Team Building 101
What is Team Building?
Team building refers to activities designed to build relationships between members of a team. Most often, the term is used to describe the building of social relations between employees in a workplace, but it is also used to increase teamwork efficiency.
Team building is also a great way to introduce new employees to an organization. This effectively breaks the ice between coworkers and helps them integrate effectively into their new workplace.
It is important to note that team building differs from training activities, such as leadership or skills training. Training is designed to improve work efficiency directly by teaching employees the skills they need to complete tasks. On the other hand, team building increases work efficiency by improving communication between employees and creating an environment that facilitates team cooperation.
The goals of team building include:
- Strengthen members’ roles within an organization
- Find solutions to group problems
- Help members align themselves with company values
- Improve communication between teams
- Create effective work relationships
- Help members create workplace goals to foster motivation
In one sentence, the purpose of team building is to enhance performance in a teamwork environment.
Why is Team Building Important?
The benefits of team building activities are significant but often overlooked.
When done right, team building has a very positive effect on workplace efficiency. Over three-quarters of workplace failures are caused by a lack of communication and collaboration. Team building activities encourage communication between team members to solve problems or win competitions. The communication skills developed during these activities are carried over into the work environment. This creates a workforce of effective communicators who collaborate together seamlessly.
Team building is great for increasing employees’ engagement with the company. The activities often involve a focus on the values of the organization and redefining individual’s roles within it. People learn where they fit into the company and why their role is necessary, renewing their motivation and engagement.
Why is this important? Highly engaged employees are as much as 87% less likely to leave a company than their lesser-engaged counterparts. In other words, fewer resources are spent on costly employee turnover. This is part of the reason why companies with engaged employees enjoy 2.5 times more annual revenue!
Types of Team Building Activities
New Zealand team building company, TeamUp has broken down team building activities into 4 main types. These are:
- Problem solving-based
Personality-based activities will usually include a personality questionnaire, such as the Myers-Briggs. This type of team building helps individuals learn about themselves as well as the other people on their team. Personality-based activities are designed to match team roles with personality types. They also increase understanding among team members. These activities may include a facilitator who will drive discussions and encourage effective communication.
Activity-based team building often involves challenging, physical tasks, such as rock-climbing, river rafting, or hiking. The goal of these activities is to get team members to face difficult challenges and work together. Just be aware that these exerting activities can cause fear and discomfort for many. Before you plan them, make sure everyone on your team is happy to participate. Less physically exerting activities with some friendly competition could include bowling, taking a painting class, or getting employees together for a baseball game.
Skills-based activities are designed to teach team members how to solve problems effectively or communicate better. The focus is on conflict resolution in the workplace. This may also be facilitated by someone who mediates the discussions. Skills-based activities could include group brainstorming or working on cooperative assignments.
Problem solving-based activities are run by a facilitator, such as Strayboots. These activities present team members with specific problems that they have to solve. They learn how to work together to identify and solve problems as efficiently as possible. Some examples of problem-solving activities include scavenger hunts, trivia games, or escape rooms.
Team Building as a Constant Process
Not only does team building refer to specific activities designed to enhance relationships, but it also describes the ongoing process of team development in the workplace. Any interaction between employees is part of the process.
Team leaders play a key role in optimizing teamwork and facilitating the creation of effective teams. They must consider the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and place them in a role that fits their skillset best. They can also support new and effective strategies developed during team building events.
To be a successful team leader, you must be actively involved in developing the skills of each individual on the team. A focus on individual strengths is an important aspect of team building. Realizing individual strengths allows each person to be placed in a position where they can shine. Maybe this means assigning them to work on their own or partnering them up with someone who can balance out their weaknesses.
Innovation in Team Building
The announcement of a team building day is notorious for evoking groans out of employees. Getting employees excited about team building can be a challenge. It’s time to bring team building into this century. Using technology!
Wireless communication already connects all of us and makes team collaboration much easier. Strayboots has found a way to innovate team building using this valuable tool. We provide app-guided scavenger hunts and trivia games for businesses worldwide. Teams are connected to the game via their smartphones, solving problems, following interactive maps, and taking fun pictures along the way.
Don’t just take it from us, 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies use gamification to engage with their teams. Our games include everyone thanks to the amazing power of cell phones. Start out the new year with a workplace of engaged employees and give Strayboots a try!