Four tips for developing effective team-building sessions
Here are some important things to bear in mind when organising team-building activities for your employees:
- Strengthening teamwork skills is good for everyone. Although it’s most important to address departments with communication issues, even employees that already work well together can still improve their teamwork skills. In fact, companies as a whole can benefit by teaching teamwork skills to all of their workers.
- Customise your programmes. Make sure that your programmes are well thought-out. Hiring a consulting company is often a worthy investment. Cutting corners and offering a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to participants feeling frustrated and that the exercises are a waste of time.
- Always start with an icebreaker. You want participants to relax and feel comfortable with each other, especially if they don’t know each other well. So you might start off with a silly game before progressing to more challenging activities.
- Make team building a part of the company culture. Team building doesn’t always have to be a formal programme. In fact, it can be put into practice every day. Some examples include:
- Book clubs
- Fantasy football tournaments
- Secret Santas
- Off-site lunches
- Charitable volunteering
- Sponsored sporting events
Five low-cost team-building activities
Here are five team-building activities your company can offer employees at very little cost; all are designed to boost communication, trust, problem-solving and cooperation.
- Storytelling on the fly This game is played with two people who are designated as the Dealer and the Storyteller. The Dealer is given a stack of cards (each with a unique picture) which is kept hidden from the Storyteller. Every three seconds, the Dealer places a card face up on a table between them in whatever order he or she wishes. The objective of the game is for the Storyteller to tell a story prompted by the cards being placed down, while the Dealer assists the Storyteller by carefully selecting cards that make it easier to move the story forwards.
- Charades or drawing the answer This is a competitive exercise between two teams based on the games Charades or Pictionary. One member of the team is given a card with a prompt. This person has to act out the prompt or draw it while the other team members have three minutes to guess what it is. The team that guesses correctly the most number of times win.
- Group puzzler For this exercise, a team has a limited time in which to solve a physical puzzle, such as a jigsaw puzzle, a lock or a Rubik’s Cube. One person is selected as the only person who may touch the puzzle. The other team members assist by offering feedback without talking over each other or touching the puzzle.
- Egg-drop challenge This game is played with teams of three, each of which is given a raw egg. In the centre of the room is a pile of various boxes, packing materials and tools. Each team must devise a way to contain the egg so that when it is dropped two-and-a-half metres above a hard surface, it doesn’t break.
- Scavenger hunt Groups of ten people each compete to find objects that appear on a list. Each item on the list has a clue next to it as to where it’s hidden. Team members organise themselves with the objective of being the first to find the objects. They can spread out and, as they find items, communicate with each other by text. The first team assembled back at the starting place with all of the items wins.