at the holidays.
You can imagine how everyone’s lives must have improved at that point
- Enjoyed going to work
- Had the motivation to do an even better job
- Felt appreciated and wanted to do right by the company and his boss
When employees feel valued, it makes for strong business.
How to motivate employees and improve business through team building
It’s vital to learn how to make the important investment of team building.
Here are some everyday team building activities that can help motivate your group and better your results:
Celebrate strong teams
- We all love the feeling of a hard day’s work, but consider offering more. From financial compensation to days off, public recognition to team awards, identify what motivates your staff.
- The motivator doesn’t need to be tangible! Never underestimate the power of saying “good job” or “thank you.” Appreciation is a terribly underused necessity, and a great way to improve company culture.
Offer the chance to harness new skills
An effective team building event can be based around skill sharing. Offer team members the chance to teach everyone about one of their non-work-related talents, like sewing or birdwatching.
Or, give the entire team a chance to strengthen skills that will help in the business world. Offer workshops in effective communication, budgeting, leadership tactics, and more.
Foster interpersonal relationships
- When your team knows and likes one another, they will be more motivated to perform optimally. Choose a team building activity that helps team members get comfortable with each other.
Form a sports team and play in an intramural league! Create affinity groups encouraging employees to make connections with fellow team members who share common experiences.
Make fun activities a regular perk
- Successful team building shouldn’t be a one-and-done thing. If you want happier teams, strong relationships, and fresh ideas, start team building.
- Incorporate team building into the company’s culture. Acting as corporate emcee through positive team meetings, team building trips, and expressions of appreciation should be intertwined with the company’s DNA.
Ready to Review?
By now, you understand the importance of team building. Let’s summarize what we’ve learned:
TEAM Building Benefit #1: Team spirit is an irreplaceable asset.
TEAM Building Benefit #2: Employee engagement opportunities give staff a voice.
TEAM Building Benefit #3: Advance trust and communication for a better workplace.
TEAM Building Benefit #4: Motivated employees mean better business.
Remember the TEAM acronym and see for yourself how your business blossoms!
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.