Teams act much like the different organ systems in the human body. Every single one has its function and is important in ensuring the health of the body.
Whichever “system” you’re managing, leading a team will mean you have to exert effort in helping your colleagues work as one. One thing you should try to achieve this is team building.
According to research from the University of Central Florida, team building activities are definitely worth trying. The study shows that such an event has a positive impact on a team across the board, particularly in their affective and process outcomes.
This means that if your goal is to establish a more productive team, you should invest your time and resources in organizing team building activities. Fair warning, though — you’ll need to get creative, because polls from Citrix revealed that 31 percent of office workers dislike such activities.
To help you plan an event that your teammates will love (or, at least, won’t hate), here are six tips for encouraging participation during your next team building event:
1. Set Activities During Work Hours
While your colleagues might be passionate about their jobs, there’s a good chance that they wouldn’t want to put in extra hours during the evenings or the weekend just to attend a mandatory company event. A corporate team building is no exception.
Because of this, try to schedule the activity during a workday. In fact, scheduling the activity for one or two hours on a Friday would give you a better chance of successfully encouraging more of your teammates to join compared to holding the activity on a weekend.
You can also try hosting the activity over breakfast or lunch, but don’t forget to offer great food, too. Also, remember to check vacation schedules before picking a date for your team building. Otherwise, your efforts would be in vain if half of the team is on vacation on that day.
2. Decide on Activities Based on the Rule of the Majority
Another way you can encourage participation in a team building event is to ask for recommendations from those who will be invited to join. Whether it’s a heritage tour in the city or a simple sports clinic, giving your teammates a say in what you’ll all be doing automatically makes them interested in the gathering.
To gather information, start by having every member of the team answer a survey that lets them list down some of the things they would like to try. Then, narrow down the list and put it up for a vote. This should help prevent your teammates from feeling like they are forced into the task as it was decided based on the rule of the majority.
3. Conduct the Team Building Elsewhere
Another common reason why people don’t join team building activities is because they are held in the same place that they work in. In some cases, a chance to get out of the office is what your team needs to interact more freely and become more motivated to engage in such activities.
While it is easier to have the team building session in your company boardroom, book a different venue offsite to give people the impression that the activity is not “regular” work.
4. Make it Inclusive
When coming up with an idea for a corporate team building activity, you must also make sure that it includes everyone. Inclusivity entails making the task accessible to anyone, regardless of gender, preferences, or physical limitations.
While sports do help foster camaraderie, is it not always as inclusive as other activities. Sure, some people would be willing to run a relay race or play softball during the event, but some may not be up for the challenge. When this happens, those who aren’t will eventually feel left out, which is the exact opposite of the goal of a team building event.
For this reason, you must always consider the health sensitivities and physical conditions of the members of your team when choosing an activity for the event. Make sure it’s appropriate for everyone – not just a select few.
Still, physical activity does have plenty of social and health benefits. As long as your team is up for it, consider planning a yoga class or excursions like a group hike, camping, or rock climbing.
5. Offer (and Deliver) Value
Many people consider their time valuable, which is especially true for workers. This explains why many employees react negatively to team building events, which they think will only be recreational at best and will have no significant impact on their lives.
To remedy this, make sure that you plan an activity that offers value – a return on investment, if you will – in exchange for the time they set aside for it. It should deliver a takeaway that they can use both personally and professionally.
One great example of this is a philanthropic effort. Conduct a tree planting activity or sign up the team for an outreach program to help the less fortunate.
6. Choose Activities That Have Worked for Others
When you’ve gone through the first five tips and you still find that you have no idea what to do, you should consider looking at other companies or teams and what they did during their team building events.
You can also start integrating team building into your group with activities that don’t need an entire day to accomplish. One good example is the compliment circle.
The compliment circle offers a chance for your team to express their appreciation and encourage one another during a stressful situation.
One variation of this entails team members spending five minutes voluntarily complimenting their teammates about any sort of accomplishment, no matter how small. It can be as simple as admiring someone’s proposals or a person’s efforts in alleviating his teammates’ stress levels (e.g., people bringing food for the entire team while everyone is trying to meet a huge deadline).
You can also have your team compete in board games. Whether it’s Pictionary, Scrabble, or Monopoly, such games are made not just for family and friends, but also for teammates who need a break from the daily grind. Even better, make a tournament out of it and offer attractive prizes for the winner.
Helping Your Team Soar
Managing a team can be challenging, especially if they are becoming unmotivated and uninspired in their work. Help your team soar by encouraging participation during team building activities using this article as a guide.
Mithu Agarwal is the Commercial Director at Seawings LLC, a trusted provider of commercial seaplane tours and charters in the UAE. The company offers aerial tours of the UAE, taking off from the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club through which you can discover the thrill of travelling by a seaplane. Whisking passengers to 1500 feet, the route soars past the iconic city skylines, offering sublime views of the country’s architectural marvels.