Team building is an important consideration for any company. It turns a group of individuals into a cohesive unit, who then combine their talents. Working together, this team has a greater drive and ability to accomplish goals. Building a team will usually include daily interaction, structured activities or even team training and exercises. Today, many of us are working virtually, so how can we keep teams engaged effectively?
Internet Team Chit-Chat
When working remotely, internet teams do not have the same ability to relate to each other. They do not engage in chit-chat or take lunch breaks together, so it is important to plan this into any meetings to encourage comradeship and team building. Always set aside time to exchange personal information, news and updates. Video conferencing on Skype is perfect for teams online and provides the ultimate medium for getting to know each other and exchanging views.
Fun For All
It is always important for employees to have fun together as a team building exercise. Therefore, it is time to get creative and use new tools to encourage teams to bond. Shared ice-breaker questions via email and competitive online games or competitions are a great place to start. Or why not have monthly lunch meetings, where employees can interact away from home, enjoying some video fun and a shared coffee?
Bonding A Virtual Team
Most remote virtual employees do not benefit from any team building activities. They are required to work together, yet this makes it incredibly difficult to collaborate and achieve any goals. The objective of these new activities must be firmly focussed on building trust and increasing cohesion on a personal level. It is well worth dedicating the time for the huge rewards and returns on investment that will be achieved for everyone.
Team diversity refers to the subtle differences between individual members of a team. The differences exist in different dimensions, like religious background, sexual and political differences, age and nationality. The diversity of teams is essential, to acquire different views from different people, who share different perceptions from one another. The ultimate goal of team diversity is a wide range of thinking which gives excellent and creative results.
How Important Is Team Diversity?
Diverse teams play an important role in team and business success. This is specifically because a diverse team encompasses all the ways in which people are different and unique. There are enormous potential benefits for a manager that incorporates a highly diversified team. They gain the ability to make more rational decisions, with teams becoming more effective through synergy and cooperation. In addition, they will see increased creativity and innovation, giving the concerned company a competitive edge.
Types Of Team Diversity
Diverse teams manifest themselves in various forms, but there are three main areas covering diversity. The different manifestations can include demographic diversity, which exists when a team is comprised of people from different backgrounds. Functional diversity is where a team has individual members with different skills and abilities. Personality diversity is where individual members of a group differ in personal characteristics and attributes.
Why Diverse Teams Create Better Work
A diverse workplace ultimately creates better results. Team diversity enhances quality decisions as there will be many different perspectives and ideas incorporated. This creates a large pool of ideas from which to choose. Diverse teams are much more creative and enhance the overall skills of teamwork when they have different beliefs and ideologies. Group performance is enhanced, and this translates into excellent results and improved performance for the company.
There are many excellent tools you can use to achieve a collaborative and cohesive team environment. Once they have been utilised in the workplace, you will notice the benefits immediately. Your team can try internal team building opportunities or external activities with a facilitator. The objective is essential, as it determines which tool will be the best to use.
The Advantages Of Working Within A Team
Successful teams kick goals. They exceed targets, create positive working environments, and help each other shine. These are just some of the benefits of team building. Whether you’re working in Silicone Valley or running a small business, studies show that businesses are channelling large amounts into funding team building activities. Team building is a platform where organisations can recognise individual strengths, and combine them to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the business outcomes.
Building Rapport Can Be Super Fun And Easy
The goal of any team building exercise is to create relationships and have fun. To laugh and collaborate with each other will mean your team members work together more successfully and build a rapport. Team members will put thoughts of their accomplishments aside, and respect one another, working for the benefit of the team and building rapport.
Team Building Is Always A Good Idea
Mark Zuckerberg said “Most of the big achievements that we have witnessed have not been accomplished by a single individual. Therefore, team building is very vital if a goal is to be achieved”. Take it from a successful and renowned entrepreneur that the impact of team building cannot be overemphasised. Utilising the free available tools will help to ensure that you achieve your company’s goal.
I think we all agree; team building is not as easy as it sounds and is quickly becoming a business necessity. As a business leader, you may be asking “How do I juggle my rising business costs with the need for employee bonding time and still come out ahead?” Try focusing on two basic ideas of team building. These two pillars may be the keys to building a stronger team.
Get Everyone Looking Toward The Same Goals
That sounds simple, right? Often, leaders get distracted by daily chaos and forget to check in with their team. They trust that everyone is still looking at, and moving toward, the stated goals. In reality, teams are made of people, and people are very easily sidetracked. Setting the team’s sights on the goal, on a regular basis, will help solidify your expectations. This encourages good teamwork and collaboration amongst your team and helps build trust in you as a leader.
