The Value of Team Building in the Workplace
What is Team Building?
As the name implies, team building is used to strengthen personal relationships and spur camaraderie within an organization. Team building activities encourage groups of individuals, departments, or brands to work towards a common goal - the growth or empowerment of the organization.
Team building is a process of improving communication, building rapport, and incentivizing action. It allows employees to see themselves as part of something bigger and want to contribute to the team’s success.
Cohesiveness and efficiency are natural byproducts as well. Along with improved problem solving, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills. Not to mention an ideal way to showcase your company culture.
All of which helps organizations to overcome obstacles and break down barriers that impede progress.
Why is Team Building in the Workplace Important?
Aside from the elements previously mentioned, team building activities pay huge dividends for organizations willing to invest the time and energy. We’re not just talking about productivity either - many big brands use team building as a recruiting and retention tool to entice top talent.
While the list of benefits is nearly endless, here are few of the ones that come up most often:
Teamwork - employees don’t naturally gravitate towards newcomers assigned to their ranks. It’s just human nature to feel standoffish towards people we don’t know.
Team building overcomes this hurdle by allowing co-workers to get to know one another. But not just on the surface level - they also gain an understanding of their peers’ strengths and weaknesses and what skills they bring to the table.
Thus, allowing each member to contribute their best efforts, on work assignments they enjoy, while helping to foster creativity and resourcefulness in getting the job done.
Communication - one of the biggest causes of lost productivity and revenue in modern businesses. Being able to communicate with a wide array of people and personality types is crucial to personal and professional growth.
Team building exercises break down barriers by revealing how information is best received (and given) by each stakeholder. They also identify gaps where information is lost or relayed incorrectly and how these errors can be fixed.
Trust and Respect - aka getting to know one another better. Team building events allow us to learn about others and understand what makes them tick.
Hearing about someone’s goals, dreams, fears, and failures encourages deeper connections and stronger relationships.
All of which promote a sense of community/family and a strong desire to support those around us.
More Fun - an often overlooked, but vital element of workplace productivity. Studies show that employees who reported having fun at work are significantly more productive than those who don’t.
The concept is easy to understand, yet a surprising number of businesses fail to incorporate this logic into their day-to-day activities.
Stronger Results - when employees feel appreciated, respected and are having fun, it only makes sense that overall performance improves as well. After all, working toward a common goal is one of the strongest motivating factors in existence.
Healthy work environments like these also help to foster competition and creativity. Which again perpetuates the cycle of great communication, teamwork, and naturally higher productivity.
Success begets success - and team building is a prime tool to jumpstart the process.
Implementing Team Building Exercises in the Workplace
While most organizations want to improve their team building initiatives, many fail to act because they don’t know where to begin.
The process doesn’t have to be that difficult though - simply making an honest effort and doing your best to maintain momentum will go a long way.
Although there are countless forms of team building exercises and events, here are a few important concepts to consider.
- You Don’t Need to Spend a Lot of Money - something as simple as an office pizza party, morning donuts or afternoon ice cream social will do the trick. Or, if you want to promote healthy lifestyles, try an outdoor scavenger hunt or nerf gun battle in the office.
As long as your team is together, relaxed, and interacting with one another, you’ve already won the battle. Group games and exercises pair nicely here and can help develop relationships and promote mutual understanding.
- Get Away from The Office - if time and budget permit, try going offsite. Even if you meet at the bowling alley down the street it still feels different than being at work.
Shifting away from the office environment allows employees to let their guard down and be more open about feelings and opinions. Offsite retreats are a great option for strategic planning sessions and encourage employee ownership in the process.
- Do Something Out of Your Comfort Zone - the best experiences are often the most unexpected ones. How about taking the team out for go-kart races or an after-hours karaoke session? Or perhaps a murder mystery dinner or a trip to the local driving range?
Granted, you need to be mindful of people’s physical abilities and/or limitations, but stepping away from the ordinary is a terrific way to bond and develop trust.
- Try Helping Others Along the Way - many people say they would like to volunteer more often but can’t find the time to do so. Incorporating community service into your team building efforts is a great way to combat this issue and promote goodwill for your brand at the same time.
Possibilities include volunteering for a “day of service” at a shelter or charitable organization, organizing a park or beach cleanup, or creating a mentor program for local youth.
Be creative and see how you can add value and promote team unity at the same time.
- Include Families or Dependents - inviting spouses, partners, or children to team building events is a sure-fire way to earn appreciation and promote loyalty.
Meeting friends and family is always fun and helps employees to expand their network and social circles.
The key is - whatever you choose to do - don’t make it feel like work. Team building experiences are meant to strengthen working relationships and generate results, but they’re also supposed to be fun. If not, you’ll quickly lose favor with participants and incite reluctance for the next go round.
When executed properly, workplace team building exercises can be a powerful force in business growth and development. Helping to usher in new levels of communication, cooperation, creativity, and results.
But the focus has to be on making the experience enjoyable for everyone involved. It’s not a “one and done” proposition either - you must keep the process going in order to continue reaping the rewards.
These events don’t have to be expensive to be worthwhile but try not to be a cheapskate either. Like any other core element of your business, team building events are an investment.
Albeit one that typically pays for itself many times over.
What kind of unique team building events does your organization employ? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Together- We Succeed!
Chase & Associates
Looking for top tier talent? Ready to make a career change? Click the "Let's Connect" button to talk to one of our executive recruiters. Did this blog post hit home? Please click the share button. Your support is greatly appreciated!