Team building promotes bonding within the employees and creates a sense of camaraderie. Instead of treating their jobs as an ordeal that they have to put up with; employees actually look forward to going to work every day as this gives them a chance to be with people whom they are friends with. On a purely psychological level, employees’ minds start associating work with positive feelings like happiness, fun, friendship etc. This is very similar to the way people reminisce about school or college. Most students do not really like to study. Still, almost all people have very fond memories regarding their school days and this period is considered to be the best time in a person’s life. The reason for this is that apart from studying, school provided an opportunity to interact with close friends on a daily basis. School children play together, get in trouble together and share many adventures and sometimes even misadventures together. This creates a very strong sense of team spirit that often lasts for a lifetime.
The gist of the matter is if you can get your employees to bond with each other, they actually work with better coordination and understanding. This boosts productivity, mitigates nasty office politics and significantly improves employee retention. Team building events do not necessarily have to be grand and expensive. Mentioned below are a few affordable yet powerful team building activity ideas.
1) Organize fun games that are skill driven. For example: If you own a company that deals in automotive works, then categories for games may include – which team can put together a transmission in the least amount of time? Or best welding team, best fabricating team and so on. If you own a designing company – then organize games where teams are required to design logos within 5 minutes. If you own an advertising company, ask teams to come up with an ad concept within a short time. It is very important that you do not pit team members against each other as this breeds ill will. Also, employees who do not perform well may feel embarrassed. So remember that the purpose of these games is to build confidence within the team members and not to determine the best employee. Make the events as lively and friendly as possible and treat them like a game and not as a competition.
2) Hold barbecue or tailgating parties at the office grounds, parking lot or any other location for that matter. This is among the most common team building activity ideas but it still provides great results. Assign all event management tasks to the employees themselves. This stimulates sharing of ideas and the employees get a chance to work together in a casual environment. If a group of employees is exceptionally good at working the grill, then let them showcase their skills. Similarly, if certain employees are music aficionados, let him be the DJ. If someone has some great cocktail recipes – let him or her make drinks for all. The key is to get everybody involved in the action.
3) A great way to get to know more about your employees concerns and problems is to simulate role playing scenarios such as – what would I do if I were the CEO or Manager? Employees will often come up with interesting, insightful and witty ideas that could truly be utilized to increase efficiency and to maximize profits.
4) Promote hobby groups within your company. Many people will common interests will even meet after hours in pursuit of their favorite activities. Hobbies may include anything and everything from fishing to motorcycles.
5) Unify your entire work force by motivating them to work towards a common cause for the betterment of society. If you area is highly polluted, then organize tree planting drives. Other similar events include running marathons or half marathons for charitable causes, repairing homes in localities affected by natural catastrophes, providing food for and clothing to the homeless, rescuing animals from cruel or ignorant pet owners etc.
6) Providing free fitness counseling to your employees has proven to be highly successful in improving fitness levels as well in promoting team spirit. General Motors devised a special GM diet for their employees and it has helped people from all over the world to lose weight in a healthy manner without making radical changes to their diet. If some of your employees are experts in yoga or health-friendly cooking, then give them an opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise by organizing after-hours sessions.
7) Arrange screening of a highly anticipated sports event, TV show or movie. This gives employees something interesting to talk about. Although this activity is not highly interactive; still, employees get a chance to relax, unwind and chat after a hard day of work.
8) Company T-shirts or other customized outfits promote a sense of unity among employees and also advertise the company banner. The design of company outfits is very crucial in determining whether people will want to them or not. If your company t-shirts are boring and unexciting, then they will not generate too much enthusiasm. On the other hand, if your company outfits feature amusing and original designs that are instantly recognizable; then employees will want to show them off. You can organize a ‘company outfit day’ once in a while so that all employees get a chance to wear these outfits. Uniforms make employees feel that they all belong to one huge family.
9) One of the best team building activity ideas is to ask a thought-provoking question which sparks a spontaneous and interesting conversation. This can be done anywhere, anytime and does not require any special equipment. Also, the ideas that are brainstormed during this period may often prove to be very productive. This method serves a great ice-breaker before team meetings.
10) Invite employees’ families whenever possible as this fosters friendships within the families and helps to maintain a high morale within the entire work-force.
The most successful companies in the world are the ones which have managed to create and maintain an excellent team dynamic within their business structure. Please note that team building events are of no use if they are held very rarely. In order for these activities to have maximum impact, they should be held as many times as possible and must be amalgamated into the company culture.