Do Not Downplay Emotions
The second major mention in team building pillars is human emotions. Great leaders are in tune with how their team is feeling. Conversation, conflict resolution, and “checking-in” with your team are essential. When your team feels appreciated, they will work together to reach goals. When they feel their effort goes unnoticed, they will begin competing with each other. Regularly converse with members, showing them you care about them as people.
Sights And Feelers
Regularly setting team eyes on the goals will reinforce your expectation of teamwork, while giving your leadership a boost of power. Communicate with your team, let them know what your goals, expectations, and timelines are. Be observant and detail oriented in noticing the emotions and morale of the team. Always thank them for their work using detailed examples. These pillars build good teams and good teams will save money with efficiency. It is a win-win situation for business.
Got a large squad? No problem! It is best to plan the entire team-building session progressively with each challenge building up to another and along key themes. For example, to cultivate better communication, your activities should include initiatives where different players take on the leadership role. To foster trust, initiatives should include asking team members to relinquish power and control to another in a non-threatening, safe environment.
Get Started With An Ice Breaker
Like any other good practice session, any team building effort should start out with a warm up to prepare your team members for the day’s events. Warm up activities are simple icebreaker experiences that will encourage your team to transition from the standard office mode to a relaxed, open spirit type of engagement. For example, the blanket name game is the perfect opportunity for team members to learn each other’s names. Or else, go and see a game of football competing in betting. Today, there are many sites handing out free odds bonuses so this is actually something you can do for free.
Lay The Ground Rules
Once team members are relaxed and know each other by name, it is time to set the ground rules. Some of these include asking everyone only to share positive verbal comments and respect individual differences to foster a safe physical and emotional environment. Let the team know that there is a purpose to the team building games and even as they have fun and have a great time laughing, there is a deeper meaning in the activities.
It Is Not Over Until Debriefing
A common error made by HR teams organizing team-building activities for large groups make is neglecting the debriefing session. At the final debrief, team members should be asked to explain what they heard, saw, learned and felt during the activities. In addition, the members should demonstrate some of the potential lessons they derived from the activities and the relevance in the office environment.
In the past, the role of the human resources department was closely aligned to personnel and administrative functions, such as recruiting employees or dealing with employee benefits. However, the roles of modern HR in organisations have expanded, focusing more on key business imperatives. Today’s organisations are more forward thinking, resilient, adaptive to change and customer centred.
Team Building In A HR Role
Team building as a role of the human resources department can be used to create stronger bonds between employees. This ultimately leads to improved morale, high impact learning and an increase in the overall productivity of an organisation. As the saying goes, “Two minds are better than one,” and team building mirrors this statement. In some activities, employees encounter various obstacles or tasks that require their collaboration. Sharing of ideas and skills brings forth a strong solution to tackle obstacles.
The Millennial Generation In Modern HR
The millennial generation consists of individuals born in the 1990s and currently flocking the jobs market. Every generation distinguishes itself with a unique set of workplace requirements, and the millennial generation is no different. This generation has been brought up in the digital era, with great economic recessions and wars. For team building to work for them, human resources should organise high-energy, engaging and regenerating activities. Social activities may also work, as Millennials love to connect and interact with others.
Modern HR Roles – Conclusion
The role of the human resources department has changed significantly in recent decades. In previous times, the role of HR mainly entailed administration activities. However, due to an increase in market competition, employees have become more valuable to organisations. Therefore, to ensure that an organisation is moving with the trends, HR should strive to get the very best out of their employees. As such, team building is an important practice for the overall productivity of any organisation.
Team building has been a common phenomenon across corporate groupings and professional gatherings. Well, to date there has been no single universal definition as to what team building is. However, going by the events that characterise such groupings it is easy to differentiate such forums from the rest that may not necessarily have a greater impact on workforce morale.
Why Team Building?
Going by the latest statistics, corporate bodies are channelling substantial amounts in funding team building activities. Such expenditures have proved quite fruitful. This is because team building is a platform where organisations understand, appreciate, and recognises individualistic strengths with a view of maximising their potential in the short and long runs. These exercises have been described by corporate gurus as the best motivational tools.
