If you’re a leader, administrative assistant, corporate event planner, or HR professional, the task of team-building may fall under your portfolio. Team-building exercises have become an integral part of modern workplace culture. The aim is consistent: to create a cohesive, motivated, and high-performing team. While the concept is straightforward, successful execution is often anything but.
On top of your already full plates, ensuring that your team’s event builds a positive and lasting impression is a tall task!
While there is some merit and a time and place for simple getting-to-know-you games and casual gatherings, team-building events that are intended to set the tone for your team or company culture and are engaging to your employees need to be intentionally planned, thoughtfully executed, and carefully aligned with your organization’s core values.
Here are some tips on how to master your meeting or rock your retreat.
Be Clear About Your Purpose
Having clear objectives for your gathering will build a strong foundation for the rest of your agenda. Not only will being clear about your goals help you define your event, but assessing your objectives post-event will be much easier as well.
But, it’s not enough to set your goals – communicating them to your team in advance is the best way to set expectations so your group can actively work towards achieving them.
You may also consider how your experience can help drive purpose among your group. Having a sense of purpose — the why behind the what — can help your employees feel like they’re doing something meaningful beyond just a job. We believe (and the research backs us up) that this means being intentional about giving back. Engage people, groups, and teams in the giving. The magic happens when people are able to personally contribute to the act of giving and to the community. In turn, they feel more connected to their teams, the organization, and its role in society.
Balance Work and Play
One factor we always keep in mind is finding the right balance between work and play. Too much “play” may feel disconnected from the every day and your organization. Too much “work” and you miss out on the opportunity to build trust and foster team spirit. Activities that blend playful and practical are the sweet spot you’re looking for.
Know your audience
As you know, not all employees are the same, and what works for one team may not work for another. Likewise, an event that was planned for one purpose won’t set you up for success in all situations. Team-building should be customized to each group and its unique needs and goals. If you’re not embedded in the team that you’re planning for, try to learn as much as possible about their initiatives, their challenges, the individual team members, and their workplace customs so you can align your program to fit with their culture. Adventurous and active teams may not jive with a meditation moment (or it may be just what they need!), while buttoned-up teams may welcome a doodle break.
Include the whole team
Don’t forget your remote team members! Out of sight should not mean out of mind. If you’re meeting in person, consider ways that your remote team members can participate in your event. Can you offer the same event for remote and hybrid employees online at the same time by sending curated meeting kits and streaming the event? Consider flipping the script – there are lots of great ways to build your teams in fully virtual team-building programs that will allow you to include everyone.
Finally, be sure to follow up after your event. Not only does this help keep the good vibes going, but it reinforces the important values and relationships you put into practice. That’s why every WholeHearted event includes an impact report sent to you to share as a wrap-up to your program.
The responsibility to cultivate your workplace culture and enhance employee engagement is no small job, and critical to organizational success. While it can seem like a simple idea, it takes a complex web of considerations to deliver programming that will delight and deliver on its objectives. But it’s worth the effort – done right, team-building can unlock the full potential of your teams and create a thriving workplace culture.