Team-building sometimes might seem cheesy and unnecessary. Lots of people, when hearing the word, start thinking about trust fall games which are supposed to build strong relationships between employees. Often the results are poor: workers start hating team-building methods and try to avoid them by any cost.
However, modern companies, which employ young people and students who just graduated from colleges, rethink team-building and become more creative with it. Besides, there are more and more resources which can be helpful for every company willing to implement some brand new team-building activities.
So why team-building is essential and what it the best possible way to conduct such events? Let’s find out.
Team-Building. Is It Even Necessary?
Someone might argue that team-building is not necessary. Especially now, when lots of people work remotely and companies can employ hundreds of freelancers who are never present at the office. This applies to many different fields, ranging from independent video production studios, large companies employing best essay writers who help students with urgent assignments to small groups of enthusiasts engaged in game development.
It may be true for big entities with hundreds of employees. However, there are lots of small ones: IT-companies, prospective start-ups, which employ fewer people — as in any other case, creating healthy relationships among them is crucial. The company grows faster and is more effective if people behind the product or service work side-by-side and have trust in each other.
Also, team-building can be extremely versatile. Such activities can be used in multiple ways and to achieve different goals. For example, one may want to spark creativity, raise motivation, or simply help people get to know each other better.
These team-building activities are especially important for recent college students who just finished studying and might feel unsure in a new environment.
Moreover, team-building activities are not neglected by some well-known companies. Think about Uber or Facebook. These entities use such methods regularly to strengthen the relationships among the employees. For example, each branch of Facebook has its own set of team-building activities.
Team-building, if conducted properly, can benefit the company and its workers in multiple ways. However, what it takes to create a genuinely great team-building activity? Simply ditching trust fall games is not enough.
A Recipe for Great Team-Building
Of course, there is no universal solution. Each company is unique, with its own set of values and goals that can be addressed by team-building activities. Something, which is appropriate for a more prominent company like Google, will be unnecessary or even ineffective for small-scale IT startups.
If so, the first piece of advice will be: take some time to understand the company, its employees, and their needs. Are there some challenges inside the entity? Maybe it will not hurt to add more creativity to the working process? Might be young people and recent college students who work in it have some suggestions and ideas?
It is crucial to consider the ideas of students who just finished colleges. Their experience might be beneficial and will allow them to come up with the best team-building method.
Speaking about methods. Team-building is a fruitful field, and there are multiple options to choose from, the sky is the limit. It can be something as simple as social gatherings outside the office, a company retreat, or even studying together!
Yes, it may be surprising, but allowing people to learn something new together is a great way to strengthen their relationships.
There is one type of team-building which is getting more and more popular, a little something called “applied play.” This choice of activity is widespread among Silicon Valley companies, and its primary goal is to engage employees in a play!
Surprisingly, it helps in creating a healthier workplace and make employees happier. Plus, this method of team-building is excellent for recent students as it is not demanding and lightens the atmosphere. Play is engaging and sparks more interest than traditional team-building methods.
For example, The Go Game company, based in San-Francisco, offers a variety of choices in the team-building niche. More and more entities turn to applied play and plan relaxing activities for employees around this concept.
There is also one well-know team-building method called the marshmallow challenge. The idea behind it is pretty simple. People are divided into multiple teams, and each group is required to build the highest-standing construction out of… 20 sticks of spaghetti. Plus, each side will get one yard of tape, one yard of string and, of course, a marshmallow.
Sounds weird? It may be, but the marshmallow challenge is a great team-building exercise. First of all, it requires collaboration and patience from the team members. These are the skills that are invaluable not only when it comes to creating the tower out of spaghetti. They can also make a massive difference in the actual workplace.
Moreover, people need to think strategically, create an outline for a future tower, decide on the best way to put a marshmallow on top. Ultimately, the marshmallow challenge is not only about team-building. It can also be used to introduce design thinking in the team. Stanford d.school has a whole lesson plan for the marshmallow challenge, so it is a good idea to try it out!
Still, it is possible to create a great team-building event without turning to professional companies or doing an old-school marshmallow challenge (even though it might be fun and useful to try).
Companies willing to create their own team-building activities, and just need a place to start from, can benefit from some of these ideas. Consider them as forming a baseline that can be adapted or even changed completely. It all depends on the team, the people, and their ideas.
1). Office Cookout. It is well-known that cooking can bring people together. Ask co-workers to bring some ingredients and make a fun cookout at the office kitchen. Try different cuisines and techniques to learn something new and have a great dinner afterward.
2). This team-building technique is especially beneficial for multicultural teams which comprise of people from different countries and backgrounds. Office cookouts, dedicated to native cuisines of these workers, allow others to learn more about various cultures and make the atmosphere in the office more welcoming and inclusive. Plus, it might be the only chance to try some exotic cuisine or secret family recipes!
3). Board Game Tournament. Why not let people compete at a board game tournament evening? The most popular and suitable games will be Boggle or Jenga, but there are lots of options to explore! Maybe, a recent college student who just finished studying, have some new exciting games to offer? You should definitely ask the intern.
4). Also, do not forget to come up with some prizes! It might be something simple or more elaborate and fun. It all depends on the creativity and budget of each particular company. Still, rewards will add a nice touch to every board game tournament and become an additional source of motivation.
5). Professional Development Workshop. Let’s get back to studying and how it can be a team-building method. It is an excellent idea to organize an event that will not only bond people but also allows them to learn something new and related to work. After all, we do not stop studying after leaving college. It is an ongoing process which can also be fun!
Moreover, some employees might come up with ideas for their own workshops or lectures. For example, SEO Manager can conduct a workshop about basic SEO techniques. A lead graphic designer can speak a bit about colors and typography. Even that student intern who recently graduated might share some useful information from his or her studies.
It is crucial to nurture and support such ideas. They not only allow other employees to learn something new. It is also a great way to improve public speaking skills for people who conduct such seminars.
6). Karaoke Night. Can singing all night long with fellow employees be a way of team-building? Absolutely yes! First and foremost, it is an excellent opportunity for people to open up a bit and get more friendly towards each other. Also, it is simply a fun way to spend Friday evening somewhere out of the office.
Yet, this team-building idea has some limitations — it is not suitable for introverts who are not quite ready to shine on the stage. It is essential to consider such issues while planning such an event. Still, it does not mean that these people can not join — they can become a great supportive audience.
7). Room Escape Games. Escape rooms are in trend now — even The Guardian has published an article about it, and more escape rooms are appearing every day. While it is a great way to spend time with family and friends, room escape games are also effective for team-building!
Think about it this way. Escaping from such a room requires teamwork, leadership, the ability to think logically. Pretty much, all the skills which are in use at the workplace. If so, room escape games do not only bring employees together but also allow them to hone these skills in a fun and exciting way.
Final Thoughts (Conclusion)
Team-building does not have to be neglected, it is a powerful and versatile instrument. Increasing motivation and productivity, building trustful relationships in the office. Team-building is an effective way to achieve all these goals and even more. Just take time and apply some effort to come up with the best relaxing activity possible.
Luckily, there are lots of resources to turn to. Companies that are willing to set up team-building activities on their own can turn to experiences of other organizations. Alternatively, they adapt well-know team-building ideas such as office cookout or a game board tournament. However, there is also the possibility to use external help, for example, from companies which offers a variety of applied plays.
Whichever way the company chooses, it is crucial to talk to employees and consider their ideas. It does not matter, who offers it, CEO or a recent college student. All suggestions are valuable and can make team-building experience genuinely personalized and engaging. After all, it is all about the employees, so their opinions and ideas must be heard.