Budgetary cuts and the shift to remote work have many business owners questioning the importance of team-building activities. With nearly one-third of employees saying they dislike team-building exercises per Wakefield research, it only makes sense that these activities would be among the first to go. But, if your idea of “team building” is trust falls, group juice cleanses, or paintball excursions, it might not be the concept that’s failing your business. It’s the application.
Below, we’ll dig into why team building is important and how to get it right, so your company receives tangible benefits from your investment, and your team walks away with a meaningful experience.
What Team Building is NOT
Before we get into the importance of team building, explore what it’s not. The examples of juice cleanses and paintball wasn’t made up. They made it into the “worst team-building exercises in history list” according to The Hustle, right along with rope courses and Lego for Lunch programs. With ideas like this in play, it’s no wonder team building gets a bad rap. For clarification, team building is not:
- An activity without a tangible benefit.
- Just a way to break the monotony at work.
- Something that has nothing to do with your job.
What Makes for Effective Team Building?
There are a million different types of activities that have the potential to work, but at the heart of it, the most effective team-building exercises:
- Are performed outside the office or are somehow removed from the work environment.
- Require employees to focus on a shared goal or achieve something together.
- Require collaboration and teamwork.
- Leverage skills that participants require at work.
- Are somehow carried back into the work environment afterward.
Benefits of Team Building: What is the Purpose of Team Building?
Now that we’ve got some background, let’s dig into why team building is important and some of the benefits your company can achieve with the right approach.
Team-Building Activities Make Employees Feel Valued
Only 36 percent of organizations have employee recognition programs, according to Gallup research. While team building exercises can’t replace a solid employee recognition program, they do offer the opportunity to recognize employees, particularly for skills and behaviors employees might not see during daily work. Activities such as this also show the team you’re investing in them, their future, and their happiness, which helps boost morale.
Brings Different Departments Together and Encourages Teamwork
One of the challenges with larger companies is that employees have the tendency to break off into subgroups based on department, interests, or background. The team, as a whole, suffers when this happens because there’s less collaboration and teamwork. By bringing everyone together and having them work toward a shared goal, barriers are broken, and collaboration across the greater group improves.
Team Building Makes Work More Enjoyable
A well-thought-out team-building exercise isn’t just an opportunity to break the monotony at work, but it can do just that. Oftentimes, people share laughs in the moment and when everyone is back at work.
Reveals Unknown Skills
People often exhibit whatever behavior they believe is expected of them, so at the office, you might never know that someone is a math whiz, is adept at solving puzzles, or has a knack for leading groups. By pulling them out of their accustomed environment, you’re likely to see the team shine in ways you didn’t know they could.
Boosts Employee Engagement and Staff Morale
Engaged employees are 22 percent more productive, according to Harvard research. Yet, a mere 36 percent of employees are engaged per Gallup polls, and a whopping 21 percent of employees are actively disengaged. Team-building exercises can help pull people out of their slumps and reignite their passion for both the company and their comrades.
Improves Problem-Solving Skills
Interestingly, the best team-building exercises help develop problem-solving skills. When employers move beyond basic exercises like icebreakers and host activities that involve brainstorming or puzzle-related activities, the overall results are better, researchers say.
Enhance Communication and Trust
Another key component of strong team-building programs is greater trust between team members. Researchers say there’s a physiological reason for this: the release of oxytocin. As people share an experience requiring trust and a positive outcome, oxytocin is released, thus boosting feel-good vibes for fellow teammates.
Helps Establish a Workplace Culture That Attracts and Retains Top Talent
Team-building exercises contribute to positive workplace culture by boosting morale, showing employees they’re valued, and strengthening collaboration. In addition, because 40 percent of job seekers consider colleagues and culture when selecting a new job per LinkedIn research, team-building activities have the potential to help businesses attract and retain top talent too.
Improves Collective Employee Productivity
Greater morale is associated with higher levels of productivity, according to research published in the Work and Occupations journal. Increased teamwork and communication have also been shown to improve productivity in other studies. All these areas can be strengthened through employee team-building exercises.
Team Building Ideas
The results are clear. Team building offers many benefits for businesses, but only if the organization takes a mindful approach when selecting activities. To ensure your team and business get the most out of your investment, avoid activities that have the potential to single people out and ensure any activity you choose requires collaboration, communication, and problem-solving. Some ideas that may work include:
- Escape rooms (even virtual ones may work)
- Mystery games (like Clue)
- Scavenger hunts
- Volunteer work
Build a Stronger Business with Invoice Factoring
Whether you need cash on hand for a team-building activity, are trying to build out your team, or simply need to accelerate cash flow to help with everyday expenses like payroll, invoice factoring can help. Unlike loans or lines of credit that create debt, factoring is like getting an advance on your B2B invoices that are paid off when your client pays their bill, so you’re always moving forward and growing. To learn more or get started, request a complimentary Charter Capital rate quote.
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