Let’s talk about team building exercises. They sound like a fun, trendy thing companies do to benefit morale and productivity. But do they really work? And if so, how? What sort of experience will engage your staff and provide the most perks? Granted, no one wants to experience the visceral cringe when presented with one of many played-out icebreaker activities. However, you shouldn’t be intimidated. When executed intelligently, the benefits of strong team building exercises are mammoth. Whether they take part in the office, or you choose to splurge on an escape experience, your employees can walk away with new friends and fond memories. You both reward your staff as you recognize and value their hard work, and provide invaluable growth for every single part of the company.
Build interpersonal connections
By encouraging staff to interact with each other, they recognize each other as individuals. It can be hard to appreciate the people you stand silently next to in the elevator every morning as real, living people. Everyone has a family, hobbies, joys and downfalls, and every staff member has far more in common with each other than they do differences. By acknowledging commonalities, you build rapport, encouraging friendships and communication between staff. As a result, employees begin to feel more like they belong to the company, which has obvious benefits for collective mental health.
In turn, they are more likely to come to work, and less likely to jump ship to a rival company. Ultimately this gives employees much more worth within the company in the long term. They become even more worthwhile to invest training in, supporting your business on stronger pillars from the ground up. Plus, the opportunity to work on basic ‘soft skills’ such as interpersonal communication throughout these exercises, will assist with any role within the company. All of these factors lead to a better working environment for all.
Foster communication between departments
Working together on team building exercises can help identify the pros and cons of how individuals and groups interact with each other. This can then be transferred directly back into the workplace. You are able to witness who naturally takes on which roles, and whether they execute them well, all without any major risks to the company. It can almost be treated as a simulation of challenging work experience when handled smartly. You will likely see someone unexpected rise to a leadership challenge, and apply knowledge and skills you weren’t aware they had. This opportunity can lead to a more engaged team, which can result in up to 50% higher performance back in the office. A fresh environment to interact in can be like a refresh button for your shy or more stagnant staff.
Make people feel like equals
Each department has different roles, all with perceived advantages and disadvantages. After time this may result in varying levels of segregation, as certain groups feel less valued than the others in the business. Again, this can have a strong impact on the mental health of your staff members. Team building exercises help employees value themselves and each other. It is a wonderful prospect for breaking down any mistrust or resentment that would otherwise fester, and that there would be no alternate opportunity to resolve. Unrestricted communication and sharing of ideas across departments allows for and promotes creativity. The more input, the greater the chance of coming up with stronger ideas that will benefit the company in the long run.
When it can truly offer so many benefits, to every single staff member, there’s no reason to avoid investing in regular team building exercises. Whether your main motivation is to benefit your staff or the company, you’ll yield positive results in both, no matter what.