Your employees’ ability to work together and communicate efficiently as a team is critical to the continued success of your business. Many employers understand the importance of team building events; however, it takes more than a mere team lunch or trip to the museum to spawn good teamwork. The best team building events have a clear goal in mind, often targeting weaknesses that need to be addressed.
In order to plan an efficient team building event, you must first know what weaknesses must be tackled. You can learn a lot through observing how employees work and behave together, but you can learn even more by anonymously surveying employees. Write up a questionnaire to ask about department communication, individual goals vs. teamwork and various topics about coworkers getting along and working smoothly together. When you know the team’s weaknesses, it’s easier to plan activities to strengthen them.
For instance, if you want to strengthen the team’s communication skills, prepare an activity that forces them to debate and reach a decision. One example is reserving the last 20 minutes of a team meeting to discuss a survival scenario. If the team was shipwrecked and the lifeboat could fit everyone plus 10 items, what would those items be? Give everyone the opportunity to make suggestions and debate their validity, then ask that they reach an agreement. This encourages healthy communication, plus allows employees to get to know one another.
Or, if you want to strengthen the team’s interdependence, prepare an activity that forces them to rely on one another in order to complete a task. An example is a blind obstacle course. Set up a large room or outdoor space with a maze of boxes, chairs and other obstacles. Pair off the team and have one person from each pair put on a blindfold. The other person must then verbally direct their blindfolded partner through the maze without running into the obstacles. Upon completion, the partners can switch roles. This encourages employees to learn how to better work together in potentially stressful situations.
Not only do these team building events help your employees to work better together, but they also provide a source of fun to break up the hours of work duties. Try to plan some sort of team building activity at least once per month, whether a short discussion or a longer field trip.
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