Category: Team Building Events

Choosing The Right Types of Activities for Your Team Building Event

Choosing The Right Types of Activities for Your Team Building Event

Your team will expect that team building activities will be stimulating, interesting, and yes, fun. That does not mean that the facilitator has to be a comedian, but it does obligate you to incorporate some activities into your team building event that helps to engage your team members.

Planned team building activities will bring the following elements to your training:

  • Keeps the day moving at a stimulating pace
  • Fun helps to bring people together and break down barriers
  • Laughter leads to an endorphin release, which is healthy
  • Improves retention of material by providing hands on application and practice

In order to fully involve your team members, make sure that you preface activities with a discussion about safety. Let them know that what takes place in the team building sessions stays in there, so that they are encouraged to take risks, challenge previously held assumptions, and make mistakes and learn from them.

Choosing the right activity is very important. One sign of a good facilitator is someone who knows how to choose and even modify an activity to fit certain situations. A good resource library of activities is important so that you don’t find yourself re-using the same activities and tiring of them, or exposing them to people over and over, especially if you are an in-house fcilitator developing workshops for the same people.

The following list is a handy reference of the types of activities that can be the right fit for your training. Although some of the headings may overlap, the definitions are here to give you a better understanding of the range of activities that can be used.

Team Building Games: A game is an exercise that normally has a set of rules and an element of competition. Games often include some kind of reward.

Team Building Icebreakers: Icebreakers are used as an exercise to introduce group members to one another (break the ice), encourage some energy into the beginning of a workshop, and lead into the topic material. They are an important starting point to your training session.

Team Building Energizer: An energizer is a brief pick-me-up activity designed to invigorate a group if energy in the room is waning, or to bring them back together following a break. Energizers are often about five minutes long.

Simulations: A simulation is useful to train equipment operators when the tools that they will use are either very expensive or dangerous. Simulations are designed to be as realistic as possible so that participants can learn from the situation without worrying about damage or financial cost. Flying aircraft, offshore emergency evacuation procedures, combat training, and driving all make use of simulation training.

Role Plays: Role-playing is a helpful way to understand how participants react to certain situations. They are a very useful approach for practicing new skills in a non-threatening environment, where a participant learns to apply behavioral techniques and gets feedback without fear of making a mistake in front of their own customers or clients. Roleplays are helpful in learning conflict management, counseling, sales, negotiating, and many other skills.

Case Studies: Case studies are stories normally extracted from a participant’s workplace or industry. They can also be written specifically to simulate a scenario. Case studies are often examined by individuals or groups and then analyzed to stimulate discussion or demonstrate aspects of training.

How To Prepare For a Team Building Session

How To Prepare For a Team Building Session

In order to be ready to welcome participants to your team building session, you must be prepared. Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand, and leave yourself plenty of time so that you arrive at the team building venue early.

If your team building session is technology heavy, arrive 45-60 minutes before your session starts in order to set up, test, and work out any problems before your participants arrive. If you are walking into a session where the technology is already set up, or you are not using a laptop/presentation style approach, arrive 30 minutes early.

Other things you will want to do:

  • Set up your materials
  • Make sure the team building area is prepared properly
  • Locate the washrooms
  • Locate emergency exits

If your team building session runs for more than one day and everything is in working order, you can arrive 15 minutes early for day two onward, but be sure to calculate traffic and other factors (such as weather) properly. It is important that you arrive before your participants do, and that you are ready and able to welcome them.

Your welcome should include the following:

  • Make sure that the team building area is welcoming and ready before participants arrive
  • Greet participants individually as they arrive and invite them into the team building area
  • Ask them to sign in and make themselves a name tag or tent card if you are using them
  • Invite them to help themselves to a refreshment if they are available
  • As you get things underway, introduce yourself (or have another facilitator/host introduce you) to break the ice and establish your credibility
  • Have the participants introduce themselves
  • Review the agenda for the day so that people know what to expect
  • Asked participants about their expectations and personal learning objectives

When you ask participants about their expectations, be prepared for them to have thought of things that you may not have, but don’t worry. If there are things that people were looking for that you can incorporate in some way, then it is recommended that you do so. If you are not able to incorporate them, assure the participants that you can provide them with information that they need, and be sure to follow up.

