When it comes to corporate investing, oftentimes managers think about things like business intelligence and analytics or updating technology by way of cloud computing or data management infrastructure, but one of the most important and overlooked investments for any business is their people. Considering businesses with high retention rates, great satisfaction and engagement survey results, and overall desirability, there’s a common thread among them; team building.
Team building is more than just acquiring a great group of people who are good at their jobs and sitting them in a conference room for a “community lunch.” Real team building isn’t the once a year “company picnic” seen on TV or in the movies. Team building is about developing relationships within your team. From a management standpoint, team building begins with getting to know your team members by building a solid rapport and establishing a good working relationship. To get the ball rolling on building strong relationships amongst your team members, ditch the old corporate ways of approaching team building.
Studies show that instead of the pot luck picnic approach, team building exercises that give people the opportunity to grow and learn are more successful. Outings like zipline excursions or whitewater rafting can put team members and managers out of their normal comfort zone but have the added benefit of offering opportunities to conquer fears, build trust, and engage with one another in meaningful ways. Activities like these can lead to developing deeper relationships and new appreciations.
I’m sure we’ve all heard about the corporate trust falls and such, but if you think about these building lessons, they are filled with corporate messaging and swag. Matching shirts, management speeches, and relating each and every exercise back to the office in one way or another really puts a damper on the spirit team building is meant to impart. Skipping these blahs leads to a more genuine experience. Imagine a karaoke night where beer flows, singing ensues, and laughter is had. Maybe the only challenge issued is for everyone to sing either alone or with a group a song. No corporate messaging, but yet skills of public presentation, negotiating, and stage presence are all gained. Perhaps a throw-back to the 80’s night is more your team’s style. Group goal, to master the Electric Slide. Again, no corporate messaging, just a night of fun with team members.
When considering teambuilding events, some of the more popular ones have been as reasonably priced as $100 per person for minor league ball tickets, food, and a half day off paid from work to thousands of dollars per individual for trips to exotic locations with a multi-day schedule of fun and adventures. Whatever your budget, it’s important to think of teambuilding as the investment in people that it is. As the day ends and your event wraps up, it’s about making sure your team members feel appreciated and enjoyed getting to know more about one another and share a unique experience.
After planning and executing a successful team building event, it’s important to keep that energy going by finding ways to incorporate the individuality of people and expand on the experiences regularly. Some companies do simple things like adding in a celebrations section to a weekly team meeting where successes, both personal and professional are shared. Other companies ask employees to keep a personal goal list and share a goal being worked toward with their team members. This allows the opportunity for people to share wisdom and encouragement as well as get to know one another better.
Remember, the goal of team building is to invest in the most important investment a company makes; it’s people. Building excitement and sharing accomplishments builds engagement and satisfaction and helps grow stronger teams and stronger workplaces. For more information on how to build a successful team building exercise and incorporate a sense of engagement into your team contact Front Line Leadership’s Robert Winter at 832-483-5535 or fill out the contact form on our contact page. Impactful strategies for successful leaders start at Front Line.