The Ultimate List of Team Building Ideas (That Actually Work)
Team building is a phrase that many of us come to love… or hate. These words can conjure up a variety of images, from the overly zealous corporate affair to a day away from the desk.
The corporate team building activity can be useful or useless, depending on the organiser. All the time spent on these tasks takes time away from the regular running of the business, so you want to plan effectively for a return on investment.
Among the variety of different activities that can inspire a bit of faith in our co-workers, some are better than others. We’re here to share the top team building ideas that actually work to strengthen the collaboration of your team members.
If you notice a disconnect between certain groups, there may be a social gap between those in the team. This is where icebreaker activities come in handy!
One of the best ways to break the ice in the room is to ask employees to write out an interesting fact about themselves on a card and then add it into an anonymous draw. When the cards are drawn, it’s up to the group to decide who the interesting fact is about.
This gives employees natural talking points to strengthen their relationships, as they already have a fact to kick off the conversation with.
If you have an influx of new staff or want to encourage existing employees to get to know each other better, then this is an easy and effective activity that can be done in the workplace, turning colleagues from just a name around the office to someone that others will want to get to know.
If your employees are struggling to work together to problem solve, then it’s time to get to the root of that issue. A scavenger hunt encourages clear communication between parties and they won’t be able to go it alone.
You may notice that some employees are more vocal than others, effectively drowning out conversation. Other employees may be aware of this and avoid active collaboration with them. By creating a scavenger hunt that plays to different strengths and weaknesses, teams will have to work together to succeed.
Clues can include the likes of trivia, general knowledge, information about specific staff members – the only limit is your imagination. This can force stronger members of the group to take a back seat, while others come forward to add their input.
Adding in the competitive element of teams will also motivate employees to solve clues faster, and to do so they’ll need to work together!
Of course, you’ll also need to offer up a desirable prize to encourage this collaboration. Gift vouchers, holiday days or even an early finish can really spice up the competition. This can be conducted within the office or elsewhere if you believe that a change of scenery could add to the environment.
Taking a course together can encourage collaboration as well as give your team useful new skills. This doesn’t have to take employees away from the office either, as many courses can be delivered online.
With online courses in leadership & management, employees from different departments can gain a better understanding of how to direct a wider group. This can be an excellent way to identify rising stars to upskill them for further opportunities. Working on the communication skills of the group can have a knock-on effect for increased productivity projects going forward too.
If the problem is cohesion within one team, a course specific to their profession – for example, HR or marketing - can help align their approach and create common ground.
This can be a long-term activity for your team as they can form a regular study group to help each other with tasks and assignments.
Don’t underestimate the benefits that this can bring to individual employees as well as the entire company. It’s a team building exercise that will stretch far beyond a single day.
Browse our online business courses for more options that will bring your teams together.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming ever more important to shout about. With more consumers than ever reporting that this factors into their decision of who to buy from, you should be getting involved.
Organising a day of volunteering with your team can give you and your customers that feel good factor. This also encourages teamwork, whether you’re working in a food bank, a homeless shelter or a hospital for a day. Employees will benefit from learning new skills and working with one another in a totally different environment.
Shaking things up away from the office will show employees new sides of their teammates’ personalities – and often their own, too. Someone that’s quieter in the workplace may be entirely transformed when dealing with something they’re passionate about.
We all love good food and bonding over this can be a great starting point for employees to really engage with one another. Designating an afternoon to share food every month is a fantastic way to build up rapport in your team.
Choose a restaurant with tapas to encourage discussion and sharing, or get everyone involved by asking them to bring a dish.
You could even ask that employees bring a dish with a special meaning for them, then talk it through it with others. This could be a dish from their culture, something they enjoyed at a memorable moment of their life, or just a favourite recipe they want to share.
Exchanging these lunches and taking an extended break can be a fantastic treat for your employees.
Make It Fun!
Above all, your team building activities should inspire a sense of fun in your employees. While there should be key points to take away, you don’t want to turn a team building activity into a droning, boring affair. You can tie these into your corporate values and explain to employees how these skills benefit the team but ensure that it stays light-hearted.
Team building activities should ideally strike a balance between an enjoyable experience and a way to improve working life. There’s no point in indulging in activities that don’t have an element of collaboration, but you don’t need to emphasise this to the point where it’s no longer a treat for your employees.
If you’re too heavy-handed, then your team building activities may very quickly become a dreaded event instead of an interesting day on the calendar.
Why is Team Building So Important?
You might think that these team building ideas are nothing more than an easy day for your employees; however, when done correctly, these can have a hugely beneficial effect.
By organising these kinds of events, your employees can take time to get to know one another, and you can foster an open environment in which they can collaborate more effectively.
Your employees may be accustomed to sticking within a set clique, without really venturing out into the wider office. If this is the case, they’re missing out on valuable collaborative opportunities. Gaining fresh perspective on an issue can result in a more creative solution which employees in the same group wouldn’t have considered.
While not every employee may enter into the spirit of the day, there are great advantages for those that do. Team building engages employees, which in turn improves the bottom line of the business. Happy employees bring in better profits, have fewer sick days and are less likely to leave the business for another opportunity.
Nowadays, companies are investing heavily in team building for their staff because of this long-term return on investment. The Office for Budget Responsibility reported that staff members in the UK are 15% less productive than the average EU counterpart. 72% of respondents also suggested that they would work harder if they felt like their efforts were appreciated with the likes of away days, pay increases and recognition.
Whether you decide to take the team out for a day of volunteering or break the ice in the office, these simple team building ideas can kick things off when it comes to a more effective team. There really are benefits all round, so be sure to consider marking these in your calendar for 2019.
Upskill your teams with online professional qualifications in HR, accountancy, leadership and more.