No man is an island, nor is any employee, which is why team building is such a vital part of having a smooth, well-functioning business environment. As we discussed in our last blog, different office settings can negatively affect creativity and culture, but a lack of cross communication and camaraderie can have an equally detrimental effect.
Working together is a large part of nearly any employee’s job role, from the front desk clerk to the junior account manager to the CEO. Everyone needs to interact with one another with the same end goals in mind, and the better this communication flows, the more efficiently and effectively everyone can do their jobs. In today’s small-and medium-sized workplaces, this is all the more important, as these close-knit teams must all be on the same page to make sure projects are completed effectively, on message and on time.
Overcoming the Stigma
Many employees hear “team building” and immediately roll their eyes, thinking that means a day of tame, yet lame forced engagement. That is a common conception – and a well-deserved one, in many instances, as traditional team-building activities rely on stale and mundane activities that rarely achieved the desired effect.
To make team building truly effective, you need to earn the buy-in of the team. That’s why thinking creatively and engaging in unique and distinctive activities can be some of the best ways to grow closer together as employees and colleagues. Choosing activities that are outside of the norm and that remove that “at-the-office” feeling can be the key to finding success.
As Brian Scudamore, CEO of O2E Brands, wrote in Forbes, sometimes the best team-building experiences don’t force a lesson or practical takeaway. Instead, they are simply a day away from the work jargon or corporate confines, and an opportunity to share an experience. Think of a work-sponsored trip at a unique destination, an afternoon at an amusement park, a pub crawl or any other relaxed occasion as an opportunity for employees to bond and converse in a casual, low-risk setting. Sometimes, this simple organic growth between workers who might otherwise rarely, if ever, chat can open bonding and growth opportunities, or even foster new ideas and creative sparks.
Regardless of the approach, the goal of any team-building activity is to make for a better operation from top to bottom. You want to eliminate tension or conflict, work to drive collaboration and communication, and improve overall team morale. The problem is, how can you define some of these hard-to-gauge goals?
Fortunately, others have done plenty of research into the matter, as the British magazine Business Quarter reports. For instance, team building has been shown to grow communications skills, allowing for a more collaborative approach and effective working across departments or divisions. Citing a survey by ClearCompany, poor collaborative or communications can be fatal to a business, with these shortcomings linked to 86 percent of workplace failures.
On another perspective, a well-executed team-building activity can also increase employee engagement. If your efforts are fun, motivating, meaningful and productive, you can end up with a happier and more involved employee. Why does this matter? Well, for one, studies have shown time and time again that happy employees are more productive, and will work harder and more diligently. Engaged employees are also statistically less likely to leave an organization – 87 percent less, according to Officevibe reporting cited by BQ. That means greater retention, less need to restaff, and a greater dedication to your products, services and clients.
What Does Effective Team Building Look Like?
Of course, now you want the answer to the test – how can you plan a team-building activity that’s sure to be a hit? The truth is there’s no tried and true silver bullet that will work in every case. Every team – and specifically every member – has different interests and passions, so it’s incumbent on you as the organizer of your activity to work on devising an event that appeals to everyone’s interests.
With that in mind, the Houston Chronicle offers a few suggestions that may serve as a good basis to grow your own activity. These include a scavenger hunt, which offers a chance to divide up teams with different members from different departments and have them work together to creatively problem-solve through clues to find items. Another option might be a volunteer project where everyone can come together and constructively benefit a local cause or nonprofit group. Doing this routinely can also allow you to focus on efforts that matter most to your employees and help to benefit the interests of your team while bringing them together.
Maintaining the Benefits
Finally, team-building is not a one-and-done activity – it’s something that must be maintained and managed consistently. There are a few approaches that you can take.
• Daily: Smaller organizations may benefit from a daily five-minute check in where everyone can gather and report on their goings on. This can also be a great opportunity for cross development and collaboration if employees bring concerns or problems to the meeting and another worker has a suggestion or idea that can help overcome that issue.
• Weekly: A quick check in across teams or a longer once-a-week meeting can work, as well. Bring everyone together or designate a representative for each department to serve as a contact to share activities, successes and challenges. This keeps those lines of communication open while minimizing disruptions to your business’ schedule.
•Monthly: You may also want to schedule events monthly to keep growing skills, involving new employees, or just to keep communication open. These events can help keep the overall mood positive and keep developing friendships and professional relationships throughout your organization.
Whatever option you choose, The Space Between offers an innovative facility with scalable options to accommodate small groups or large sessions. With amenities like the Clinton’s Ditch Game Room and The Barge Inn available, as well, there’s plenty of ways to merge business with pleasure, providing a great opportunity to balance team-building and relaxation. Make a reservation for your team to get together and grow together today or contact us to learn more.
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