Costs and Benefits of Team Building Events

Costs and Benefits of Team Building Events

Companies often spend a lot of money on training and team building events, so it only makes sense that they will want to see what they got back from the training. In some cases, this may be easy – you may be able to see a drop in hard numbers (like product defects, customer complaints, or days absent) as a result of your training. In other cases, the benefit might involve something much harder to calculate, like reduced stress, improved teamwork, or better communication.

Identifying and Measuring Tangible Benefits

Tangible benefits are those with a number attached to them. Some examples include:

  • Rate of absenteeism or turnover
  • Sales
  • Profits
  • Number or rand value of returns
  • Number or percentage of customer complaints
  • Length of downtime (due to accidents, machine failure, etc.)
  • Production volume
  • Error or defect rate
  • Customer and/or employee satisfaction
  • Response time

When gathering these metrics, make sure to gather information for a few months before and a few months after the time period that you are measuring, as well as data for the same time period in years previous. You will also want to be aware of external factors that could affect your data, such as weather, economic conditions, and changes in the company.

Identifying and Measuring Intangible Benefits

Training  and team building activities often provide more intangible benefits, such as better communication, improved anger and stress management, clearer writing skills, or more effective time management. It can be hard to put dollars and cents value on these skills; however, we are often asked to do so to prove that the training has been worthwhile.

  • Here are some ways to convert intangible benefits to hard numbers:
  • Calculate the time saved in hours and multiply by the person’s hourly wage
  • Tie the intangible benefit to a tangible benefit

Calculating Total Costs

Our next step is identifying the cost of the team building program. This should include:

  • Employee salaries paid while they were attending the program
  • Trainee expenses such as food, hotel, and transportation
  • Cost of materials and facility for the program
  • Facilitator cost before, during, and after the program
  • Development and licensing costs
  • Administrative costs

Making a Business Case

All of the evaluations and measurements that you perform before, during, and after a training or team building session should give you quantifiable, consistent information about the training that you performed. This information will help you:

  • Improve your training programs
  • Have confidence in yourself as a trainer
  • Gain support for your programs
  • You can also use this information when building a business case or proposal for your next team building program. A business case usually has the following items:
  • Executive Summary
  • Background Information (to provide context)
  • Needs Analysis
  • Recommendations
  • Anticipated Benefits
  • Estimated Cost
  • Next Steps
  • References and Supporting Materials

Assessing Learning during Team Building Sessions

Assessing Learning during Team Building Sessions

Often, team leaders may assess learning before and after a team building session, but they may neglect to check in with the team while they are the team building session. It’s very important to include this in your training plan, particularly since most training programs start with foundation concepts and build towards advanced concepts. If your team gets lost at the beginning, your entire team building program could be in jeopardy.

Related: Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Reviewing Learning Objectives

At the beginning of the program, make sure you review the learning objectives of the course with the team. Give them the opportunity to give you feedback about the objectives:

Are all the objectives clear?

Is there anything that is missing?

Do the objectives seem reasonable?

Do participants understand how these learning points can translate back to the workplace?

During the team building program, check in with participants to make sure you’re still on track with the learning objectives. When participants are asked to perform evaluations, point out the ties back to the learning objectives.

Performing Hip-Pocket Assessments

During the team building session, check in with participants and evaluate them on reactionary and learning levels. Questions that you will want to ask include:

How does the team feel about the team building activities?

What has been the best thing about the team building so far? The worst thing?

What has the team learned?

What would the team still like to learn?

You may also want to ask specific questions about key content points.

