How to Make Team Building Actually Fun

HR Insights for Professionals

HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, November 19, 2018

Team building can be a great way to build relationships and communication between employees but how do you make it more than just a corporate exercise?

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Team building can be an important part of ensuring employees from all departments are able to work and communicate effectively together. But thanks to years of cliché corporate exercises, team building is now viewed with more than a sprinkle of skepticism. 

Not only does this mean that you'll get limited engagement with the initiative but unless individuals find the activity fun and interesting, it's unlikely they'll view it as something beneficial. This means you'll be investing in initiatives that your employees see no real value in and, as such, will not see this as an advantage of sticking with the organization. 

However, there are ways you can bring the fun back into team building and make it more than just a corporate box-ticking exercise.

1. Escape the room

There's been a surge in popularity of 'escape the room' activities and there's a good reason why. From stag do's to corporate training, these ventures are suitable for groups of all sizes, ages and interests. Teamwork and clear communication are vital for success so it's understandable why they are becoming popular with businesses. Numerous companies run the games, which vary in length, theme and difficulty, allowing you to find one that suits you.

2. Cookery classes

From sushi making to chocolate classes, there are a variety of activities focused on food that can bring your team together. This is a more laid-back option, making it particularly good if you have an older or more introverted workforce. Many classes allow you to split up into teams and work together to complete a recipe, with the final result being judged and a winner selected. This means you can strike the perfect balance of cooperation and competition to get the most from the activity.

3. Zombie killing

Sometimes allowing your employees to let loose and go kill a few zombies is the best way to bring them together. These fully-immersive activities are great ways to make your workforce forget all the stress of the office - and even home - to focus on the task at hand. There are various iterations of the concept, including 'after dark,' 'schools out' and even child-friendly versions, so it won't be a challenge to find one that suits you.

4. Obstacle courses

Outdoor endurance runs are becoming more and more popular, so why not use them to bring your team together? These obstacle-based assault courses vary in difficulty but are still focused on physical activity so won't suit every workforce. But if you have fairly fit, competitive and dedicated employees, these events could be an effective way to build long-lasting bonds. You could also hold regular training sessions in the lead-up to the day, helping to bring your team closer together ahead of the event itself.

5. Treasure hunts

Forget the boring exercises you did as a child, these corporate-based treasure hunts aim to bring the fun back into team building. There are a variety of different challenges based on a number of themes. From ones based around your local city to James Bond-inspired hunts, you can find something that will motivate your employees to take part. They vary in length and suitable team numbers but most allow more than 100 participants so it's one that allows entire departments or even companies to come together.

6. Crime scene investigation

Ever wanted to solve a murder? Of course you have. Crime scene-based activities allow teams of varying sizes to find clues and put the pieces together to find the culprit. This encourages employees to use their brains, work together and find a solution to each problem presented to them. These transferable skills will not only help them succeed at the task but will improve their day-to-day work back in the office too. Effective communication and cooperation are key if your employees want to succeed, making it the ideal corporate exercise.

7. Murder mystery

The classic murder mystery has had a revival thanks to the uptake of smartphones. Instead of being based in a dodgy country house, you can use your devices to help solve the case. A professional team of actors will set the scene and help the story unfold as your team tries to figure out who the culprit is. Everyone will need to listen to each other and work together if they want to solve the clues before time runs out and the murderer gets away.

8. Survival training

Fancy yourself to be a bit of a Bear Grylls? Survival training is an alternative way to help your employees work together but can be a valuable venture if you have the right group of people. In the office people are often very aware of their own strengths but may struggle to understand that of others or how to build on their weaknesses. Learning survival skills means most people will be at square one so the team can work together to develop their new abilities.

9. Cocktail classes

If you have a younger demographic or those who are young at heart, cocktail classes can be a good way to get everyone communicating and having a laugh. Learning a skill such as this is likely to be a little out of the comfort zone for all the people taking part so it's a great way for them to bond. Pick one that has team-based activities where people group up and complete challenges to give colleagues the chance to work together and harbor friendly competition.

10. Paint a masterpiece

Most team building activities get colleagues to work together but few do it more literally than masterpiece painting. In these sessions, teams are asked to all collaborate on the same project. Even people who aren't naturally creative can benefit from this type of activity as the core of it is working with those around you to achieve the same goal.

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