Many work cultures are based on goal driven structures but lack team building. A competitive environment can drive sales toward the bottom line, but also alienate co-workers. Building strong teams is essential to the harmony and productivity of your employees. Here are three elements of a great team building exercise and three examples you can try with your workers.

3 Elements of a Great Team Building Exercise

A team building exercise isn’t executing trust falls and organizing another meeting; all great motivating activities have a few things in common:

  1. A Clear Goal

Managers should clearly determine the objective for the team-building exercise. According to US News, a good strategy for defining these goals is to use the acronym SMART: meaning goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

  1. Organized Activity

Team building exercises usually rely on a manager or HR rep to lead the activity. The duration of an event can be a few hours, a day-long activity or a multi-day work retreat.

  1. Measurable Results

Building strong teams should be a part of your management plan which includes measurable results. Having an annual employee engagement survey is one way to track the results of team building efforts.

3 Best Team Building Exercises

  1. Take an Employee to Work Day

This is an adult type of field trip, similar to Take Your Children to Work Day. On Take an Employee to Work Day, employees from one department are sent to another to shadow a colleague and learn basic skills of their job. This helps bridge gaps between departments, encourage collaboration and add transparency to the inner workings of your company.

  1. Outdoor/Off-Campus Lunches

Remember how much fun you had going off campus for lunch in grade school? Hosting lunch for your team outdoors or outside the office can have the same impact on the morale of your employees. This also opens up the opportunity for motivational activities. Sports games, challenge courses or scavenger hunts all help with building strong teams.

  1. Survival Scenario

Activities that use imagination and encourage talking are good for large offices. The Survival Scenario is a popular choice for fostering group communication. Split the team into groups and tell them they’ve just crash landed on an island and they can only use 12 items to survive. They will have to be creative and resourceful to finish the activity.

Team building activities are a fun way to spend an afternoon and they have drastic effects on the morale of your employees. Hosting a cross-departmental work swap called Take an Employee to Work Day, playing sports at off-campus lunches or setting up a game like The Survival Scenario are great activities to encourage collaboration and communication.

Branded items or wear-ables like coffee cups and t-shirts also make great rewards. For more tips on building strong teams and increasing the productivity of your office, read more articles on our blog today.


Photo Credit: U.S. Army