Quizzes and Tests

Quizzes and tests are a good way to measure how much the team are learning during the team building session. Midpoint tests are good in many situations, including:

Workshops that have a lot of content

Workshops with difficult content

Long workshops

Topics that depend on each other

Don’t forget that a test doesn’t have to mean an hour-long exam. Try some of these fun ideas instead:

Divide participants into pairs or teams. Have them write quiz questions for each other. If the group is competitive, make it a tournament.

Place sheets of flip chart on the walls with key topic words. Assign a group to each sheet and have them review that topic. Or, have participants walk around and jot their own notes on the sheet, and review as a group.

Do you remember the picnic game from your childhood? Each person in the group would bring something to the picnic that started with a particular letter. The group would start with A and move through the alphabet. Play this game with your group, but choose a topic related to the workshop.

Play a game show like Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, with topics tied to your content.

Have participants sit in a circle. Toss a soft ball to a person and have them name one thing that they have learned so far. Have participants toss the ball around until everyone has spoken. Make sure to include yourself in the game!

Skill Assessments

Quizzes, questionnaires, and tests are great for evaluating many types of knowledge. However, you may need additional tools to evaluate changes in behavior, abilities, and attitude. Below is an introduction to some of the tools that can help you evaluate these types of learning.

Demonstrations: Demonstrations can be a very powerful teaching tool, particularly for complex tasks. One method is to demonstrate the desired task, and then have participants demonstrate it back to you. Or, place participants in groups or pairs and have them demonstrate the task to each other. Just monitor the activity to make sure that the information is correct.

Role Play: Role plays are often listed as participants’ least favorite part of a workshop, but they are very helpful when learning new behaviors. Conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation, communication, and training are just a few of the topics where role plays can be helpful.

To make the most of role plays, try these tips:

Give participants the option to take an active or inactive role.

Have clear instructions and roles.

Provide constructive feedback.

Provide tip sheets on the behavior to be role played.

Games: Games can provide a fun yet educational learning experience for participants. Make sure to practice the game ahead of time and make sure that it truly helps participants practice the skill that they are learning. And don’t forget – always have a backup plan.

Simulations: When they are well designed, simulations are excellent ways to assess how well a participant has learned a skill. They are particularly useful in situations where it is imperative that participants have excellent knowledge before going ahead with the real task, such as medical procedures or machine operation.

You can enhance the usefulness of these tools by adding a subjective rating system to them. For example, you could have a scorecard for demonstrations and role plays, or perhaps the simulator can provide a report on the user’s success and failure rates.

Team Building Benefits of Laughter

Team Building Benefits of Laughter

There are numerous ways in which your team will benefit from a team building event. Team building activities help the participants to perform better as a team and improve skills within the team such as time management, focus, lateral thinking, problem solving and goal setting. Team building events also help your team to get to know each other better. Strength and weaknesses come to the fore in the activities, and hidden leadership qualities are often discovered.

Team building events are also about having fun and laughing together. Laughter is a powerful way to combat stress and conflict. Humor lightens burdens, connects you to others and inspires hope. It is an excellent resource for surmounting problems and enhancing relationships within a team. Laughter relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, releases feel good chemicals and even keeps your heart healthier.

Related: Laughter Games Team Building Event

Laughter is highly contagious, just hearing laughter is enough to make you smile and wanting to join in the fun. Laughter and playful communication strengthen relationships by fostering emotional connections and positive feelings between team members. Laughing together creates a bond that acts as a buffer against stress and disagreements. Shared laughter is also an excellent tool for keeping relationships fresh and building strong relationship bonds. Humor is an effective way to heal resentments and unites people during difficult times.

Being able to laugh, play and have fun together makes being part of a team more enjoyable and helps the team to solve problems, connect with each other and be more creative. Playing with a problem can often lead to a creative learning opportunity. Make laughter, humor and play a prominent part of your team and creativity will thrive in your team. Humor will give your team a new perspective that is more relaxed, creative, positive, balanced and joyful. So have fun with your team and create opportunities to laugh together.

