Team-building exercises generally fall one of two ways: fun or unbearable.
The trick is – the activity should be easy to understand, properly suited to your company culture, and appropriate in general. For example, if your organization is heavily populated with female baby boomers, dragging everyone out in the woods to play paintball probably isn’t the best idea.
While they should be fun, effective team-building exercises also have a purpose. Maybe you just had a large influx of new workers, or perhaps you are looking to release tension after a particular busy stretch of weeks. The activity you choose should be dictated by the pain point you are trying to soothe.
Forming personal connections
Whether it’s an influx of new workers or due to a siloed department structure, companies often have times when employees just don’t feel very connected to each other. To help resolve this situation, a team-building activity should focus on having workers share parts of themselves with others.
In the team-building game “A Truth and A Lie,” employees separate into one or more groups. Next, employees introduce themselves, tell one truth about who they are and tell one lie about themselves. After, everyone in the group has told their truth and their lie – the group votes to try to guess which one is which. This is a fun and easy way to build trust and open the lines of communication between co-workers.
Another simpler team-building exercise is to have a pot-luck event, where everyone cooks or brings in food that has a special significance to them. This type of activity is particularly appropriate around the holidays, and is a great way to get co-workers into one place at the same time, without the dreaded feeling of getting back to work as soon as it’s over.
Cornerstone emphasizes personal connections through team-building activities right from the beginning of an employee’s career with us. We encourage and engage them with “Get to Know Your Colleague” emails and selfies that bring co-workers together to have fun and create long-lasting workplace bonds.
Heavy workloads and interpersonal conflicts in the workplace are unavoidable and can take a toll on the collective psyche of a company. Some team-building exercises can act to decompress collective tension while bringing people closer together.
Tension-busting activities should involve physical activity, as exercise has been shown to release soothing endorphins in the brain. Classic activities include group trips to paintball, obstacle courses or kayaking excursions. If you are worried about people being left out due to physical restrictions, lower-key alternatives include playing games like Charades or creating a company-wide scavenger hunt.
Performing charity or community work is another great way to bring people together while spreading good feelings. Community cleanup events or volunteer work can also serve as a means to spread the company’s name in the local community. Try organizing a food drive for a local charity, with the promise of a catered pizza lunch or team outing if you reach your canned-food goals.
Cornerstone is always dedicated to our community, and we involve our offices in a myriad of team-building charity-focused activities, like “give aways” to benefit the Michigan Humane Society. We want our colleagues to not only be conscientious in the workplace, but also in the community.
Learning about the company or industry
Team-building exercises can also be oriented around getting employees to learn more about the different aspects of your company or industry. Activities that accomplish this are typically trivia games or game shows that focus on the information you would like to be learned. For example, employees could play a game of Jeopardy! or Trivial Pursuit.
These activities can seem like a thinly veiled attempt to teach dry information, so make sure to include an element of fun, such as prize giveaways or holding the event at a nearby pub.
Here at Cornerstone, we allow and encourage “Extraordinary Experiences” nominations on our website, that share what a staff member has done for someone – big or small – to help them learn something, make their job easier, or just make your day better. Not only does this bring our team closer, it brightens our day to hear all the wonderful experiences within and outside of Cornerstone offices.
At Cornerstone, we strive to provide a tight-knit working environment, both within our company and for our clients. We go out of our way to participate in community events like bake-offs, food trucks, local festivals, and even our renowned Halloween costume contests. If you are looking for talented individuals to join your team, feel free to drop us a line regarding our various talent acquisition solutions.
Making and forming personal connections can be an important factor to ensuring that you retain your company’s talent pool. Humans are social creatures. Knowing the people you see on a daily basis can help make the working environment more comfortable and positive. This is why it is important for managers to try and implement and plan team building activities. This way people have friends and connections at work.