Encouraging people to work collaboratively is not only good for business, it also boosts employee morale. While nearly one third of employees are not particularly fond of team building exercises, research shows that teams are able to create a more productive and cohesive work environment, which in turn, leads to employee and client retention, as well as higher profit margins.
The key, then, is creating fun team building initiatives for your employees, while also integrating coveted rewards as incentives.
What are the Physical Limitations of Your Staff?
When deciding on a team building event, take into consideration that, ideally, everyone should at least be able to participate, if they so desire. If there are some people on your staff who are wheelchair-bound, or have alternate-abilities, consider an exercise that focuses on brain games like puzzles, solving riddles with clues such as an escape room, over a game of softball, or bowling. After all, the idea of a team building event is not to have some members feel excluded from the get-go.
Properly Rewarding the Team
In a dog-eat-dog, competitive world, it can be difficult for individuals to act in collaboration with their teammates and feel that they will be properly rewarded. It is important, therefore, to reward the team, as opposed to the individual. Whatever event is being held, always recognize the act of collaboration, in addition to the actual outcome.
Collaborating is at the heart of the effort, and it is what will ultimately affect morale and creativity.
- Thank the team with a themed lunch – A BBQ cookout, or picnic, held outdoors or in the cafeteria, with a special touch such as linen napkins, and festive tablecloths.
- Reward the team with egift cards – Empower your team to celebrate without limits. When you reward with egift cards the spending decision is entrusted upon the recipient which is a gift in and of itself. Showcase your trust in your teams’ decisions by allowing them to buy what they desire most, with the monetary value you discern, on an egift card.
- Spontaneous time off – Let employees know how much you care for them as individuals, by allowing them to come in late, or leave early, on a particularly gorgeous day.
Propose Volunteer Work
Volunteering allows for a multitude of benefits. By creating a volunteer opportunity for your team, you will be giving them the mode for interpersonal connections, which boost creativity, and employee satisfaction. It also offers a morale lifting, higher purpose, which is the act of giving of themselves to their community. Research shows that those who volunteer, as little as once a month, demonstrate an increase in overall mental well-being.
Promote Solving Problems Over Winning
The idea of team collaboration is not to have one individual “win,” but rather to have the entirety of the team win, through joint efforts, and the converging of ideas. This will, in turn, encourage extroverted, as well as introverted employees, to come together, and meet each other in the middle.
The event should promote the confluence of personalities, each with their own strengths and attributes.
- Spectrum map topics – Identify various topics upon which you would like employees’ to share their opinions. This will promote the team’s wide range of viewpoints and allow for everyone – meek and bold alike – to articulate their thoughts.
- Solutions to problems on the back of a napkin – There are many legends of great entrepreneurs whose first ideas were sketched on the back of a napkin. Simulate this activity by offering unsolved business problems and asking each team to draw their solution on the back of a napkin.
- Make a movie – While this activity may require some equipment, though realistically it might only take a cell phone, it is a creative and fun way for a team to work together. Introduce a business or general theme. Ask the team to delegate responsibilities, actors, director, etc., and request that each team write a script, 5-7 minutes in length, for their movie.
Schedule the Team Building Event Wisely
While the objective of team building exercises is to boost employee morale, most employees are not going to want to come in on their days off, stay late after work, or come in over the weekend. Schedule the activity during regular work hours, and include breakfast or lunch, if you’re able to do so. Remember, since the objective is to have everyone included also be sure that there are no vacations scheduled during this event.
Never lose sight of the objective of team building exercises: collaboration, morale boosting, creativity, and fun. These events can help shape a positive company environment, which inspires employee loyalty, and a sense of unified camaraderie. Adding rewards to the mix, shows appreciation for and confidence in your employees.