 

 

Team Building Event Planning Do’s and Don’ts

In this blog,  we will look at a list of do’s and don’ts to consider when planning your next team building event. The list is in no way meant to be comprehensive, but should give you a good idea of some important aspects to look at when planning your next team building event.

Team Building Events Planning

Team Building Event Planning Don’ts

  • Team building activities should never be overly competitive. The goal of team building is to get team members to work together and not working against each other, which is often what happens when activities become too competitive. Competition can often divide groups and it is better to stick with activities where members truly have to depend on each other to succeed. Some form of score keeping helps to keep the activities focused, but it should be kept light-hearted, and winning should not be over emphasised.
  • When planning your team building event make sure that the activities will not be to physically demanding for the participants involved. The fitness and abilities of the team as a whole should be taken into consideration. You want to make sure that everybody can be equally involved in the activities, and it is essential to be aware of any physical handicaps or weaknesses within the team.
  • The activities that you are planning for your team building event should always have a good balance. On  one  hand,  the activities should not be too strenuous but also not be too mindless, causing the participants to lose interest. In the same way,  the event should neither be just about fun but also not be draining physically or emotionally. Also, beware of making the event overly comical or complicated. The activities chosen should support the main message and not detract from it.
  • Team building should focus on team work and not be about rewarding individuals. The activities should be structured in such a way that competitive individuals cannot succeed without the participation of all the team members.
  • Do not spend all of the budget available on food and accommodation but make some funds available for facilitation fees. Hiring an experienced team building facilitator will ensure that your event is successful and that all your colleagues can participate in the event.

Team Building Event Do’s

  • When you plan a team building event try to keep the activities in the context of the normal way of doing business for the participants involved. This will help to ensure that the participant will be able to apply the lessons learned in the event to their everyday working environment.
  • Try and arrange activities that have similar challenges to that which the participants might experience in their daily tasks. Successful team building depends on how much the activities create a microcosm of real challenges the participants face on a daily basis.
  • Consider hiring professionals to facilitate your team building event. Good team building facilitation companies have strong working relationships with venues, and they will often be able to arrange not only facilitation for the team building activities but also a team building venue, as well as conferencing facilities if required.
  • Take time to clarify the aims of the team building event before contacting a prospective facilitator for the event. Having a clear understanding of why your company needs team building will help you to communicate your requirements to the team building facilitator.
  • Put plans into place to follow up the event with meaningful work activities. If team building exercises do not have any follow up activities in the work place, employees will more often than not see team building as a once-off event and, therefore, a waste of time and energy.
  • Effective team building is a ongoing process. Together with regular team building events, you should also incorporate team building exercises in the work place on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Make plans to follow up on the lessons learned in the team building event. The purpose of following up should be to re-emphasise lessons learned in the team building exercises and to measure the teams’s progress.

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How to Plan a Team Building Event

In this article, we are going to share with you some tips and pointers that will help you in planning your next team building event. Planning forms a vital part in the overall success of a team building event, and we will guide you through a couple of points that need to be considered when the event is in the planning phase. We will look at issues such as the objectives of the event, the participants, time frames, budgets, location, selecting teams, choosing a theme and assessment of the success of an event.

How to Plan a Team Building Event

What is the objective of the team building event?

It is essential to clearly establish the objectives for your team building event right from the start. Ask yourself why is your company doing team building and what is the company hoping to accomplish with the event? What are the expectations of the participants? Make sure that everybody has the same goal in mind from the outset. The following are some possible objectives:

  • Breaking down barriers
  • Identifying leadership qualities
  • Improving communication and teamwork
  • Highlighting diversity and honing specific skills within a team
  • Promoting professional business relationships
  • Creating respect for different personalities and cultures
  • Identifying the dynamics and behaviour traits of high performing teams
  • Identify current strengths and weaknesses of your teams

In order to successfully plan a team building event any current strengths and weaknesses of the participating teams need to be considered. Find out if there is unresolved conflicts between certain people or is there certain groups of people who need to get to know each other better.  Is there members who tend to focus on their own achievements or is there members who are opposed to change? Consider whether there are issues of poor communication within the company and does the company need an overall morale boost.

