Whether we like it or not, team building events are essential for the long-term health of a company, simply because it focuses on the most valuable asset of a company – the people. Even the best of products that a company produces does not mean anything if the people behind them are not taken care of.
Team building events are important, regardless of the size of the company; whether we are talking about a small tech start-up or a multinational corporation.
5 REASONS YOU SHOULD IN INVEST IN TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES
1. Team Building Improves Company Morale and Social Engagement
Contrary to popular belief (and as corny as this might sound), team building activities are a great opportunity to have fun. Since employees spend most of their days in front of the computer (and occasionally the water cooler to discuss the latest TV Show), team building activities are a good opportunity for colleagues to enjoy various physical activities, like sports or exploring somewhere new - together.
When companies encourage fun activities, employees are more likely to feel connected to each other and collaborate better once it is time to get back to the office. Another positive aspect about team building activities is that they integrate people who work remotely with colleagues from the office. Team building activities bring people together and can make even solitary employees feel like part of the team and company.
This purpose of bringing people together also helps nurture feelings of loyalty, belonging and partnership between employees who are there just for a paycheck and those in the office that enjoy working and take great satisfaction out of their careers. Even though team building events can be quite costly, especially for smaller companies who are striving to survive in an already overcrowded market, they pay off greatly on the long run.
2. Team Building Activities Make Employees Feel Valued
No matter how much you love your job, it is nearly impossible not to get bored from time to time – the monotony and regularity of most of our day-to-day jobs can overwhelm the best of us. People who work for a company that values its people and considers them more than just figures on sheets will feel more than mere cogs in the corporate machine.
As a result, if employee morale is unusually low (it happens in every company for one reason or another), organizing a team building event is one of the best way to increase morale. Anything goes here, whether we are talking about a cooking class, a sports activity, a lunch, or volunteer work at a shelter. These are some of the many activities that most employees can get behind, because they provide people with a mental break from work and gives them a sense of purpose beyond the position they hold at the company.
Furthermore, these types of activities build connections between employees and between employees and upper management. Engaged workers are, in the long term, more productive, and this improves the work output and bottom line for the company. In fact, studies show that employee engagement greatly improves productivity – organizations wherein employees are highly engaged experience 22 % higher productivity, according to a meta-analysis of 1.4 million employees conducted by the Gallup Organization.
In other words, team building activities make employees feel more valued, which, in turn, increases engagement which boosts productivity. Despite the high cost of team building events, they are worth it.
3. Brings Different Departments Together
Team building allows employees from different departments and areas of expertise to get to know each other better. During team building events, people can interact with colleagues that they might not usually see – the marketing team can participate in contests with the financial department, and the tech department can finally find out what Gina from accounting is up to at her office.
Team building promotes diversity because it breaks the barriers created across departments and lets everyone be equal. Furthermore, getting to know each other extends beyond chit-chat and personal pleasantries. Unlike in the past, many people today do not spend their entire lives at a company like our parents did, so chances to connect with other employees are fleeting at best.
However, the networking opportunities that team building events bring are priceless. Networking helps employees grow their personal skills, and create a support network that they can call on at some point during their careers. These colleagues that one gets to know better during team building events are the same ones that may later lend a hand in future career transitions. So, team building events are better at creating connections than tedious industry networking events because it leads to creating connections that are more seamless and natural.
4. Team Building Encourages Teamwork
Many famous and successful companies, such as Dell, Reebok, Adidas and Tiffany and CO., use eccentric (and some might say extreme) team building activities to put employees in the position of having to interact and collaborate in an environment unfamiliar to them.
And contrary to popular belief, unusual and elaborate team building activities are not reserved solely for big multinational companies. Even jobs that one would not link to traditional corporate cultures, such as cashiers and the like, can yield great benefits out of team building activities. Take, for example, the Dollar General career portal, where you will see an instance of a company that puts great value in ensuring that employees are happy and feels valued, which is why team building and training sessions are organized on a frequent basis.
During these activities, employees are split into teams and given various ‘’quests’’ (to put it in video game terms) or scenarios, from unusual stuff like uncovering an FBI spy ring to having to escape from a locked conference room using the clues planted there by the organizers (similar to what you would see in an escape room).
These situations, as expected, force employees to think outside of the box (pun totally intended) and work together. The results, and even the fact that they have to collaborate itself, carry on to their office lives. If a group of coworkers can get through a ridiculous and highly improbable fictitious scenario (surviving a zombie apocalypse or escaping the vault of a bank), then they can clearly put together a PowerPoint presentation in due time or finish the monthly reports with no issues.
As tense as some team building activities might be, they actually have the opposite effect of what one would expect – they reduce conflicts rather than increasing them. This is simply because many workplace grudges are usually caused by mere miscommunications or misunderstandings, and team building events allow people to get a full understanding their co-workers personalities, what makes them tick and what calms them down.
When we know and understand another person’s quirks and personality traits, the risk of conflicts getting ignited are greatly reduced. For example, what could be misconstrued as a mean remark might just be the result of somebody’s sense of humor and nothing personal. So, the nature of team building, and the fact that it encourages teamwork and collaboration makes it easier for employees to asses their colleague’s personalities.
5. Reveals Sometimes Unknown Skills
Everyone has their own set of unique skills and talent that sits at the core of their personalities. Some people might even be unaware of said skills because they have not had the chance to put them into practice. Team building exercises and programs can reveal hidden skills that may be second nature to people. For example, while some people might be good at putting together the logistics of a given activity, others may have leadership skills that they are not aware of, i.e. the ability to build consensus between people, to mobilize them, to encourage them, to get them out of their comfort zones, and so forth.
Above everything else, these exercises build collaboration and trust between people, which inevitably carries forward into the office. These exercises should be fun, unusual, and as much removed from the activities found in a typical office day, as possible. To conclude, team building activities, as expensive as they might be, are good for the company’s bottom line – because happy and engaged employees are more productive and dedicated to the company’s well-being.
About the Author: Alex Moore is a West Virginia psychology undergraduate, enthralled with everything mindfulness, workplace organization, and work-life balance. He writes for Job Application Center.