How and Why to Pick a Team Building Event that Suits your Team
No two teams are alike, and neither are any two team’s sets of needs. Some teams are highly social, getting along so well that it’s reached the point of common distraction in the workplace. Others work together with almost mechanical efficiency, but hardly converse about anything besides their current projects. Most teams fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but all have room to improve the quality of life and efficiency in the workplace.
Not only do teams differ in what their strengths and weaknesses are, but they differ in preferences as well. It’s easy to think of employees in terms of performance statistics and as walking compilations of data, but it’s important to remember that they are human and treat them accordingly. This is important to remember for all of the obvious reasons, of course, but it’s especially important to bear in mind when arranging events for everybody. When arranging team building events, the aim is not only to provide an activity where your team can apply their skills together in a way that entertains them, or to get the team to socialize and strengthen connections, but to craft an atmosphere that fosters those goals. The biggest way to craft this atmosphere is to choose an activity that plays to the preferences of your team.
This doesn’t necessarily mean finding a way to include everyone’s favorite hobbies, of course, but having a good sense of what your team enjoys makes it exponentially easier. Some teams, for example, are comprised of employees with varying levels of fitness. That being said, unless specifically trying to improve health with some exercise you may want to avoid long hikes, or activities that will be divisive for similar reasons. The overweight members of that team probably wouldn’t have as much fun as the more fit members at a company basketball game, for example. Some teams are comprised of more introverts, or members less inclined to be social. For teams like this, there can be great benefit to more involved primary activities that give everyone a problem to focus on together, providing an incentive to socialize and something to talk about. You’re much more likely to get shier team members enjoying discussion in a case like that than at a networking mixer.
Likewise, setting up an event that clashes with those preferences can have the opposite intended effect. Forcing your introverts to attend that networking mixer, dialing back for a moment, will not only lead to them missing out on the intended benefits; you’ll be sending your team to share an experience together that makes them profoundly uncomfortable. These employees have now, instead of getting to bond together with a great team building activity that suits them; been forced to make uncomfortable small talk in a situation that makes them miserable, creating further negative association with both the company and the team they share 40 hours a week with.
Bearing all of this in mind, next time you put together a team building event with the intention of strengthening your team, make sure you consider what they’re like, what they’ll enjoy, and what will have adverse effects on them. And for a team building activity that has something for everyone, look into taking a scavenger hunt with Strayboots!