Monday March 22, 2010
Ben Buet discusses how team building comes in many forms, but whichever way it's delivered – the impact is immeasurable.
I started playing squash with our operations manager Jon Reed about three months ago. At first it was just a case of trying a new sport and getting fit. However, the more we played the more I found I was not only getting fitter but I was also getting great bits of advice about work and I was getting to know Jon. I also realised that whenever we returned to work from a good session on the court, I had so much more energy, and felt completely de-stressed. It helps that we are both competitive people; we push each other to be better.
After a difficult period it’s vital to keep teams motivated, and managing it in a cost effective way is even better. There is so much to gain from team building activities – and if you think creatively, you can find that there are so many different types you can do.
Going along the sports theme, I heard a great idea the other day that could work for companies with multiple sites / locations, like contract caterers: a football tournament once a quarter between all the different sites. This would mean that each site could have weekly / monthly football practice if they wanted which would be a fun way to get to know each other better, socialise and get fit. The tournament itself would be a fantastic opportunity for the sites to get together and share many ideas on how they run, the employees would get to know one another better, and of course it’s a great reminder for everyone that although they are separated by location, they all still belong to one company.
Another good idea would be a TV themed night. Along the lines of The Apprentice / Britain’s Got Talent which can always be a good laugh and give your employees the chance to let their hair down. These can cost very little and give your employees the chance for their entrepreneurial side to come out. You never know, some of your employees might have talents you never knew about!
Creative events can bring the best ideas from your employees especially when they have to think outside the box. Like brainstorming or arts and crafts sessions. This will allow your employees to express themselves in ways they usually can’t. When forced out of your comfort zone you can come up with ideas you would never normally think of. This will also show your employees that you care about what they think. In addition, you might get some brilliant ideas to use for business benefit.
There are also many other types of team bonding that you can do such as adventure weekends, casino nights and family fun days. Each company is different and some activities won’t suit certain businesses. It doesn’t always have to be big bold events that matter, just introducing games into morning briefing sessions takes 10 minutes to do, but has a massive impact. These small gestures can turn an unhappy team into one that is much more motivated and bonded - which is invaluable during tough times.
Every company will have a slightly different reason why they are doing this. Whether it’s because they have had a good year and want to reward and celebrate, or a bad year and need to pick up people’s spirits, or maybe they have a lot of new employees and need them to bond together quicker. Whatever the reason, the benefits are endless, here are just a few:
- Keeps team morale up in difficult times
- Allows new colleagues to integrate quicker
- Releases stress
- Bonds teams – they learn each others' strengths and development areas
- Enables you to gather creative ideas from your people- Will make people feel valued and want to stay and grow with your company
Tell us about some of the team building ideas you have used, and why they worked – or didn’t!