Fostering a work environment that employees are happy to arrive to every morning should be a top priority for every organization. Companies of all sizes, from Fortune 500s to small start-ups, turn to team building activities to improve morale and build bonds between co-workers. Of course, the effectiveness of these programs isn’t always guaranteed. How do you go about building a program that works for your employees? Follow the tips below to start team building at your company and setting your team up for personal connections and great success working together.
Identifying Your Purpose for Team Building
When it comes to team building, it’s important to identify what you want your employees to get out of the experience. Are you looking to simply have co-workers get to know each other better, or have them learn to work together as a team to accomplish tasks? Sometimes the need for team building activities stems from a problem seen throughout the company, such as lack of productivity or difficulty of cooperation between departments. Talk to your team and identify why you feel that team building is something you want to do; this reason is important when planning your event.
Understand Your Resources
After you’ve identified the objectives for organizing team building activities, you need to understand other factors that may impact the kinds of activities your employees are willing or able to do. Understanding budget is important: can your company afford an adventure-based team building session for several thousand dollars? Is there even something like this available near your office?
You also need to consider is the availability of your employees. Are your workers mostly young professionals who are open to after-work activities, or are they parents with busy nights and weekends? The last thing you want to do is isolate a few employees who aren’t able to participate in a company-wide event. Depending on the size of your organization, it might make sense to hold sessions by department, or hold the event during the workday when everyone is available.
Ideas for Team Building
Of course, some team building activities are more beneficial than others. Regardless of your budget, we recommend the following activities when starting your program:
Getting employees away from their desks to learn something new is a great way for employees to share new experiences.U.S. New & World Report suggests sending employees to local museums, nature centers or historical societies. You could also occasionally hold meetings outside of the office, such as at a local coffee shop or park.
Fitness and Sports Leagues
Sports leagues are a great way for employees to work together outside of work. Different sports are held throughout the year (e.g. basketball and volleyball in the winter, soccer, and softball in the spring and fall), and are typically organized into divisions based on levels of competitiveness. Check with your local recreation center for upcoming leagues.
Another option is to organize company-wide fitness classes, such as yoga. If your company has space, invite an instructor to host a class on site before work or during lunch hour and make the class open to all employees that wish to participate.
It’s no secret that food brings people together, so why not try holding a shared meal event at your company? Perhaps your company could host a monthly potluck dinner. You can also organize a rotating calendar where a department brings in a breakfast dish a certain day of the week (Mondays or Fridays are the best days for this, as it’s good way to start or end the week).
Team Building That’s Right For You
Of course, there are other options for team building activities as well. Consider carving out some time during the work day to hold a team building event right in your office. Inc. recommends the book 36 Simple-to-Conduct Team Building Games, Icebreakers, Energizers and Closing Activities for ideas on how to get your employees working together in fun and engaging ways. Starting a team building program isn’t easy, but the benefits of fostering strong relationships between employees can range from increased productivity to simply happier workers. Like we said, employee happiness should a top priority for your organization. After all, isn’t everyone on the same side?