Never underestimate how much value comes from building bonds between your team members – and between them and you. Having an engaged team makes for a much improved company atmosphere which in turn draws in more quality clients and future employees. Those who like their work stay longer and produce better results toward the organization’s goals.
A Gallup study of how employee engagement drives growth “confirmed that employee engagement continues to be an important predictor of company performance even in a tough economy.” What better reason than to start thinking about this and lay the groundwork for what would work well for your group! Here’s how:
ASSESS YOUR TEAM:
First look at the big picture: Your group, time and budget. Try to pinpoint which individuals or departments may need to come together more, and for what reasons, which can help you choose what activities would be the best.
Consider the group size. If you have a dozen or less people, see if the budget permits an outing or rewards as part of the team building, while leaving enough to do collaboration and communication activities. If you have a lot of people, then you can alter the choice of activity and locations accordingly.
Then ask what your people need to work on. Better communication? More personal harmony? Conflict resolution? Problem solving? Or just plain bonding? This will all lay the groundwork for choosing events or activities (covered below).
TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES
With the goal of enhanced camaraderie, collaboration and communication in mind, pick activities your group will relate to and feel comfortable with. One thing is paramount: Fun should be the key ingredient!
We can forget how important sharing joy and having people laugh together is!
Google to find fresh ideas so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Speaking of fun, have some of it yourself while picking what fits for your people! This article from Workamajig not only lists activities, it tells you how many people are right for each and what skills it works to build. Wrike wrote up ideas for a mostly under 40 crowd, and also has ideas to team build with remote workers, which is great! Lastly, SurfOffice has a practical list of 50 activities, categorized by small teams, larger ones, and remote workers.
TEAM BUILDING EVENTS
If you determine your staff just needs to be rewarded or make merry to bond, you can always pick a great place for a fun-and-food-filled outing. Maybe pair people from departments that never interact, or focus on the teams that need to work better together and pick things to do that will open everyone up. One easy outing that can be enriching for all is to take everyone to hear an inspiring talk – or invite that speaker into the company – followed by a meal for all to talk about it. It could be anything from a local hero, to a Ted Talk in your area, or the author of a book on a relevant topic.
The Zoo often has unforgettable behind the scene tours. You can get special access to a lawn jazz concert, a gallery, or a museum that offers Virtual Reality exhibits. There are cooking classes with a pro chef, indoor sky diving experiences, or giving back together by doing a community project. The list of experiences really is endless.
CONNECT YOURSELF TOO
It’s also very important for you to strengthen bonds with your group too.
You can start with organizing the team building activities as a way to bond with your employees too. Get one or two involved in helping you pick, plan and make the arrangements. Make sure to give them kudos at the event itself for their role in co-creating it. Then, join in where you can, play along, laugh together, eat, take pics to post somewhere with praise for your great team.
Utilize any gap time in these activities to chat one on one with as many individuals as you can to learn more about each employee. But prepare a little. Because it may not be possible to connect with each, think about who might be most important to seek out. Keep it strictly social – no business. This will create a bridge you can reach across. In the next few weeks, maximize that connection by following up with a sit down for learning their goals and how you can help them reach them. Ask what they need to feel good at work, and invite suggestions on how things could work better. Then be sure to address them. This will create trust and a sense that each employee is valued and able to contribute.
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
DON’T FORGET SWAG
While tee shirts might seem unoriginal, it’s actually an instant bonding tool, not to be underestimated. They have a team uniform in sports, so why not in business? You can use brand colors, vary the theme by department, or, to shake it up a little, make a polo or vintage style bowling shirt instead. If you have the budget, you might spring for each to have their name on the sleeve or the breast pocket area, in a tasteful font. Or, give something everyone will remember the time by… perhaps a positive message about teamwork framed to keep on their desk. Thermal mugs or water bottles with carabiners , with a sought after name brand like Yeti, would be a huge hit. Visit Yeti to check out customization. A tangible memento adds value and makes everyone feel special.
Forming bonds between team members will not only make them happier as individuals, but help them work better together, and give your company a competitive edge. And for you to make similar strides with individuals will go a long way to making a good team great!
If you’d like some assistance with figuring how you could best improve your personal bonds with your staff, let’s talk!