As an employer, manager or team leader, coming up with good team bonding ideas can be a real challenge. For most, the biggest concerns centre around value and engagement. You want to make sure that your team bonding idea is valuable, not just from your employees' perspective but from the business’ perspective too. To achieve this, you need to ensure that staff are engaged with your team activities and are clearly benefitting from the event.
Incorporating a learning outcome into your team building idea isn’t too difficult, but finding the right balance between fun and education can be challenging. At Catalyst Team Building UK, with over 130 different corporate team building programmes under our belt, we have plenty of experience and options to help you ensure your team building day is a success.
In this guide, we are going to walk you through some of the most important points we consider when developing team bonding ideas and designing team building activities for work, with the aim of helping your next event go as smoothly as possible.
What are Your Learning Outcomes?
Planning is the key to success in business. Moving forward without a clear goal in mind is problematic - and the exact same logic applies to team building ideas.
When you begin organising a team building event, the first step is always to consider your desired results. Boosting morale is a good reason to organise some fun team building activities, but much more value can be gained from team bonding exercises.
Think about the skills that will benefit your team and, in turn, your business. Then, centre your efforts on creating, shaping or finding a team bonding idea that promotes and develops the specific skills you have in mind. Below are a few examples of potential learning outcomes, as well as team activities which develop them.
Surprisingly, not every team building exercise promotes good teamwork skills. Whilst the majority do involve splitting into teams and working as a group, some team activities are more focused on competition. If improving teamwork and unity is one of your core learning outcomes, it's essential to choose an activity with teamwork at its centre.
A brilliant example of an activity that incorporates teamwork development is Outbreak - Escape the Virus. Utilising a similar formula to the increasingly popular escape rooms, teams are presented with a series of puzzles and challenges which they must work together to complete. The key to success in this team bonding activity is the quick analysis and understanding of each team member's talents and abilities, promoting efficient and effective teamwork.
Communication is a fundamental pillar of successful business practice. Without effective communication, information is lost, lessons are left unlearned and problems crop up time and time again. To this end, communication is always an effective learning outcome to target that is all but guaranteed to translate into the working environment.
A good example of a team building activity that practices good communication is Quickfire - Soccer, during which participants are split into teams and must compete against one another to accumulate the most rewards. Each challenge has both a cost and a reward, which forces strategic decision-making and discussion of tactics. Team members must put themselves forward for challenges, and the group as a whole must gauge the team’s ability, listen to one another, and develop trust and communication along the way. These skills are undoubtedly invaluable within the workplace environment.
Time management is another soft skill with a wide variety of applications. As with the majority of soft skills, teaching employees to manage their time more effectively is difficult. Often, experience is the best teacher and team building events are the perfect platform to give people the knowledge that they need.
Team activities like Red Alert are extremely good at developing time management skills which can increase efficiency within the workplace. Red Alert is a collaborative event where teams are given a crate filled with puzzles that they must solve within 60 minutes. Assigning specific puzzles to specific team members is essential, as is keeping an eye on the time and effectively splitting resource amongst the different challenges. These are all skills which translate brilliantly into the workplace.
A final common learning outcome is problem-solving. Problem-solving actually encompasses multiple other soft skills being leveraged in unison. To solve problems effectively, critical thinking, leadership and communication are almost always essential, as is a quick and accurate analysis of the current situation.
The majority of the activities that have already been discussed involve some form of problem-solving but Go Team is a particularly focused example. Utilising GPS tracking, teams are required to travel around their local area, completing tasks and puzzles upon arrival at their destination. With collaborative problem-solving at its core, this is a brilliant way to bring teams closer together and make them more effective at addressing problems in the workplace, creating solutions rather than dwelling on problems.
What Makes Your Team Stay Engaged?
Having decided exactly what you want to achieve from your team bonding activities, the next core stage is understanding your audience. No two businesses are the same. Similarly, no two teams within the same business are the same. Everyone has likes, dislikes, needs and preferences. As a result, it's essential to tailor your chosen events to suit your team in order to increase the effectiveness of the activity.
Here are three common team interests, complete with example events to inspire you.
Our world is becoming increasingly technological by the day and with that, employees are becoming more and more accustomed to technology in the workplace. If you know that technology excites your team, then selecting an event with a technological focus is an excellent way to ensure active engagement and involvement.
The Infinite Loop is a perfect example of this, combining modern virtual reality headsets with real-time collaboration and communication to create a team building activity that is perfect for tech-lovers.
In the same way, some organisations have active employees. Selecting an event that involves travelling, walking or time outdoors is often a good way to challenge these teams beyond the scope of the event itself, ensuring they are both physically and mentally engaged.
For example, Escape the Maze utilises GPS triggering and real-world travel to send participating teams out and about their local area, reaching checkpoints, completing challenges and racing the competition to the finish line. This is perfect for active, outdoorsy individuals who perform best in the open air.
As a final example, you can also find plenty of teams with a love for music and rhythm. Opting for a musically driven activity will help to engage these individuals and keep them on their toes at every stage, improving the overall effectiveness of the team bonding activity.
Orchestrate! epitomises this, teaching the participants to work as a group and learn an orchestral piece in a matter of hours. Not only is Orchestrate! extremely rewarding, but it is also a brilliant test of teamwork and group cohesion.
How Much Time and Space Do You Have Available?
After you have identified your learning outcome and your team's preferences, all that’s left is to think about your available resources. More accurately, you need to ensure that you have the time and space available to host the right event.
Many businesses choose to hire a venue and dedicate a full or half day towards team building. We recommend investigating your options then organising a venue to suit your chosen activity, if required.
If you are interested in discovering more team building activities, you can browse our vast range here.
Alternatively, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team and we will be happy to help.