How is Team Building Done Properly?

Hint: its not about trust falls and ropes courses anymore!

Employees playing an Escape the Box team building activity in Austin, TX September, 2021

A team in Austin, Texas during a team building outing plays Escape the Box, a popular team building event by Wishing Horse Productions

You have been tasked with planning your group’s team building activity, and you are now faced with making sure you choose something that everyone will enjoy and benefit from. This opportunity is no small choice since your company’s decision to include team building means that they are serious about increasing engagement. Team building is actually a central method to attract and retain top talent due to the overall sense of satisfaction that it creates. So how do you go about creating opportunities for bonding that don’t feel forced? Great question! It’s not a simple recipe, and no, “trust falls” and “tug of war” are not a magic bullet. So how should it be done?

1) Experience an adventure together

We have all seen movies that bring a ragtag group of folks together who set out on their merry way only experience a conflict, or problems that cause them to stick up for each other and grow closer as they face a common issue and solve it together. Your team is no different. Coming up with ways in which your team has to trudge through some tricky moments will bring them closer together because the solution is something only they can discover, and people fondly remember those who participated in the resolution. If you go this route, be sure to keep safety in mind and make sure that coming out victorious is achievable.

2) Set up a situation in which they must get creative and collaborate

Even though it’s likely that people have had to think up some creative solutions in the past, if they haven’t tried doing it with their coworkers, they likely don’t know a how resourceful they can be. Having to deal with limited supplies can cause people to show a vulnerable side of themselves that can lead to connection. Working together to collaborate on a large project that involves building something together with limited resources causes people to show their helpful side and cooperative side, which can open a door to friendship.

“Collaboration is like carbonation for fresh ideas. Working together bubbles up ideas you would not have come up with solo, which gets you further faster” – Caroline Ghosn

3) Make it competitive, but not over the top

Splitting people into teams and giving them a reason to win is a positive attribute of a team building activity, so it’s good to aim for some competition. Just be sure that the level of competition is healthy and does not involve belligerence or bullying. You don’t want to set up a situation that has people clamoring with all of their might to get to the top. Consider the prizes you are offering, because silly novelty prizes can generate healthy level of competition, but if you are giving out airline tickets or $1000 gift cards, you might be inviting in sabotaging behavior, or a race that becomes a little too serious.

4) Include everyone

It is important to realize the significance of participants feeling like they belong. When employees feel genuinely heard, included, and valued they perform better and want to stay at their jobs. Team building is perfect opportunity to role-model the value system of your company, and establish that it is a relationship-building environment where everyone belongs. Be sure that the content is inclusive of all thinking styles, cultures, abilities and specializations, so everyone has something meaningful to contribute.

“Achieving the superior performance diversity can produce needs further action – most notably, a commitment to develop a culture of inclusion. People do not just need to be different, they need to be fully involved and feel their voices are heard” – Alain Dehaze

5) Reinforce the Experience with Pictures

Lastly, show up with a camera! Encourage your group to take their your own pictures! Capturing these moments and displaying them around the office, newsletters, and social media will remind everyone of the fun they had during your team building outing, and be a reminder that your company generates positive relationships and its a great place to work. It could also be an attractant to potential applicants; just seeing that people at work are happy can go a long way towards wanting to belong there. Adding these pictures to the “about us” page on your company’s website can be another great option to attract new talent.

Employees playing an Escape the Box team building activity in Austin, TX October 2021
Employees playing an Escape the Box team building activity in Nashville, TN September 23, 2021

Teams play Escape the Box, a popular team building activity by Wishing Horse Productions

6) Consider Leaving it to the Experts

These tips can help you choose a great team building activity that works for your group. Since doing this correctly is so crucial to setting the stage for engagement at your company, taking care of these details all by yourself can clearly be a daunting task. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Hiring a professional team building firm with a track record of activities that are creative, collaborative, competitive (but not too much) and inclusive could be the right choice for you. Wishing Horse Productions is one call away from beginning to expertly plan a team building activity with your goals in mind. Click here to set up your discovery call today!

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