The Impact of Team Building On Corporate Skills
One of the most identifiable impacts of team building on corporate personnel is boosting the innovative levels, as well as, highlighting barriers to this creativity. Each and every worker is reminded of the organisation’s goals and objectives so as to remain individually committed to such goals. Corporate problem solving is greatly enhanced through such for as challenges will be approached from the varied point of views.
Team Building In A Nutshell
Team building activities have prominently featured in the recurrent expenditures of all corporate organisations across the globe. The reason for this scenario is that benefits far outweigh the bottlenecks. Apart from motivating the workforce, these corporate outings have a special way of creating a mutually beneficial environment between the employer and the employee. Besides, they help to instil some sense of discipline and professional ethics among the attendees.
It is almost impossible to select personalities that are each other’s complete matches when building a solid work team. You will have to take into consideration each person’s individual skills and that is usually what stands out in the hiring process. If you as a team leader or manager feel an unbalance in the team, then an afternoon or day filled with team building activities is a great initiative.
Take A Break From A Busy Calendar
There is hard work involved when building great teams that work well together. Why not arrange a get together once a quarter, where you all meet up outside the office to work on the team spirit? It is time well worth investing to create better teams that lift each other, on both good and bad days. You will find an extensive list of team building activities online that is very useful when planning any events.
The Benefits Of Team Building
Magic happens when co-workers take a break from the usual work environment. People tend to relax a bit more and descale their professional image, revealing a more private side. There are plenty of ice-breaking activities to find online, together with handy game guides that build better teams. It can be anything from easy “get to know you-games” to sweat breaking coordination tasks. In all of this, the benefits of team building will be revealed, along with laughter and connectivity.
Build A Strong Team
You can choose to book a venue for your team building or you can simply ask the team to take the afternoon off and gather everyone for a picnic in the park. Incorporated into this, you will have chosen your own favourite team building activities. What looks like just a few hours together will create lasting memories and a fun topic to discuss upon returning to work.
Is the workshop getting a bit boring? Are the participants beginning to look at the time a bit to often? Maybe its time to raise the energy in the room and do some quick team building activities at the same time. Beneath is a short list of teambuilding activities that can be done within an hour!
- Blind fold maze – Blindfold all team members except one and have the other members guiding the person through an imaginary maze by saying only one word after each others.
- Make a circle – Pair up and try to create a perfect circle together while blindfolded.
- Split the team into two groups and compete in getting on a line in descending order of birthdays.
- Build a shoe tower – Compete in groups by building as high tower as possible by using the participants shoes.
- Create a long shadow – If being outside, divide the group in two teams and compete by making the tallest shadow possible.
- The rope competition – Give the teams a difficult know to tie up and see how they cooperate.
- Visit a casino together – Whats better than having a good time at a casino. This is also something you can do in your office online where you will find the same amount of MicroGaming slot machines.
- Backwards challenge – Team up in pairs and have one person reading the news backwards. The other person should thereafter explain the news for a group.
- Use noice cancelling headphones and play loud music while having a team member explaining something the other person should repeat.
The above are all examples of what can be done within 15 minutes to an hour in order to both build better teams as well as adding some fun and joy during a conference.
Sometimes we are bit tired or a bit lazy of reading every article online there is about teambuilding. The other way to get some inspirations and knowledge is to watch videos instead. In this case, we are talking about Ted Talks which has the best spokespersons about teamwork to speak about the topic in 10-20 minute sessions.
See below for some of the top inspiring talks:
Do you have one to recommend?
Working with a large group, say more than 50 people, there is a risk that a lot of information shared doesn’t come across to all participants. We are for example using post-it notes, putting them on the board so that everyone can see them. So far this is manageable but when you have 10 groups doing it other problems come up. It can get a bit out of control, takes a long time and rather boring with all the repetitions.
To make this a bit easier and more efficient, you can use a method we used called: 1 1 1 1.
The groups were given 1 minute to decide 1 person who had to report 1 of the items in a maximum of 1 minute. The chosen ones got to step forward and stand by the board and present one at a time. Important to keep track of the time! When 1 min has passed, you say “thank you very much” and let the other group come up to present. Smooth and efficient!
It took a total of 11 minutes!
All notes on the board were photographed so that the results could easily be taken home and work on. In the end, we made a fun and quick evaluation using the free service at mentimeter.com. It is based on the participants bringing their smartphones so they can go online and answer the questions we have written. It was so funny to see all the submitted replies popped up on the big screen! Recommended!
