Team Building: How Important Is It?

by Nancy Owen, PHR

teamTeam building has proven to be an advantage for many companies for a variety of reasons. It encourages communication, strengthens relationships, improves morale and ultimately increases your organization’s efficiency and productivity.

Internal communication is one of the most important aspects of business. Activities that open the doors for employees to communicate not only between themselves but with their leaders will produce great rewards.

Team building increases creativity which allows employees to think out of the box. They come up with fresh ideas on how to be productive and that keeps them engaged. We all know an engaged employee is an employee who is involved and enthusiastic about the success of their organization.

team6Another advantage of team building is that it provides an easy, comfortable way for your employees to get to know each other. As they begin to connect with their teammates, employees will have a feeling of being a part of something bigger. The more comfortable your employees are with each other the more willing they will be to express their ideas. When they feel comfortable expressing their ideas they gain confidence and become more willing to challenge themselves.

Team building also builds trust between your employees. They learn to bounce ideas off each other and are no longer afraid to ask a co-worker for their opinion or guidance. When employees learn how to trust each other it minimizes conflict in the workplace.

Team building activities that require employees to work together to solve an issue or a problem can be extremely valuable. When teams are able to determine how to work together and solve issues they can do so quickly and effectively when the real issues occur.

team1There are many team building exercises from no cost to costly. For instance, the Human Knot is a classic team building exercise that takes about 20 minutes and is no cost to the employer (aside from a few minutes of production time). It allows for your employees to both brain storm and communicate. This one is best with 6-20 employees.

  • Tell your employees to stand in a circle shoulder to shoulder.
  • Have everyone put their right hand out and move it across the circle and join hands with another person, but NOT the person directly next to them.
  • Then, without letting go, tell them to extend their left hand and do the same thing, but with a different person.
  • Watching this piece is quite funny.
  • Then ask your employees to untangle themselves without anyone releasing hands.
  • You may want to tell your employees to dress casual that day.

Team3Another fun one is Truth or Deceit. Gather employees around a conference room table. Having a few goodies, like candy, scattered about the table is an extra nice touch. Go around the table and have each person state one truth about them self and one lie. Then starting with the first person, everyone else can ask them one question. At the end of the questions the group has to guess what is the truth and what is the lie. This is a fun way to break the ice. People get to know each other and know something about each other while exercising their communication skills.

DangerLastly, another inexpensive option is the Minefield Game. This is a great exercise to build trust. It can be done with two or more employees, so no matter what the size of your group it will work.

  • Cut circles of paper to resemble the mines and scatter them across an open area.
  • Blind fold one person in the group.
  • Have the other person or persons left on that team verbally direct them through the minefield without hitting a bomb.

This can also be done as a maze. Layout “walls” through which the blindfolded person will be verbally guided by his/her teammates. The goal is to get them safely through the maze without hitting any walls.

Of course you can get more extravagant by paying a team building consultant to come in and conduct your event or by going offsite and having a vendor conduct your exercises. You will find a lot of options with a quick search on line.

Whatever method you choose, brainstorming as a group is normally a large part of a team building experience. This will eliminate a stale point of view. I often have leaders tell me that they prefer to hire external candidates rather than promoting from within because they want employees with fresh new ideas. Are you making it easy for your employees to open up and communicate their thoughts and ideas? You may be surprised by what is hiding inside.

team7All employees come to you from different workplace experiences. They all have unique ideas. When you bring the employees together to share different experiences and different points of view a new and exciting shared idea evolves.

Working together allows employees to build on the talents of each other. All employees have different strengths and weaknesses. When brought together they complement each other. Where one employee is weak the other one is strong. The result is a combined effort. You know the ole saying, “two heads are better than one”.

In the end isn’t your organization really just one big team? Aren’t you hoping that your employees are working together toward the same end result? Supplying team building for your employees may just help that happen.

For more information on team building, or any other HR issue, drop us an email at HRHelpline@eastcoastrm.com. We will be happy to help.

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