Employee engagement, team spirit, company culture… Familiar with these terms? If not, you’ve fallen on the wrong blog – but I still encourage you to read it, of course!
Nowadays, building a strong bond between your workforce’s team members is more important than ever. You have probably heard the saying that goes something like “we spend more time at work than at home”, right? While I’m not suggesting coworkers are required to become best friends, it is still important to learn how to work with one another, and how to build strong rapport between team members.
The answer to your struggle might be as simple as Team Building, and there are tons of ways you can plan one for your team. Let’s get into it!
The history of team building
The concept of Team Building wasn’t launched when Gen Y arrived on the market. In fact, it’s probably much older than all you readers!
Psychologist Elton Mayo first conducted a study in the 1920’s to examine human relations and motivational factors through team work. The study consisted in an examination of various groups of workers to understand what factors built a sense of support, identity and cohesion.
#1 – The fun-activity team building session
Let’s say this might be a little more modern approach to what team bonding implies. I’m sure the first thing that came to mind when you first thought about team building were in the lines of these:
- Photo rallies
- Tree climbing and zip lining
- Cooking classes
- Escape games
These types of team building activities all imply bonding after the usual 9 to 5, while having a little fun! Whatever fun activity you had in mind, it’s important in these sessions that you form teams that don’t usually work together in their day-to-day activities, and whose personality profiles are somewhat different.
The beauty of getting to know the personalities of your workforce while conducting a team building activity is the ability to create diverse teams of compatible and complementary individuals! Who’s that natural born leader who will lead the way to the end of the escape game and make you all victorious? Who’s that extrovert that will anxiously grab the mic when the music comes on in the Karaoke room?
#2 – The offsite team building getaway
You can even push your team building activity to an extreme by planning an offsite with your employees. Usually, they consist in taking your team somewhat far from the office for a couple of days to bond, plan, and strategize! In order to be able to be more productive and creative, it is sometimes mandatory to just get out of the office to bond even stronger with your coworkers.
For instance, last winter, our boss took us to a nice cottage up north to discuss the upcoming year’s marketing strategy. We had a nice balance between working hard, and playing hard: we played pool, had nice breakfasts together, reviewed our agenda and points to cover, discusses our goals, analysed our respective psychometric profiles to try and get the team to work better together through an analysis of our personalities.
And how about THAT for team building. We threw a pie in the boss’ face for his birthday. You have to admit: you don’t get much more team bonding than that!
#3 – The role-play team building activity
Outdoor activities and offsite getaways can get pretty pricey, and might require more time and organization. There are other kind of team building sessions that you can organize in the comfort of your own office. For instance, role playing consists of building a specific situation involving different points of view, and the objective is to be able to handle the situation by developing your own skill set.
Sounds pretty easy, right?
Not always. Because it will most likely imply that people go against their natural reflexes, opinions and personality traits. It’s the perfect way to see how people can adapt to new situations that might occur in their everyday professional life.
In these kind of team building activities, it is important to give everyone a chance to speak up, and make them feel that their contribution will be taken seriously.
#4 – The team building session based on psychometrics
Before you think “what in the world do psychometrics and team building have in common”, you may want to refer to the first paragraph, where I mentioned that a psychologist first came up with the concept of team building. And, you may now read on!
Whether you are faced with a new team, or a group that has been working together for ages, a team building session based on psychometrics is key to employee retention and organizational performance.
Because each individual within your organization has their own strengths and natural talents, and learning how to get to know how they are naturally built and learn how to capitalize on those strengths is a major contributor to overall business success.
Why is it that certain colleagues don’t like to share information? Is it because they prefer to keep everything to themselves, or they simply want to avoid confrontation at all costs, preferring to return with a concrete solution that would satisfy everyone before sharing such information? If you perform better with structures and clear deadlines, your colleagues will be able to understand why you are always cringing when they drop you a last minute pile of documents on your desk.
Being mutually aware of the impact our actions and behavior can have on others is a step in the right direction to a more harmonious and successful company. The reason is simple: we tend to learn to recognize behaviors, but we do not always understand the reasons behind these actions.
If you ask me, I think these types of team building sessions have a greater impact on team spirit and overall performance than climbing from tree to tree!
Whether you get to bond with colleagues after learning how to make a stunning Beef Wellington in cooking class, after singing an awful duet on the Karaoke machine, or after playing the role of two angry customers together, team building activities are a must for if you are trying to improve performance, teamwork, productivity and business success.
Get to truly know how the personality of colleagues will influence their work with others might just help better manage any business situation! What kind of team building activities have you planned in your organization?