3 Ways To Choose The Right Team-Building ExperienceJason Siddall
Some of us have met our best friends at work and forged enduring relationships which reach outside of the office walls. We braai together and gossip about Bill from sales, our kids play together and we go on weekends away. However, you have to agree that not everyone gets on at work. And it’s with this in mind that managers choose to engage in a team-building experience for their staff.
What Does Team-Building Do?
The ability to work as a cohesive unit – as a team – is one of the key underlying factors which dictate the success of a company. It is the oil that lubricates the various cogs of the machine. Collaboration, mutual support, and allowing each person to work to their individual strengths streamlines processes and improves their effectiveness overall.
High staff morale has been shown to boost productivity, enjoy a more engaged staff complement, reduce absenteeism and allow for a more pleasant working atmosphere.
Who wouldn’t want that?
The reality, however, is that redundancies, staff conflict, a poor work/life balance, poor management or any number of other factors can erode staff morale and completely undermine the office atmosphere.
This is when many leaders turn to team-building experiences to bring staff together. The theory is that team-building is a fun, uplifting experience outside of work where people can just relax and be themselves, where they can get to know each other a little better, where they can collaborate and learn more about each person’s character. The byproduct of this is a more cohesive team – a bunch of people who like each other and will work well together.
But, how can you ensure that your team-building efforts don’t blow up in your face and end up being an uncomfortable and embarrassing waste of money?
Here’s what to look out for.
Team-Building Experience Considerations
Don’t Embarras Anyone
Without exception, nobody likes being embarrassed and some are more prone to this than others. When you are scouting for appropriate team-building activities, make sure that your selection does not include anything that will make people feel or look stupid, put them in compromising situations, position them in uncomfortable proximity to other team members, or push them so far out of their comfort zone that they just want to go home.
A telling article from Forbes starts off with the following comment: “There may be no I in team but that doesn’t mean that “I” will still want to participate.”
One employee related a “team-building” exercise that involved everyone standing in a circle while each person went around the room and told the others what they didn’t like about them. She says, “We might have also had to add what we did like about each other but I honestly only remember the criticisms and the people bursting into tears. We went from simply not being able to work together to actively disliking each other in about 30 minutes.”
Embarrassing? Yes! Disastrous? For sure!
Another relates an exercise called “naked relationships” (I can see you cringing) where staff and management sat naked in a hot tub and bonded.
Remember That They Have A Home Life
Yes, your work life is important and it’s vital to the health of the company that we all get along. However, too few managers grasp the fact that John has a wife and 2 kids at home, and if you’re planning on taking him away for a week-long jolly to Las Vegas he’s probably going to need some time off afterwards to find a divorce lawyer, and maybe a place to stay.
Team building experiences should never encroach on the personal values of others, in any form. Forcing members of the opposite sex into hilariously compromising situations by making them pass a ball to each other using only their lips, or putting them in their underwear and tying them up will almost certainly backfire.
Not only does this make people uncomfortable, but it can also spark off inter-office relationships which will negatively affect the work environment in some way or another.
If you have a large team then you’ll need to carefully consider the activities you will expect them to engage in. Rock climbing, cage diving, night walks, survival games or bridge swings are likely to give your accounts department premature heart failure – which is bad.
On the other hand, with many people being sceptical (and more than a little apprehensive) of team-building experiences, you don’t want to head down the tired old overly-personal routes of writing notes to each other or falling into each other’s arms. Yawn.
Team-Building With A Twist
Team building has really taken off in South Africa, and with statistics showing that a highly engaged employee is 87 percent less likely to leave a company, it’s set to continue growing.
So while we’ve explored the “don’ts”, what are the “dos” if this is an avenue you’d like to explore? Your activity should focus on:
- Boosting engagement in a positive and constructive environment
- Improving communication and collaboration
- Gently break down barriers between people and departments in a proactive way
- Ensuring that everyone is able to participate in the activity
- Ensuring the experience doesn’t take them away from work or home for too long
Fire Dancing As A Team-Buiding Experience
You may be surprised to learn that giving people a drum and setting things on fire has an incredibly positive impact on them.
We have found that our team fire dancing and interactive drumming experience (music, rhythm, fun and of course – fire!) allows a group to enjoy bonding without anyone being the focus of attention or in any way uncomfortable. Couple this with a lit fire staff and a seasoned teacher who teaches a couple of basic rhythms and a choreographed traditional fire dance, and you have a whole lot of fun, a great synergy, and plenty of collaboration.
If you’re a little pyro-phobic but would still like to get involved in a spirited and exciting experience, Drums & Rhythm offer electrifying combinations of gumboot dancing, drumming, African team dancing – and if your team is a little more adventurous – belly dancing. (That’ll add some spice to the water-cooler conversations!)
Yep, it’s time to scrap the honesty notes and naked bonding activities and treat your team to an exciting team-building experience which builds great memories and lasting connections.
Chat with one of our team today.
Pros and Cons of team building
Team building options
I think if we can focus on the importance on team building incorporating how it positively affects the employee experience.
Call to action.. something about fire dancing