5 Ways to Keep Millennials Tuned-in to Team Building
Team building is an essential part of any successful organization. Team building activities help employees learn to communicate and work together to solve problems. When employees know how to work collaboratively and use their strengths for the common good, they’re happier and work more efficiently.
Team building is even more important for companies with millennial employees. Millennials are typically described as people born anytime between the early 80’s and mid 90’s. This group now makes up the largest population in the U.S. workforce. In fact, over 1 in 3 workers are millennials.
Older generations are used to a more individualized work environment; however, millennials struggle with this approach. Instead, they expect to work as a team with their fellow employees. As a result, organizations that hire younger employees need to meet their desires and build a work environment for them that allows them to excel.
What Millennials Think About Team Building
Millennials enjoy a relaxed and fun work environment that encourages personal growth. They flourish in an atmosphere that allows for engagement and continuous learning. Any time they can apply their skills or face challenges with innovative solutions, they’re going to be happy.
As a result of these traits, millennials welcome effective team building activities. They even seem to get more out of the experience than baby boomers. When polled, 79 percent of millennials felt that team building activities helped retain talent compared to just 46 percent of baby boomers.
Keep in mind that not just any team building approach is going to work for millennials. There are some valuable characteristics, such as their comfort with technology, that team leaders can use when planning activities. Here are 5 ways to keep your millennial employees engaged in team building:
1. Avoid Activities That People May Find Uncomfortable
There are some types of team building activities that should be avoided to prevent millennials from feeling uncomfortable. For example, sports. Employers may like to pit their staff against each other in softball or paintball games. This can encourage aggressive competition rather than healthy competition. The focus of these activities is on winning, not on working effectively as a team. You also risk alienating people who aren’t athletically inclined.
Activities that single out individuals to represent the team should also be avoided. These have the potential to make an individual feel embarrassed or socially left out, which puts unnecessary pressure on them. Instead, activities should be built around collaboration and equal teamwork that allow individual strengths to be revealed naturally.
Finally, companies should also avoid team building events that force participants to share personal information. Many people will feel ashamed or embarrassed doing this. Respect the people on your team and avoid prying their thoughts and feelings out in front of everyone.
2. Make Team Building a Constant Process
Millennials are very observant and deliberate. As a result, they need to see that everything they’re doing has a purpose. Team building that stops when the activities end can seem like a waste of a workday. Therefore, team leaders and employers should constantly strive to work on building their teams.
An effective team leader will acknowledge and make use of the skills of each team member. Only 28% of millennial employees feel that their employer makes full use of their skills. Employers need to understand the desires of their millennial employees in order to keep them from seeking work elsewhere. They want flexibility, team collaboration, and trust. They want their team leaders to act as a guide, providing consistent feedback and encouragement. In fact, as much as 79 percent of millennials want their boss to be a coach or a mentor.
Team leaders can use technology to keep their teams engaged on a daily basis. Use project management software to keep everyone on the same page about work tasks. Create a group chat where everyone on the team can collaborate and be involved. Team leaders can stay in touch with individual employees through e-mail and text. This ensures that everyone is satisfied with their roles and applying their skills optimally.
3. Take Advantage of Millennials’ Comfort with Technology
One of the biggest stereotypes about millennials is their intimate connection with technology. Sometimes this is viewed negatively. I’m sure you’ve heard people complain about millennials’ obsession with their phones and the resulting lack of social interaction. But in reality, this competency and the high availability of technology have helped strengthen the relationships of workplace teams.
Since everyone always has a smartphone on them, why not take advantage of this valuable connective device? Strayboots’ team building activities are entirely accessed using people’s cell phones. People follow directions, solve trivia questions, and complete photo challenges using their phones. This keeps everyone engaged and tuned in with the activities and makes the experience both fun and unique.
4. Use Highly-Social Activities
Millennials are more comfortable working in teams than the generations before them. When you consider that 88% of millennials prefer a collaborative work environment rather than a competitive one, it’s apparent that they love teamwork. They thrive in a collaborative environment because it allows them to put their strongest skills together and tackle challenges in fun and innovative ways.
Decision-makers can take advantage of this when planning team building activities. They should pick activities that stress teamwork and collaboration. Strayboots has some great options for this kind of teambuilding. Including team-based trivia games and scavenger hunt challenges that are guided entirely by a smartphone app.
5. Encourage Full Engagement from Everyone
Millennials don’t like to sit back and watch other people participate. They want to be immersed in everything they do. They’re always looking for ways they can interact with the material and apply their knowledge.
When applying this to team building, employers can create high-energy, positive environments which encourage full participation from everyone. Activities that rely on the participation of every member of the team will have the greatest success. When the event is over, everyone goes home feeling like they’ve accomplished something.
Strayboots’ scavenger hunts are a fantastic way to do this. Your employees are broken into teams and work together to solve problems and complete goals. Employers can even customize the challenges in these hunts to make them about their company. This lets you put your employees’ knowledge to the test and keep them engaged with company values. And since everyone is connected to the challenges on their phones, no one can possibly be left out of the team building experience.
Millennials are go-getters and keen on participation. It shouldn’t be hard to get them excited about team building. Plan some fun activities for them and start creating a work environment where they will thrive.