Team Building Exercises – Key to Employee Interaction and Corporate Success

Once you have built a team and established a common objective, you will need to develop a plan to achieve your objective. If you think getting people together in collective support of one goal was difficult, making them work together is even more of a challenge.

Teamwork requires cooperation and sharing of knowledge. Because a group has people of varied personalities, skills, work attitude, and personal agendas, getting them to work in harmony can be difficult. However, Team Building Exercises can help bring members together in cooperative focus on goal achievement.

No team succeeds upon the contribution of only one person. If you have already successfully built a team, it means your group members are aware of their individual responsibilities and that collective work will help them achieve larger objectives. However, you must understand that your group is, after all, made up of a group of strangers who have little connection with each other beyond the walls of the office.

Team Building Exercises will in fact, help establish that ‘missing link’ between your team members by establishing cordial relations that will help increase work efficiency and strengthen the team.

To understand which team building exercise is best for your team, conducting a personality test session of your team members is recommended. Consult your research and development wing on a suitable corporate personality test and insist your group members take it. Individual personality test results will assist you in deciding which exercises will best aid your team-building goal.

There are two kinds of this exercises: Outdoor Activity and Indoor Activity.

Outdoor activities focus on team building outside of the office or work arena. Indoor activities focus on building employee relations inside company premises. Outdoor and Indoor activities can also be combined to enhance employee experience.

Types Games: These include puzzle solving, board games, mime games, song and dance games, indoor golf, passing the parcel games, musical chairs, 3-leg racing, bobbing for apples, dart games, treasure hunting, etc. The idea is to have fun and break the ice between employees.

Social Events: Cocktail parties, dinners, lunches, dance parties, and picnics are perfect social events to bring employees together. To keep these events strictly social and encourage free mingling, the management often exempts itself from these kinds of celebrations. Employees are free to do, as they want without the watchful eye of the management.

Workshops: Training programs, problem solving activities and skill-based workshops will produce effective results. Workshops are not only educational, but they bring employees closer through discussions and awareness of the other’s job profile and how it will affect or be affected by individual performance. Such awareness increases responsibility and ownership of individual projects.

Other team building events include charitable events, awards functions, client meetings, customer forums, feedback and appraisal sessions, and project-based discussions of related departments.

Employee Team Building Exercise – A Worthy Organizational Goal to Pursue

Employee team building is an organizational goal. Every employer aims at having a dream team but in real life few succeed. If you are an employer working with good teams, teams that are successful, teams you are proud of, you are indeed in a select club.

Good teams understand the organizational expectations and are clear about their goals and objectives. The organization understands the importance of good team and is ready with the support the teams may require in terms of time and resource allocation etc. Top management must constantly be in the loop.

Employee team building process requires that expectations from the teams should be clearly conveyed to each of the team member. Each team member is deemed responsible for achieving the team goals. There should be high level of commitment and understanding among the teammates. Each one is assigned their individual roles but each one together is held responsible if the target is missed and goals remain unachieved. There should be absolute clarity in the designation of roles and there should not be any overlapping of authority. Everyone wins together and loses together. In a team, it is not about individual aspirations, it is all about individual aspirations woven into organizational aspirations.

Is it really worth putting one’s effort into building teams? Practically there is plenty of scope for things to go wrong and they do. A consistent and focused approach by all the team members to stay committed to the team efforts is needed to keep it all together and in ship-shape.

Employee team building exercises needs frank discussions and open communication. On paper it all looks simple but when one executes the plan, it is normally seen that problems that lead to complications generally stem from lack of proper communication. Trust is a very essential ingredient in keeping team-mates together. Team building exercises can help develop trust and encourage bonding. All interpersonal issues should be resolved at the earliest. All concerns should be readily addressed.

Are the efforts of the teams coordinated by a central leadership to ensure that they achieve the goals? Do the teams you manage have freedom to fail and thus learn? Do you encourage new ideas? Do you need a horizontal structure of teams to accomplish your goals or the vertical structure with layers of hierarchies suit your purpose. Can you stomach setbacks and failures encountered by your team with grace? Have your teams been given the framework of time and allocated resources to work within? What is the accepted level of risk taking capacity in the organization? Do you have the right reward system that acknowledges not just team efforts but also individual contribution? All these questions need to be answered honestly. Effective employee team building process involves all these dimensions and more.

Team Building Exercises and Employee Motivation

Team building is usually accomplished with a series of team forming exercises. These exercises can be spread throughout the course of a working period or done during a team building retreat of one or many days.

Some Activities

· Icebreakers – Activities designed for the members of a team to get to know each other through fun and informative mini activities.

· Trust Exercises – Team members must rely on each other for support and direction. Common examples are blindfolded trust walks and trust falls.

· Creative Problem Solving – Team members are given a problem to solve in a specific amount of time. These problems generally do not relate to situations that would typically find in the work place. Building a raft, starting a fire, or completing an obstacle course are common examples of problem solving exercises.

· Adaptability – The team sets out to complete their task with one set of parameters and then in the middle of the task the organizer adds other factors to which the team must adapt themselves.

Goals of Team building
· Improved communication between team members
· Increased level of comfort within the team
· Increased level of trust within the team
· Increased level of productivity within the team
· Overall increase in motivation
· Identifying and utilizing the strengths of each team member
· Improvement in collaboration skills

If a company elects to spend an entire day in this activity, the time will not be wasted. Many employees report feeling rejuvenated after a day spent doing it. Depending on the type of exercise, the day might be organized within the office or adjacent grounds, or it may take place at a specially designed retreat that caters to the needs of business-based activities that involve working in a team.

At a retreat, a typical day might go as follows:

1) The members of the team report to the site and sign in.
2) They are briefed on safety and other considerations specific to the site.
3) They are guided through a series of ice breaking and trust exercises.
4) They are given the details of the task they have to accomplish as a team.
5) They complete their task.
6) They participate in a debriefing session following the completion of the activity to recognize their overall strengths and weaknesses as team. As one can imagine, it is this debriefing session that puts all the activities of the day in a useful context.

Overall, Team Building can be a very effective exercise for improving relations and productivity in the workplace.