If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
-- African Proverb
A strong cohesive team can make a world of a difference for small businesses. Small businesses depend on their smaller teams much more than any other corporate structure. But they are also the ones who are most cost and time sensitive. So, answering the question, ‘do team building activities like rock climbing and week long retreats actually work’, is imperative.
Also read: Building Team Chemistry: Five Necessary Elements
The answer like always is, it depends. Some activities and events are unproductive and strained leaving many employees to say, ‘There may be no I in team but that doesn't mean that "I" will still want to participate.’ But there are other activities which truly do what they are supposed to do – improve communication, motivate employees, foster collaboration, promote positivity at the workplace. With GlobalLinker’s five offices spread out across three countries, we have found having offsites make a tangible impact on employee motivation and communication and collaboration. The voice and email address finally have a face they can hang out with and know more of.
GlobalLinker offsites are all about motivation, bonding, team building and setting new goals
Since offsites don’t happen often enough, the key for small businesses is to have a list of such activities in their repository to use often, weekly, monthly or quarterly and to keep that positive energy flowing through their teams and organisation. So, don’t wait for those week long retreats, and invest (very little) in these team building events and get the maximum return on the most important investment you will make:
- Volunteer together: Doing good is good for business. This is one of the easiest team events you can do with your team which builds character and helps bond over doing something good. Not to mention, it is also completely free. Ask your employees for a cause close to their hearts and you have yourself a heartfelt team building event.
- Learn something new together: Arrange for a team class or bring in an expert to teach your team something or even better, ask around the office for special talents that employees would like to share with their mates. It could be anything from cooking to origami to a master class of yoga. Ask around, you will be surprised what a talented pool you have.
- Schedule a Friday ritual: A ritual on Fridays, be it coffee, lunch, ice-cream or drinks can be a great ritual to incorporate within teams which are time poor. The idea of connection will be reinforced with a ritual where the management is committed to bringing everyone together, regularly.
- Play ‘Hero, hardship and highlight’: In this game, each participant shares the hero they idolize, a hardship they went through and a highlight of their lives. This helps break down several barriers as the team get to know each other deeply. This could be played at one of the events or even at one of the Friday ritual events.
- Silly awards: A fun event at one of my previous jobs, where we made heartfelt, funny, embarrassing or motivating award categories and voted for our team members awards. Prankster of the office, always on time/never on time, up to no good and the best lunch box were some of the award categories we voted on. A team that laughs together stays together.
- Set up a game table: It does not need to be a big table tennis table but even chess, carrom, board games, etc can help lighten the atmosphere, help employees let off steam and get people to connect over games during lunch or after hours. Even small things can make a big impact.
ViaSell ensuring that a team that plays together stays together
- Team goals: Functional teams or randomly selected teams work together to complete pre-determined goals such as marathons, hiking, biking, learning a new language or even take a dig at a marketing campaign or product innovation for the company’s benefit.
- Culture connection: Celebrating our differences is as effective as coming together over shared values. Celebrating different aspects of our cultural identity like food, sports movies, etc help bring people together.
- Recognition: Who does not like getting recognised? A monthly or weekly activity celebrating employees who have done exceptionally or done some innovatively is always a welcome gesture. Either a leadership pick or voted by their peers help building a positive workplace where everyone feels valued and recognised.
- Own it day: Let employees take the onus of suggesting what they would like to do, plan it and execute it. This let them take the spotlight while management can sit back and enjoy the benefits of the team building activity or event.
Teamwork is truly the secret which make common people achieve uncommon results. But teamwork needs encouragement, support and a healthy conducive environment. I will leave you to plan your next team event and reap the benefits it brings.
Also read: Tips to motivate & engage your team