Team Building activities work because it allows employees to learn skills and values that are important for day-to-day work interactions. These values include often lectured but seldom practiced values such as effective communication, task coordination and delegation.
Members learn and practice abstract ideas in team building, through safe and enjoyable activities for the whole team.
Do I need a Team Building Activity?
It is natural for any office or team to feel a certain unease with the work-related hierarchies that exist. These differences in positions may hinder communication and group dynamics. A great way to mitigate this problem is through team building activities.
The purpose of these activities is to bring your group together. A group is most effective when there are little to no barriers to communications. A good culture of open communication is vital to sustaining peak performance in an office.
What are the benefits of team building?
Team building games allow employees to simulate challenging, high pressure situations in a safe space. These activities, followed by a guided reflection, reduces stress and encourages a healthier work environment. A study by Harter and Mann revealed a correlation between a team’s engagement and a team’s profitability.
“Engaged employees are more present and productive; they are more attuned to the needs of customers; and they are more observant of processes, standards and systems. When taken together, the behaviors of highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.” (Harter & Mann)
In short, the purpose of team building goes back to creating a successful, more productive team. So what are the traits of successful teams, and what can you do to incorporate these traits in your team building?
What is the cost of not having team building events?
A 2017 study of 1,500 companies revealed that disengaged employees were costing them a combined $450 billion to $550 billion a year. Disengagement can be anything from not pursuing sales opportunities to longer chats at the water cooler! This glaring cost has enticed more and more companies to invest in team building.
4 Things Successful Teams have in Common (according to Harvard Business Review)
Balance teams foster a give and take relationship among members of the team. Each member contributes ideas and at the same time, accepts the ideas of others.
In a company, it is natural for leaders to talk more than their subordinates. In a team building event, these hierarchies are broken down, creating a more open line of communication between members of the team. All members can talk, and all members will listen. The mere fact that the team building activity exposes teams to events outside the workspace, contributes to more balanced communication.
Communication is best when members face each other. Words and gestures exchanged between the team are also energetic and well-spirited.
In research by Harvard Business Review, they identified energy as the first key element in communication. Energy is measured by the number and nature of interactions between individuals. A nod of the head forms a low energy level, a ‘yes’ a higher energy and a constructive comment, even higher.
During Team Building, it is important for members to feel loose and air an atmosphere of fun. Employee excitement and enjoyment make the interactions more energetic. Members tend to engage with their peers more, opening opportunities for valuable and responsive communication.
Members must be able to form connections with all their colleagues. They must not rely on the leader to communicate with other members of the group.
The second key element in communication is engagement, defined by Harvard as the distribution of energy among team members. This entails that the team must be able to establish a strong connection with all team members. Teams with only a certain cluster with high-energy communication, while the rest do not participate entails a low engagement and therefore a less successful team.
A Team Bonding event can be an opportunity to group members of a team into a selection of people they are not used to interacting with. The walls between different members are then broken down in a safe space. Back in the office, different individuals will be more open to directly communicate with each other, not relying on a leader to bring the group together
The team must be able to efficiently delegate tasks. Each member is expected to explore and acquire information outside the team.
The final key element in communication is exploration. Members must engage individuals outside their team. Successful teams seek more outside connection, Harvard Business Review states. Exploration is important for teams that need creativity and innovation. Exploration grants the opportunity to entertain fresh ideas and perspectives.
Team Building, especially in offices, unite different departments and groups. Giving them a chance to interact in team building activities is a great chance for exploration. Different teams get different perspectives from their colleagues. Coordination in communication is thereby increased, one step closer to a successful team.
Selecting the Best Team Building Activity
So, now that you know the traits to be practiced, next is how to select the best team building activity.
First and foremost, it is recommended to have team building activities in a place other than the workspace. The location doesn’t have to be expensive or a full-on outing. A walk outside the office to a local park would suffice in fostering the feeling the team are doing something different to the norm.
Second, the activity has to be fun and engaging. This ensures a high level of energy among all the members. It also improves the chance that the activity will keep the team recounting stories about the event for a few days/weeks/months.
The activity must not only be fun but inclusive, giving all members a chance to have fun. A drinking party may be fun for some members, but non-drinking members will feel less engaged. It is important to be sensitive to group dynamics.
So, the HBR states successful teams exhibit similar traits in their balance, responsiveness, directness and coordination. And team bonding activities mold individual members into successful and effective teams. As team Building improves communication through teaching values in a safe yet fun environment it stands to reason that team building activities work.
A great place to start planning your team building activity is with Archery Attack
Archery Attack can run team building events in many locations, indoor or outdoor. It puts your team into fun and engaging situations, seizing the opportunity for communication among each and every member. In an environment where communication is vital, the experience is undoubtably of value. Think of it not as an outing, but as an investment for the future of your team.