Unless you’ve always been self-employed then you’ve more than likely been involved in some kind of team building activity during your life. Whether that activity took place at a day event, weekend retreat or longer get-away will have depended on the budget and event however, the objectives are usually the same. The overall aim of any team building event is to encourage employees to get to know each other with the thought that this will enable them to better work together. Although these events are common and highly enjoyable for all involved, do they actually work?
When the fun is over and everyone returns to the office it is interesting to observe how many people revert to their usual behaviour. Even if certain people enjoyed getting to know each other whilst climbing trees and shooting paintballs at each other, has this brief period of fun really created any premise for them cooperating and interacting more effectively in the office?
Frequently, managers will organise a team building event with no clear goal in mind and when this happens, the event is unfortunately not going to have the desired effect. This results in a waste of everyone’s time with no real benefit. To avoid this happening within your organisation, ensure that you always have a real purpose behind any activity planning you are responsible for. It is best if you first work out which issues need to be addressed. For example, does your team have trouble communicating with each other? If so then you can organise events that require strong communication skills such as question games or problem solving. Genuinely understanding the challenges faced and then tailoring a team building activity around those needs will better resolve the issue then simply aiming for a popular albeit generic event.
It will also herald greater results if you first evaluate which members of the team need to develop a stronger relationship. If there are conflicts between certain members of the team which are causing deeper issues then a targeted team building activity is a great way to resolve such things. Outside of the office environment employees are much more likely to respond positively to each other and in turn this behaviour will continue into the work day. However, to ensure that you truly reach the goals of the day, make sure everyone is fully invested in the event and that all involved understand why they are there. If your employees think they are just getting a fun day out of the office then they are likely to treat the event as so. Explain to them that there are work-place issues that need resolving and that is what you are there to do!