The word ‘teambuilding’ stirs up a few emotions – dread being the biggest of these.
It immediately brings to mind trust-falls, sharing circles and awkward dancing. John from accounting spills his coffee at least once a day – no one wants to do trust-falls with John!
Even the most extroverted employee will hesitate when asked to stand up in front of everyone and sum themselves up in 40 words or less. Despite the negativity surrounding teambuilding, when implemented successfully, it can be a vital tool in any organisation’s arsenal.
It makes sense to do teambuilding at the beginning of the year, upon the establishment of a new team or at the start of a specific project. But there’s never a bad time for a teambuilding exercise.
It’s possible to split the ‘when’ of teambuilding into two categories: Planned teambuilding and reactionary teambuilding.
In planned teambuilding, you would set a date for a teambuilding event in advance. This usually coincides with important events in the company’s calendar.
Reactionary teambuilding, however, might be the more important of the two. It’s also the trickiest. The idea here is to react to something that has occurred or an issue that’s been detected. For example, after a round of retrenchments, a company might need to facilitate a teambuilding session to counteract the negativity, tension and anxiety of the remaining employees.
The key with this is that management need to be in tune with what is happening with their employees and realise that, without a teambuilding antidote to a perceived issue, it will cost the company in the future. Teambuilding creates a cohesive workplace which, in turn, improves productivity.
Astute managers will recognise the value of ongoing teambuilding. These activities don’t always need to be big days out, white water river rafting, playing laser tag or completing an escape room puzzle. Smaller activities based on a larger, planned one will reinforce the lessons learnt on days spent doing the bigger teambuilding activities. In this way, the “when” of teambuilding has no date.
Things to consider the next time you’re facilitating teambuilding activities:
- Collaboration over competition – you’re looking to improve the way employees work together, not cause friction between John from accounting and Karen from legal after John cost Karen the coveted title of fastest egg-spoon sprinter.
- Not everyone is an Iron Man (unless they are an Iron Man. In which case, they’ll tell you. Often.) Choose activities that are inclusive and accessible.
- Select an objective and build an activity around it.