Over the few years there’s been a sea of change, with businesses moving away from competitive work environments to workplaces where collaboration and co-operation between staff is seen as the key to success.
As part of this change more and more companies are undertaking regular team building activities. These activities can range from a short, problem-solving activity to a retreat lasting a couple of days. And whilst some people see team building activities as a ‘nice break’ from work, they do have a serious purpose: and that is to develop the skills and knowledge of your staff.
If you can organise team building activities that have a purpose and objectives behind the planning then your organisation can reap a range of benefits:
Improving productivity is one of the most common goals of team building activities. Take the opportunity to identify ways to improve the three Ps (policies, processes and procedures) that can affect productivity. By encouraging employees to learn to work together more effectively and reduce duplication of effort your employees can work more efficiently.
Team building activities can help increase employee motivation in a number of ways. When a group of employees successfully complete a team building activity it creates momentum and makes them feel good about themselves, it increases employees’ confidence in their, and their team’s, ability and it also shows employees that the organisation is willing to invest in them.
One of the most important benefits of a properly planned team building activity is greater collaboration between employees. Collaboration is about knowing who has what knowledge (or can answer to a question), trusting them and their experience and being able to get access to that person when you need it. By creating activities that people enjoy and can experience as a group, employees can build relationships and develop networks of contacts outside their day-to-day role that will help them in the future.
To have a successful business based on creativity and innovation you need to employ different people with diverse perspectives and expertise in order to “cross-pollinate” the organisation with fresh ideas. Out-of-the-ordinary team building tasks give employees permission to use their imagination to come up with creative solutions, and they send the message that creativity in the workplace, and bouncing ideas off each other, is welcome.
Team building activities can also be used to provide recognition to employees by highlighting the work specific employees are doing and the behaviours that have lead to the recipient receiving the recognition. By incorporating recognition into the team building you can send a strong message to every attendee about your company values and what that means to the success of the organisation.
Perhaps the key benefit of a properly planned team building activity is improved communication between employees. Enjoyable, fun activities enable employees to get to know each other, create a better understanding of each other and break down walls of mistrust by encouraging people to focus on what they have in common rather than their differences.
Team-building activities can be a powerful way to develop collaboration and trust, improve motivation, nurture strengths, and address weaknesses. However, they need to be have a real purpose and be properly planned in order to make a genuine impact, rather than just providing ‘a nice day out of the office’.