For staff, team building days are like paid days off but for you they are a big investment, so it’s imperative that you get the most out of it.
First of all, find out what your team likes, before booking your team building event. More importantly find out what they dislike. It’s not great when your employees are pulling sickies from work, so it’s even worse if they are feigning illness to avoid your “fun day out”. By taking the time to get to know them in order to plan the perfect, customised event for your staff, you will improve the employer-employee relationship before you’ve even reached the venue; increasing the chances that, in return, they’ll be enthusiastic and pro-active in the team exercises.
Find real leaders. Leadership isn’t about stepping up to the plate when nobody else volunteers to coordinate the financial reports or organise the monthly stock check. Real leaders are enthusiastic, motivated and have a passion for motivating others. These traits surface best in engaging team tasks where there are prizes at stake or just good old team pride. Look out for those who fidget as the event leader explains the task!
Create friendships not just teams. Everybody is a team player when it means getting through compulsory, boring team building sessions as quickly as possible. But booking exciting, original team building days allow staff to take a step back from work and have fun, providing a space to form friendships which will blossom further back at the office. After a successful team building day, staff will genuinely want to help each other out and start working as a team because they want to; not because they have to.
Refresh ideas. Choose a team building event that seems completely irrelevant to your industry. For example, if you sell insurance try a wine branding workshop to get the creative juices flowing. Getting the team to think about something different will spark new ideas, working systems and processes that can later be applied to your company’s field. Stale working relationships will also get a good dusting off as staff re-discover which team members they work best with, and which relationships generate most ideas.
Build trust. When there are shark infested waters to tackle, you really find out who you can trust. Choose an intense team challenge, like crystal maze, if you want to increase the trust levels in your group. Because, let’s be honest, the falling into your partners’ arms cliché is useless. Who would really step to the side when their partner falls back? They would forever be the office villain.
Create friendly nick-names. The work place can often be a place of back-stabbing and gossiping. To avoid the spreading of nasty nick-names, use your team building days to create friendly, fun nick names that remind everyone of the achievements of individuals and of the whole team on your team building day. The one who successfully avoided infested waters, in order to retrieve treasure for their team, will forever be remembered as Crocodile Dundee!
Lauren Cooper is a final year English student and freelance copywriter and CEO of laurencooperfreelance. She loves sharing team building tips and advice with all of you on behalf of Chillisauce.co.uk