Recent research undertaken at the Queens University of Charlotte revealed that 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as ‘very important’. This illustrates the value of a productive and hardworking team in the workplace. It’s widely considered that a group of employees who work well together is imperative for a productive business, and that behind any successful company is its staff. To ensure your company culture continues to thrive on teamwork, take a look at our five team building tactics.
Why team building exercises are important
Team building exercises are necessary not only for encouraging staff to work closer together, but also to help them form friendships. If colleagues get along with each other socially, it’s far more likely that they will be willing to listen to alternative ideas and constructive criticism. This makes for a strong team that will produce innovative and quality work.
Team building exercises are a superb way to stimulate conversation among staff, particularly when a new team is formed or when new staff members join. As well as this, however, team building exercises are advantageous even for the most well-established teams. They remind people of their colleagues’ capabilities and style of working/thinking.
5 team building tactics to help colleagues bond
To ensure your workplace is a happy one, filled with positive and hardworking staff, there are a wide range of team building exercises and ideas to try.
1. ‘Getting to know you’ exercises
These are particularly helpful when team members are unfamiliar with each other, or when a new recruit joins. There are all kinds of challenges to try, each with the overall goal of helping colleagues to better understand one another and simply get a friendship started. Ideas include;
- Partner-up, and have each person show a personal, meaningful photograph of theirs from within the last few months. They should then explain what was happening that day.
- ‘What’s your favourite . . . ’ – a simple game in which every member chooses a question for everyone to answer. This could be anything from ‘what’s your favourite band’ to ‘what’s your favourite flavour of crisps’.
- Everyone in the group must tell the others who their hero is and why.
2. Team building challenges that rely on collaboration
If one of your teams seems to be working increasingly apart, these kinds of exercises will help re-shift the balance to encourage each individual to communicate and collaborate once again. It’s well known that employees thrive when they have a group to lean on, in which ideas can be bounced around and worked on. Activities to help with this should be those that require everyone to have a voice and work together:
- Assault courses
- Raft building
- Geese herding
- Survival island games
3. Exercises to encourage ‘outside-the-box’ thinking
A brilliant way to help colleagues recognise each other’s skills is to have them take part in a challenge that requires problem-solving. In this situation it’s likely that all members of the team will learn about how their colleagues think, and how this can be useful both for the challenge at hand as well as in the wider scope of work. Consider the following activities:
- Murder mystery game
- Escape rooms
- Scavenger hunts
4. Trust-building exercises
In a similar mode of thought to collaboration exercises, some team building activities will encourage colleagues to start listening, trusting, and relying on each other more. This is useful in the workplace, especially if just one or two people have begun to feel burdened with more than their fair share of work. Some individuals naturally shoulder more responsibility, forgetting that there are others available to help. Exercises that help colleagues trust each other include:
- Blindfolded follow the leader – create partners and have each person guide their partner through an obstacle course.
- Back-to-back drawing – two team members sit back to back, one person has a pad and pencil and the other has a picture. The one with the picture must describe it as much as possible so the other can produce an accurate drawing.
- Maze – the group must make their way through a maze with the help of one person directing them from overhead.
5. Role-reversal challenges to inspire respect
Job-shadowing is a known method of facilitating more understanding and respect between colleagues at work. It’s not always feasible to arrange, however, in a busy work environment.
Use the opportunity of a team building day to put something similar in place, using a fictitious project. An example of this would be in a marketing team, ask the following to switch roles:
- Content writer and graphic designer
- Videographer and PPC assistant
- SEO assistant and events co-ordinator
Have each member spend time trying to put together their ideas and strategy for the project, in their ‘new role,’ so that they are forced to think in the shoes of another.
Team building activities are vital for helping employees get to know each other, and to encourage increased collaboration and trust. They can also teach participants other useful skills, such as good communication, efficiency, and lateral thinking. Such skills will go a long way in most roles, which in turn helps to ensure that a company continues to thrive, be innovative, and provide a happy work environment for staff.