How we learn things, it has a lot of to do with our own experiences, good and bad. The good part is that we can teach each other through our experiences, so your friends, co-workers and even family don’t do the same mistake.
When we exchange experiences, it is then when the magic happens. Usually, this a great way to get to know each other a little more. It is always easier to have a dialogue about experiences – both good and bad – if the participants feel safe in the group.
One of the good exercises is to use strengths card as explained below.
The participants are divided into smaller groups sitting around their own tables; each table received a deck of cards as they spread out on the table with the strength sides up. Each one then had to choose two cards of strengths that you recognized in – to be able to present themselves. They also had to pick one more card for each colleague in the small group.
Once you have made your choice, you will do a presentation round. One at a time you present yourself with the help of the two selected strength cards. Then you use the other cards you selected to give feedback to the other around the table. Motivate the feedback!
That means you talk about why you think the person has this strength. Perhaps you’ve seen something it’s done and said?
If you don’t know each other, you can say that. “Now I do not know you, but from what I’ve seen I’ve got a picture that this is a strength you have …”
When you get feedback, just reply: Thank you!
With this exercise, the participants get the opportunity to look for the strengths – both for themselves and for the others in the group – as well as being open to each other. And to give and receive feedback.
After this, we could later go into main purpose: experience exchange.
Team building often comes down to sports where you preferably can compete in teams against other teams. By that, elements of support, feedback and a feeling of togetherness is created. Bowling itself is simple and something that the participants most likely have tried before. To get the most out of your team building it is suggested that you are at least four persons per lane. If more than four, it creates to much waiting time, creating a risk that the participants is not enough focused on the game.
Bowling you can do in most cities in the Uk and for being a team building activity it is rather cheap. To find bowling alleys close to you we recommend to visit Tenpin. If you are a lot of people going bowling a good idea might be to rent the entire alley.
Good luck with your bowling!
Speed Mingle is a favorite exercise! But sometimes there is no place or is not appropriate for a standing mingle. One alternative then is to do a seated mingle, sort of speed dating.
One good thing about this exercise is that you as a leader ensures that everyone actually gets to talk to everyone. When standing mingling, it is always possible for participants to choose only talk to those you already know. So – as always – think about the purpose of the exercise and select different options (standing or sitting) depending on it.
This is how you do it:
Set chairs (same number of participants) in two circles, one external and one internal. The inner circle seats should face the outside – so that participants can sit face to face.
Half of the participants sit in the outer circle and the other half in the interior. The exercise then goes to so that you will talk to the person you are facing, on a given subject, during a specified period.
When all has taken a seat, you as a leader will tell how to do and give participants the first topic to talk about.
Now the participants will discuss with the person they are opposite for about 3 minutes. When the time is up leader will let you know. After that, the ones who are sitting in the outer circle will move a step to the right – and wait for the leader to give them a new subject.
Now everyone will sit opposite a new person where the new topic will be discussed for another 3 minutes.
This is an exercise from the world of school. It is an exercise in creativity and collaboration – this requires initiative, communication, and courage to try. Great tool for teambuilding!
Children are the world leader in this type of exercises because they dare to think differently and dare to test before they decide on a possible solution. Something we adults often have little harder. This exercise can be a great challenge at the staff meeting!
The challenge is that in 18 minutes to build a tower as high as independent as possible of spaghetti which is to put a marshmallow on top.
Although exercise can be done as a competition, it is not important how high the tower will be – or if it even remains – but how everyone works together.
In the exercise, the group may work out cooperation and creative ability. The show quickly on the participants’ capabilities – things that do not arrive as easy otherwise, and how they communicate.
Who takes the initiative? Who sees what the group needs? Who wants to plan? Who keeps track of time? Who test new solutions? Is someone a skeptic? Which standards created? Are you watching the other teams and take lessons?
- Divide participants into groups of 4-5
- Each group will need:
18 spaghetti (preferably a little thick) 1 m string or thread, 1 m masking tape, one marshmallow, and scissors.
- When 18 minutes have passed you say to, and then all should let go of the tower – it stays or falls?
- Ask if anyone thinks they have won and measured the towers.
- After the exercise, you give the groups time to reflect on how they worked. Ask how the process went.
- Discussed the design and how high the tower would be? Take advantage of the participants’ past experiences.
- Were members given different roles? Could they have worked better?
To solve a problem, we need each other’s abilities. We are all different, and together we can create new solutions that they had not come up with on their own.
Please have a look at this presentation at TED, where you can see how the exercise has been used.