Feeling confused and anxious? We hear you! If you’re currently in the midst of planning a corporate team building event, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. A quick Google search will tell you that the jury’s still out when it comes to how effective these events are.
The benefits and disadvantages of corporate team building
Frankly, you may be wondering whether organising the activity is actually worth your time at all. So, does corporate team building really work? Here’s a list of the main pros and cons along with some helpful advice about how to get it right.
Pro: It’s a chance to create bonds
First things first, let’s talk about one of the major reasons that you may want to host a team building session. To create bonds. Needless to say, this is essential in any workplace. Without proper workplace relationships, people will struggle to be collaborative.
For instance, if Sandra and Jeremy haven’t quite seen eye-to-eye yet, taking them out of the office environment could be a smart move. It may give them a chance to find some common ground and create a working professional relationship.
In an ideal scenario, the two of them will work together throughout the day. Doing so will help them build a level of respect and a mutual understanding. Those of traits that they can take back to the office environment, at the end of the day.
Con: The social lines could get blurred
On the other hand, team building could create genuine issues within your workforce. It all depends on the type of event or day you decide to host. The last thing you want is to blur the lines between management and the general employees. It could be a tricky one.
If a major element of your so-called ‘corporate team building event’ consists of heading to the local pub, you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. The combination of drinking and lowered inhibitions can lead to all kinds of problems with your colleagues. Avoid planning your event around alcohol and, instead, focus on a teamwork activity.
Pro: Team games could boost productivity
Games, activities and tasks could be solutions to your team building troubles. This is especially true for new workforces. The fact of the matter is that the staff members don’t know each other too well and may find it hard to gel together as a team.
One study from Brigham Young University suggests that playing collaborative video games could boost productivity. The research looked at the effect that games could have on newly-formed teams and brought back some astounding results. The findings showed that playing these games together increased a team’s workplace effectiveness by around 20%.
Con: Employees may find it intimidating
The words corporate team building may strike fear in the heart of many an employee. The truth of the matter is that some people find these events highly intimidating. If one of your staff members is naturally introverted and shies away from the limelight, the idea of taking part in an activity or task could be downright scary.
For that reason, you need to avoid events that place too much emphasis on the individual and their performance. Some activities such as abseiling encourage the entire group to focus on one person at a time. That in itself can be an issue for many people. Instead, opt for activities in which the group will have to work collaboratively together.
Pro: It may improve team effectiveness
While some people outright denounce corporate team building, there’s evidence to suggest it can truly enhance the workplace. Research from Jagannath University concluded that taking part in these events could increase team effectiveness of six counts.
Researchers looked at how team events could change behaviour in the workplace. Interestingly enough, the study found that team exercises could improve leadership, trust, recognition, customer focus, decision making and teamwork. Since all of the above are crucial in any corporate office, it’s clear that some team building works wonders.
Con: Skills aren’t always transferable
The sound of white water rafting or heading out on an expedition may be thrilling, but take the time to consider whether the skills are transferable. If your company deals with finance, there may be little that your team can gain from battling the rapids. Hosting a corporate team building event that engages their minds may be a better way to go.
Organising an exercise simply because you feel that you’ve got to host one is a mistake. Before you rush out to book your corporate team building day, you should consider what your workforce will actually gain from it. What is it that your specific team members need to up their game? Weigh up all the advantages and disadvantages when deciding.
How to make your corporate team building more effective
Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of corporate team building, you may be wondering how you can plan a successful day or event. As part of the previously mentioned report from Jagannath University, the researchers set out ways in which managers could do just that. Here’s a quick overview of some of the highlights:
- Team building only is for development
Using corporate team building as a form of punishment for underperforming staff members is risky business. Far from inspiring them, the chances are that this move will ultimately demotivate them. Hosting regular events throughout the year is the only way to make this work. You don’t want your team members to associate these activities with failure.
- It should be linked to work goals
The experts also recommended that team building should be linked to real-time work goals. Consider how your chosen activity can be directly applied within the company. You may also want to talk to your team after the event and hold a discussion about this issue. Allowing team members to identify how they can use each new skill in the office will mean that they take home a deep understanding of it.
- Feedback is absolutely essential
To ensure that the corporate team building has a lasting positive effect, it should stretch out further than the activity itself. When the day is over, that does not mean that your work is too. Think of the event as a chance to get some crucial input from each and every member of your staff. Take on board feedback to and apply it in the office.
- Follow-up workshops are a must
Plus, to keep that all-important momentum going, you need to follow up with your staff after the event has taken place. The experts recommend hosting follow-up workshops in which you can review new employee skills and encourage staff to keep going.
Pulling off an effective team building event is tough. However, when you get it right, it can yield some excellent results for your business. By following the advice here and crafting a strategically thought-out activity, you can ensure that your corporate team building efforts don’t go to waste. So long as you do your research, select an activity that works for your company and plan ahead for follow-ups, you should have no problem. Why not get started today and plan an event that blows people away?
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