"I don't know who to reach out to on my team."
"I don't feel like I have support from my supervisors."
"Who do I go to for help?"
These are the kinds of statements and questions managers and owners don't want to hear, but employees often express on the job. While you want your team to be a strong, cohesive unit, it takes time for team members to build trust and learn to work together. The good news is, you can take steps to make team building easier and even faster for your employees. Here are some of my favorite team building activities you can use to strengthen your company.
What's the Most Important Part of a Team Building Activity?
We're going to look at some fun ways that you can help build team cohesion in your company. While these are methods that I and my clients have found successful, no two businesses and no two teams are the same. The most important part of a team building activity is the engagement your employees have with it. If they're not enthusiastic about the activity and they're not having fun, then they're not engaged. That means that they won't bring anything away from it.
It's okay to move to another activity or switch things up. Communicate with your team and listen to their feedback about the activity. They don't expect you to be perfect. They just expect you to be present. Besides, asking for and receiving feedback is another way you can build rapport.
Great Team Building Activities
These activities are centered on smaller groups (10 or less). If you have a larger team, then consider dividing them into groups and changing up the groups between activities. The smaller groups help make the activities feel more personal and help your team members build stronger bonds.
"I used to love the monthly potlucks that my old job had. We had people in the office from different cultures, so people would usually bring in unique dishes that I'd never had before," one of my team members told me when I brought up this month's blog topic.
Food is perhaps one of our oldest ways of building community. It's still a time for us to sit down, talk with family and friends, or get to know someone new. You can add a competitive element to the potluck by hosting a cookoff. You just need a place they can cook (if you have a large on-site kitchen, can rent a commercial kitchen, or have adequate outdoor space for grills), the ingredients your teams need, and a willingness to eat food. Remember to set time limits for planning and preparation, then set up a presentation table to judge foods.
A Murder Mystery
A good murder mystery is exciting and, well, mysterious. It is also a great way to help your team build collaboration and critical thinking skills. You can get virtual and in-person murder mysteries from a variety of companies that you can use or purchase dinner mystery games from your local game store. You can also take inspiration from Clue to build your own.
If you build your own mystery remember the key elements of the Clue game, location, item, and person. You can give team members a color-coded folder as they come in that gives them an initial clue (or tells them if they're the one who "did it") and hide clues around the area after the "murder" takes place.
Exploring a Local Attraction
Simple social activities are another way to build team cohesion. Give your team members time away from the office together so they can socialize. You also give them the opportunity to enjoy the local attractions, whether it's a park, ropes course, museum, or other historic attractions.
Volunteer activities are a good way to both build group cohesion and give back to the community. Invite your team members to suggest their favorite charities and take a day out of each month to help one. You can even rotate planning groups for each volunteer day so that your team members can practice planning, scheduling, and implementation together.
This team building activity is just about the fun. Karaoke is a good way to let your team members unwind and just enjoy themselves. It can, however, be a good way to help new and shy team members open up and overcome any social anxiety they may feel with their team. Your karaoke night can be out or in the office.
Trivia is a good way to test your ability to hold onto information. Office trivia is also a good way for your teams to learn about the company and industry and see the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates - something that is important when teams are working on projects together. For office trivia, tailor questions around the company (but avoid anything personal about people) and the industry you work in.
Games are a good way to help people develop their competitive drive, as well as communication, problem-solving, and team-building skills. Offer a variety of board games and card games (including general trivia games) for your teams to rotate through over the course of the evening.
These are a few of my favorite team building activities. They're fun. They help people learn to work together, communicate, and appreciate each other. If you have additional activities you find help your teams, feel free to share them in the