It’s always good to give the troops a day away from the front lines. It gives them a break from the old routine and can be useful in terms of morale, motivation, and, of course, team building. But, let’s face it – the mere mention of team building days is enough to make even the most enthusiastic employee wince. So how do you get it right and pull off something that is fun for the team, and useful for you? Well, here are some ideas.
You might think that setting your staff against each other will encourage them to be more competitive. And, you’re right. They will be. But there can only be one winner, and everyone else loses. That’s not really what team building is about, and even if they don’t show it, many of your employees will leave the day feeling like they aren’t good enough.
Make it memorable
Get your day off to a good start and the rest will fall into place. Hire a themed coach or a limousine service to pick everyone up, and retain an air of mystery about the day. Anticipation is a great way of getting people more interested, and they will – hopefully – be more enthusiastic by the time they get there.
Choose groups wisely
However many groups your team will be split into, it’s important to think carefully about the teams. Don’t forget, this is not about competition, so they don’t have to have even skill sets. But they do have to be a good team that works well together. The idea is to show people how much they need other people, so good levels of cooperation are required. Put fiery characters with peacemakers, and quiet people with confidence boosters. Try and draw out the introverts, and hold back the extroverts. Also, the smaller groups you make, the better chance you have of reaching a right balance.
Make it a good experience
Give your employees a chance to learn something new. There are some interesting ideas at the Mother Nature Network. Not all of them will work for you, but could prove more effective than the traditional ‘fall backwards into someone’s arms’ routine that gets dragged out all of the time. One thing to think about is that not all of your employees will be up for doing anything in public. Many people like to go to work, get home and forget about it. They don’t want to be running around a mall in company-branded T-shirts asking people stupid questions.
Above all, have fun
Team building days are about getting to know people, strengthening bonds, and learning new ways of doing things. And, the best way of doing this is to provide a playful and fun environment. Avoid stuffy talks or motivational speaking. They might work well for your sales team, but they sure won’t work for everyone. And there are other things that you can do that have a far more powerful effect than listening to some bloke with glistening white teeth and fake tan show off for ninety minutes. If you want to show your staff that they can achieve anything, you are better off getting them to walk over hot coals.
What have you done on your favorite team building days? Let us know and we’ll get back to you.