Highly Effective Teambuilding Exercises For Employees
Your employees’ willingness and ability to work together effectively is critical to the success of your projects and, consequently, your company.
But differences in personality and work style can make working together more challenging than the job itself.
One way to address this issue is through teambuilding activities or exercises. Any business, whatever its size or type, can use teambuilding activities to foster teamwork and reap the benefits of a team that works well together.
Research shows that team building activities do make a difference. A study by the a University of Central Florida concluded that team building has “a positive moderate effect across all team outcomes.”
Team building activities can promote collaboration, improve communication, boost morale, empower team members and increase productivity. The best activities include a mix of exercises that encourage team bonding through problem-solving exercises.
You may have the best intentions when planning team building activities for your employees, but they may not receive you plans with open arms. Nearly a third of office workers dislike these activities, according to a 2012 Wakefield research study commissioned by software company Citrix. And just as many are likely to roll their eyes at the mere mention of “team building.”
Team building initiatives can be counterproductive if you fail to consider your employees’ personalities, preferences and boundaries. Not everyone is comfortable relaxing on a yoga mat or zip lining through the forest. Physical contact may be a problem for some, while others may find disclosing personal information more stressful.
Be sensitive to these needs and use activities that offer a variety of options and roles to choose from in order to make employees more comfortable and increase participation. Keep in mind that employees respond better to activities that are both fun and challenging, and stay away from activities that encourage unhealthy competition.
5 Team-Pumping Activities
This is a classic and very popular team building game.
- In a large room or outdoor field, use any items (chairs, boxes, cones, etc.) to create an obstacle course of “mines.” Set up pairs, putting together employees who don’t know each other very well or who have trust issues.
- Each partner takes a turn at being blindfolded while the other guides that person from one end of the course to the other using only verbal instructions.
- You can make the game more challenging my restricting the use of certain words. You can also have more than one pair in the minefield at a time to make it harder for the pairs to communicate.
- This activity pumps team communication, creative problem-solving, trust and collaboration.
Egg Drop/Save the Egg
- Divide your group of employees into teams and give them 20 to 30 minutes to build a container designed to save an egg when dropped from however high you decide (measured in feet or number of stories in a building, for example).
- Give the teams the same tools and materials to build the egg-saving containers.
- After building the containers, each group gives a short presentation about its container, how it was built and why it should save the egg.
- Then the containers are dropped from the pre-determined height.
- The winning team is the one that saved the egg. Ties can be broken by increasing the height of the drop.
- This activity pumps team communication, creative problem-solving and collaboration.
- First create (or have someone create) a sculpture with blocks or office supplies, and keep it hidden, preferably in another room.
- Next, set up your employees in teams of four and provide them with the same materials used for your sculpture. Allow one member of each team to look at the sculpture for a set number of seconds. This person goes back to his or her team to share information about the sculpture so that the other team members can spend one minute trying to recreate it.
- Each team member gets to “sneak a peek” and come back to the team with instructions.
- This pattern continues until one of the teams is able to recreate the sculpture successfully.
- This activity pumps observation, communication and collaboration skills.
- Divide your group into pairs and have them sit on the floor back to back.
- One person in each pair gets a simple shape or a picture of a shape, and the other gets a notebook and a pen or marker.
- Then those holding pictures or shapes tell their partners what to draw through verbal descriptions but without naming the shape.
- After a set amount of time, each pair compares the shape with the drawing to see how well they worked together or how they could have done better.
- Switch the partners, give then another shape, and repeat the process so that each one has a chance at describing and drawing.
- The team with the most accurate replica wins.
- This activity pumps communication and listening skills.
Playing sports is one of the most popular team building activities. From paintballing to bowling, the activity builds your team by creating stronger bonds and by improving their physical and mental health through exercise.
- Look for sports that fit the temperament, preferences and fitness level of most of your employees.
- The activity should encourage teamwork. Different office teams from the same company can compete with each other, or a corporate team can go against another company’s team.
- The type of sport you choose should reflect the goals you want to achieve.
For additional team building activity ideas, check out Teampedia.
If you want to learn more about engaging employees and keeping them motivated and productive, we’ve created a valuable guide designed to help you attract, engage and retain top talent: “HOW TO ENGAGE EMPLOYEES AND KEEP THEM HAPPY.”