In the late 1980′s, when large companies began to feel the heat of fierce competition, they started looking for ways to increase productivity of their workforce. They soon found out that while individual excellence was the key to success in the past, team excellence was the way of the future. They began to organize time away from the workplace for teams to participate in events that were specially planned, designed and executed to promote team spirit. Thus, team building events were born.
Team building events are recreational and entertaining, but they are more than fun activities. They are held to meet certain fundamental objectives. In order to meet these objectives, team building events must be planned carefully and conducted professionally. That is why businesses often partner with successful team building and corporate event companies to meet and fulfill event requirements. However, if you are hosting a team building event, here are a few tips to help you make it effective and successful.
There are thousands of activities to choose from. Team building events could be held indoors or outdoors; they could be mental or physical; they could be simple or complex. The kind of activity you choose plays an important role in the success of the event. The right activity is one in which every member can contribute equally. No one should be reduced to the role of the spectator. You could take your team to the cinemas or you could all go river rafting. The activity must be chosen keeping the following in mind:
- Goal of the event
- Physical condition of team members
- Location of the activity
- Size of the team.
Determine the budget allotted for the team building event. This is vital because everything – from the kind of activity to its location – depends on how much spending money you have. If you decide to take the team to a far away location, you have to factor in expenses such as food and accommodation too. This might be a costly proposition and your budget may not always allow such an event. That said, it must be remembered that great team building events are almost always held away from the workplace because employees feel more relaxed away from campus.
If possible, do not organize the team building event on the weekend or during holidays. It is essential that the company runs these events ‘on the house’, so to speak. Employees should not be forced to participate in team building events on their time off. Instead, try to involve team members. The best way to give teams the activity they love is to ask them what they want. A survey can help you pick the best activities, ideal location and games. When the members of the team contribute towards organizing the event, there is a greater sense of commitment and common purpose. Also, there is a palpable sense of excitement within the team.
Chosen activities must align themselves with the values and principles of the company because members need to come back and reinforce what they have learnt by putting it into practice at the workplace. Activities must not be too hard to too competitive. This could be counterproductive.
Mix people from different functional groups. The event should ideally offer an opportunity to mingle with and build relationships with everyone, even those outside the primary team. This introduces an element of diversity and prevents the formation of buddy gangs within the company. It also destroys prototypes and improves understanding between teams within the same organization.