Team building events have a bad rap. In most companies when a supervisor says, “We’re going to do some team building!” employees start re-running old episodes of The Office. It’s one thing to see it on TV, but getting a real-life taste of your manager mimicking Steve Carell’s insanely-awkward-try-hard leadership style just isn’t as funny.
In fact, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building activities for work means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz.
O2E Brands has earned a spot as one of the country’s best places to work and team building is a big part of that. Here are the ground rules that apply when it comes to planning activities for your people.
Don’t force the corporate stuff
The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office. Activities that overtly aim to draw in leadership lessons or practical takeaways are less powerful. Spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal allows bonding to happen more organically and far more effectively.
Ditch the company picnic
It turns out that happiness and learning are tied very closely together. Trying new things with your staff can generate good vibes among employees, which in turn benefits the business itself. Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage them to come together in new ways.
One of the team members was afraid of heights - and had always hoped to conquer that fear - O2E Brands took the whole crew to the country’s longest zip line. Being thrust into a thrilling situation, 600 feet above helped everyone gel that day.
It’s not a splurge - it’s an investment.
A few years ago, O2E took the top-performing franchise partners NASCAR racing. It wasn’t a fortune at $350 per person, but it was still a sizeable chunk of change for a growing company. At the end of the day, it was a totally worthwhile investment. The team felt appreciated. The experience - screeching around a track at more than 145 miles per hour - was absolutely unforgettable and everyone felt like champions.
The point? This stuff isn’t fluff. You don’t have to bet the farm on fancy, expensive trips or experiences, but don’t skimp either. Be willing to make a real investment.
Keep that positive energy going at the office
Most team-building falls flat because it’s a one-time activity - done and then forgotten. It’s key to find ways to keep the excitement going. The challenge is creating opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of regular meetings or presentations.
How do you know you’ve gotten team building right? If there was laughter, a sense of excitement and accomplishment, and maybe a few Instagram moments, you’re definitely on the right track!