Profiles of team members

Next you need to take a look at the profiles of the team members who will be attending the team building event. Things such as age range, gender mix and backgrounds of participants should be considered in planning the event. The team building activities at the event has to be suitable for all the team members and issues such as the physical condition and dietary requirements of participants need to be taken into consideration.

What is the budget?

The budget available for the team building event will have a strong influence on your choice of venue, food and beverage as well as the duration of the event and the type of event that you are planning. It is, therefore, very crucial for you to get an indication of the budget at a decidedly early stage of planning. The size of the budget will dictate whether all aspects of the team building will have to be handled in-house or if it will be possible to outsource some or all of the elements of the event. If it all possible, it is advisable to outsource the team building facilitation component of the event as you would like all your colleagues to be available to participate in the event. An established team building company will have the experience of knowing what works and what does not.

Time Frame of Event

Here, you need to find out when the event will take place and the length of the event. A decision will have to be made whether the event will take place in working hours or over a weekend or public holiday. When looking at a date outside working hours, the family commitments of participants need to be taken in to consideration. Furthermore, you will need to decide whether it will be a full day or half day event, or will the event take place over a 2 or 3 days.

Likes and dislikes of participants

When planning the team building activities of the event you have to take the likes and dislikes of the participants in to consideration. What do the team members prefer doing, are they the indoor kind or the outdoor adventurous types or a mixture of the two? This information can be collected by taking polls among the team members or by looking at past team building activities.

Choosing a venue for the event

Getting the right venue for your team building event is crucial as this can have a powerful effect on the atmosphere of the event. When looking for a venue you also need to consider the accessibility of the venue as well as the set-up and layout. Find out if the venue has any contingency plans for adverse weather in case of outdoor events.

Selecting teams

When you look at selecting teams for the event consider mixing departments, geographical regions, management levels or placing people that do not  get on well together in one team. It is also a good opportunity to identify leadership qualities by giving junior members leadership roles. Alternatively you can leave it up to the facilitators to select the teams on the day of the event; the facilitator will monitor the participants before the event to see where he can break up existing groups.

Choosing a theme

Make your event interesting by choosing a theme for it. Your venue, organisers, activities and music can then be chosen to complement this theme. Your content and objectives can be driven by this theme. For example, an archery event can be planned along with the theme of “hitting the mark”, emphasising the importance of accuracy and correct decision making.

Assessing the success of the event

In order for a team building event to be considered successful there has to be some way to measure the success of the event. When planning your event it is essential to know how are going to measure this. Will the event be successful because it was enjoyable or because people got to know each other better? Feedback forms, surveys and observation reports  are some of the effective ways to measure the success of the team building event.

Make sure your team building event is a success by giving yourself enough time to plan for it. For a small to medium size event of up to 80 participants, two to three months should be enough, but you will need to give yourself up to six months to plan for events for over 80 participants. Make sure there is a healthy balance between fun and learning; team building should never be just about fun but should also not be overly serious.

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Team Building for a Successful Workplace

 The adage that a happy workplace is a busy workplace has been proven time and time again by some of the leading global companies, and innovative CEO’s have spent time and money ensuring that their employees are settled, relaxed and that they can relate well with their colleagues. A cohesive team that understands each other and is comfortable communicating and working alongside each other will be a much bigger asset to your business than a disgruntled group of individuals.

