Team building is becoming a key part of most business’ budgets and, year upon year, we see the team building industry growing in profits. Since the majority of businesses keep their employees organised in respective departments, which can create a fragmented or clique-style workforce, it is great to see HR and agile coaches making socialising a priority. The problem? Most team building options on today’s market don’t have the desired effect!
Common Team Building Exercises
We’re sure, having booked team building before, you are familiar with the typical options of go-karting, paintballing and even water sports such as yachting or white-water rafting. These team building activities do bring people together in the creation of excitement and anticipation but, as they are too far removed from the daily processes of the office, they are not delivering on key performance necessities. See Kenneth Stålsett’s research that demonstrates that the most popular team building activities aren’t improving the skills HR wants. Businesses everywhere are wasting time and money on team building days that bring little to no value back to the office.
Where are They Going Wrong?
Lots of team building activities not just divide the company up into manageable groups but then pit teams against each other in order to succeed. Whilst this might have the advantage of getting people introduced to and working with new people in the business, the competitive edge can be alienating. Most team building activities share one goal: getting your small team to win – at the cost of other team mates!
The problem is that nobody wins when you create an activity which relies upon winners and losers, especially if this is how the activity ends – focusing on a negative point doesn’t create positive feelings! Lots of people feel anxious that they cannot live up to their team’s standards or worry that they let the team down. Losing teams usually have one or two team members that feel responsible for the loss, creating an atmosphere of isolation rather than camaraderie.
Change of Character
Team building activities often create a need for people to change their typical behaviours, and as we have seen from Stålsett’s research, people’s changed behaviour and personality in these situations is often so far removed from what we’re used to that it is met with scepticism from the group. Changing people’s roles and characteristics can create gossip and distrust – which is the exact opposite result HR is going for!
Motivation and Productivity
Lots of studies on work motivation and productivity demonstrate that employees care greatly about the overall impact their job role has and what their employer stands for. How often have you shared the company’s brand values with the team? Team building activities centred around brand values can do much more for your employees than non-tailored ones. Let your employees know that they are working for a good company.
Team Building That Gives Back and Delivers Results
Charitable team building has not gone under the radar. HR teams everywhere are acknowledging and demanding better for their employees. For nature, planet or animal-centric companies, spending time giving back to animals by building sanctuaries with Team Building With Bite will pick the team up, encourage them to collaborate on a large project and be a rewarding experience for all. Alternatively, there are organisations such as Komorabi, an immersive volunteering design team, that can design a challenge to suit your company’s needs and combine it with a charity that specifically reflects your company’s interests. The team will have to work together, utilising everyone’s differing skills to solve a problem, work through the story, get around the city and beat the game, whilst contributing to a charitable cause or local community.
Demand better results from team building. Ensure team activities include everyone, are relevant to the specific skill sets and every day office processes, and give the day meaning for your employees. That’s a formula for team building success!