Have you ever been a part of a "trust fall" or "telephone game" at the office? These team building exercises are meant to strengthen the bond between co-workers. A sales rep might wonder whether these activities are valuable or if they're simply a waste of time. Read on to discover what some executives believe about this aspect of employee training.
Honesty Is the Key
One of the main tenets of team building exercises is that companies must be honest with employees from the get-go. Instead of just merely playing a game, employees should know the purpose of the game beforehand. For example, a trust fall activity isn't just about catching an employee after he falls backwards. It's about being able to trust that teammates have your back.
Don't Force It
Team building activities should not be forced upon employees. Everyone probably expects to participate in some type of team building activity on annual employee training days, but you don't have to engage in these activities every week for them to be effective. Encourage participation for most activities, and make other activities optional.
Consider non-traditional and creative things to do, such as having a trivia contest about the company. This encourages friendly competition and allows new employees to learn more about the company's history and culture. Present a prize to the winning team for a more memorable and lasting effect.
Purposes of Team Building
These fun exercises have several benefits. The most obvious is that it builds relationships among co-workers as everyone strives to achieve a singular goal that has nothing to do with a company's bottom line. Team-building activities also enhance communication among employees as they learn about each other. However, there is one important aspect of this training model that must be addressed for these events to have a more lasting impact. Obtain feedback from employees. Have employees write down what they're feeling at a particular moment, and then ask for people to share some of their thoughts about the activity.
Make It Fun
If there's a nationwide event coming up, such as an election, a holiday or a large sporting event, incorporate those themes into training activities to make them more exciting. When the Super Bowl happens, build an event around the big game. Consider having other themed events based on television shows and movies.
Measure the Outcome
At some point, business leaders must measure the outcome of training events. That's where feedback, turnover rates and employee productivity come into play. Do employees feel better, work harder and communicate better after getting to know each other? How often should these team-based exercises occur? Keeping detailed information is the key to creating an optimal approach.
Team building is a fantastic way to help retain employees, keep everyone engaged and give teams a break from the normal routine. Once you figure out the best way to implement a strategy for these exercises, you can plan these events at key moments to motivate employees.
Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net