By Shell on Jul. 14, 2022
The words “team building” can often send chills up the spines of employees as they picture awkward sessions involving “trust falls” and cringeworthy bonding exercises. It’s an understandable reaction - nobody likes being put into pre-engineered social situations - but the truth is that team-building exercises can be beneficial, personally rewarding and even, whisper it, fun.
Research conducted by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering found that well designed team-building exercises are able to target and strengthen working relationships. Weak work relationships can, of course, result in poor overall communication between colleagues, and reduced performance.
Other research conducted by Nulab found that team-bonding activities improved creativity, productivity, and employee retention. Its research also noted that the frequency and type of activities used determined whether the team building was beneficial or not.
In the spirit of collaboration, team motivation, increased planning skills and overall better communication, here are five simple team-building exercises that will hit the desired result: the building of trust and a happier team that works better together.
1. Office Trivia
Good for: Team bonding
What you’ll need:
Trivia questions. Leave at least a minute for each question, which will help you work out how many questions/how long you want the trivia to last Trivia always goes down well with people, so introduce a version at work that contains not only questions covering a range of general-knowledge topics, but questions relating to the workplace like “How many windows does the office have?” or “What month features the most employee birthdays?” Office trivia can also easily work remotely, so if you have all or part of your team working from home, this can still be used as an all-inclusive activity. Indeed, Zoom trivia meetings really took off during lockdowns for many businesses as a way to keep up morale.
2. Scavenger Hunt
Good for: Collaboration skills
What you’ll need: Lists for teams
Team-building exercises don’t get simpler and more fun than this old classic. Not only will employees get to adventure outside, making it an instant winner, but all it requires is a list of items to locate and/or things to do. The result? Some fun collaboration between colleagues as they work together to complete their lists and photograph the evidence for whatever time period you set the game for.
3. Trading Cards
Good for: Breaking the ice
What you’ll need: Index cards and pens
Regardless of whether or not you collected footy or Pokemon cards in your youth, this is a fun exercise that allows colleagues to get to know each other in a process that is guaranteed to illicit some laughs. Essentially, each team member designs their own trading card, which should include a self-portrait, name, nickname and fun fact or two about them that not many people know. Cards are then handed out randomly, with people given the opportunity to ask questions to the card creator before cards get swapped around again.
4. In Today’s News…
Good for: Team bonding and employee insights
What you’ll need: Newspapers, a whiteboard, tape, scissors, markers
Here’s an activity that will not only let you in on how employees perceive the company, but will also highlight possible opportunities (or hidden problems, which can be beneficial in its own way). Teams are preferably divided up by department and are asked to create news headlines - either by cutting and pasting from newspapers or simply writing on paper or a whiteboard,that relate to what the company, or their individual department, will achieve in the future. Group discussion revolves around whether or not the ideas presented are feasible, with the overall effect being that employees will feel like they’ve contributed to the vision of the company’s future.
5. Shark Tank
Good for: Team strategy building
What you’ll need: Paper and pens
Based on, you guessed it, the TV show Shark Tank, this involves splitting employees into teams who are tasked with pitching an imaginary product or service to a team of entrepreneur “sharks” (other team members); in turn, they are given a pretend pool of money to invest in the ideas they like the best. Pitches should include things like product or service name, slogan, business plan, marketing plan and financial data, such as predicted sales. This session should provide an opportunity for strategic thinking and collaboration between teams, as well as give them a chance to flex their creativity and business acumen.