Team Building Activity
Team Building Activity

 Building a Team

There are countless examples from around the world of where a close, well-knit team can outperform expectations and succeed in their line of work, and this is due to the power of teamwork and morale. Sport is a perfect example of this, where teams can defy the odds and exceed expectations due to having a strong team ethic and working well together. The same is true in the workplace, as an enthusiastic, motivated, and cohesive team can excel in anything they do. This is why building a team out of a group of individuals can be more valuable than anything else.

recruitment agency can help to find an employee that is suitably qualified to join a workforce, but they will not perform to their maximum potential in an uncooperative team environment. Studies have shown that money spent on team building, improving the ergonomics and aesthetics of the work environment, and creating a positive workplace is recouped numerous times over in productivity. Google are a perfect example of this, as they are renowned for striving to create a happy working environment for their employees, and for ensuring that staff members are well acquainted with each other; results of which are clear to see. Google even provide employees with futuristic napping stations where employees can lighten the load and rejuvenate themselves with a power nap.

There are numerous different team building activities which can be undertaken, all of which are designed to bring out range of qualities and skills in people, and these qualities can translate into many different situations. Understanding the concepts behind team building events is essential to getting the most out of the experience as it can be tailored to the needs of your company. Taking a selection of individual workers and turning them into a team is what will help to propel your business forward and make it run much more efficiently. The first step towards building a strong team is improving communication and trust, whilst eliminating conflict and misconceptions.

Communication, Communication, Communication

Putting together a team of bright, intelligent, and knowledgeable individuals is sometimes not enough to get a productive workplace, and one of the major issues that occur time and time again is a lack of communication between colleagues. In any organization, be it small or large, communication is vital for the smooth running of a company. A restaurant will not work well if the waiters are not communicating with the chefs, in the same way that an accountant’s office will fall short if one department does not communicate with another effectively.  Taking people out of the workplace and getting them involved in activities that rely on good communication to succeed will improve the situation tremendously.

Trust Building

One of the key components of team building is increasing the amount of trust that is held between workers. Although the activities carried out during training may be entirely unconnected to the workplace environment, the skills and lessons learned, and relationships formed during the process will have a positive effect on work. Increased trust between employees results in a greater amount of dependency which increases efficiency and productivity. Workplaces that have a lack of trust between employees are usually segregated and inefficient as this causes a barrier.

Conflict Resolution

It is not uncommon for workplaces containing a wide variety of people to end up with personal, professional and emotional disputes, and this is often due to a lack of understanding between people. Taking workers away from their normal environment and getting them involved in different team building exercises can work wonders for improving relationships. With the pressure of the office out of their minds, and diversely stimulating activities to complete, social barriers are often lifted, and this translates well when back in the office.

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Successful Team Building Events

It is important to the success of your team building events that team building activities should be integrated with real-time goals in the workplace. Systematic workplace integration and follow-up processes need to be planned and established before team building events take place. Good feelings and positive outcomes need to last beyond the events.

Successful Team Building Events
Team Building Activities

The success of a team building event starts in the planning phase of the event. The team that will be planning the event needs to be carefully chosen, keeping in mind that they will be modeling how to work together as a team.

Successful organizations incorporate annual team building events into the overall company structure. The cultural framework, philosophies, values and practices of an organization should be designed in such a way that it builds a concept of team and team work. In such a framework, team building events will produce supportive results in a group of people that already operate in a team environment.

Team building events should be building on a working system based on shared philosophies, purposes and mission. There should be a sound performance development program in place, encouraging the personal and professional growth of employees. Team building events are more successful in organizations where team work is already an integral part of the business and employee strategy.

Team building events are more successful in a work system in which team behavior is recognized and rewarded. Such a system creates an environment where employees work as a team to solve problems and improve processes. Company policies that are employee and employee-family friendly promote team spirit, and problems or failures do not result in a search for the guilty but for the problem or failure in the work system.

Plan team building events around a business purpose to which all can contribute. Companies should regularly demonstrate their commitment to building team unity, trust and morale otherwise negative results can result from team building events.

Team building events should give the team a clear sense of direction and include workable plans and solutions. Poorly planned and executed team building events, outside of the everyday work context, can result in disillusionment, low morale and negative motivation. Team building should not be a once off event but something that is an ongoing process within the organization.

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