All about teambuilding or how to create a real team

Max Miller
Max Miller
19 February 2024
7 min

A cohesive team and a healthy office environment are important components of an effective business. The task of making everyone friends with each other is quite difficult and requires a lot of effort. Building a dream team can help to organize team building for the company. What is it? Is it possible to organize yourself and how not to make a mistake with the choice of the event? These questions will be answered in the article. 

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What is team building

Team building is a whole set of different activities aimed at improving communication between colleagues in order to achieve a task. In simple terms, team building is a way to bring employees together. Often sports, training and board games are chosen as a bonding activity.

The definition from the English teambuild can be translated as team building. It came into the professional sphere from team sports. In sports, the result of competitions depends on the cohesion of athletes and the ability to interact as a team. If people row in different directions on a boat, they probably won’t go anywhere. That’s why it is necessary to appoint a commander, to appoint those responsible for different areas of work, and to discuss strategy.

Team building allows for:

  • a change of scenery and relax;
  • improve understanding between employees and resolve internal disagreements;
  •  learn new ways to communicate;
  •  lower the degree of competition;
  • to make friendships;
  • for a new employee;
  • to motivate the team to do something new.

Team and group: what’s the difference

Many people confuse the concepts of “team” and “group”, although they have key differences with some similarities.

In the group:

  • have their own internal goals that do not affect the company’s benefit;
  • there are arguments about insignificant things that interfere with global work;
  • there’s no trust;
  • there’s personal animosity and relationship difficulties;
  • There is no communication between departments, each works separately;
  • work must be constantly stimulated, there is no intrinsic motivation.

On the team:

  • there is a main goal and all employees work to achieve it;
  • ideas are listened to carefully rather than flying by;
  • you can openly express your dissatisfaction and talk about unpleasant moments;
  • conflicts are resolved more quickly;
  • there’s mutual help and support;
  • participants work because they want to;

Who needs team building and who doesn’t 

Team building will be especially relevant for firms where people have just started working together and have not yet had a chance to socialize. For example, a new branch office is opening, so employees need to help them get to know each other better;

If the team has been working together for a long time, but there is a tense atmosphere in the team – conflicts often occur – joint activities can also improve the situation. Disputes are good when they concern optimization of work points, not personal characteristics. 

Team building is needed when reorganizing human resources. Combining and splitting departments is a common occurrence when expanding or restructuring a business. People remain the same, but existing ties are broken. There can also be a decrease in the efficiency of the company when there are several departments in the company, and their bosses do not contact each other. Here the organization of team building only between managers will help;

When team building will not produce the desired results:

  • Work does not imply teamwork. Participants are engaged in different projects and are not professionally connected to each other.
  • Serious fatigue in a collective. In this case, resting alone with yourself will be much better.
  • Low efficiency. It is not always due to problems in the team. Sometimes the cause lies in poor working conditions or poor management.
  • Staff turnover. Frequent staff turnover indicates organizational problems rather than a lack of understanding and cohesion within the team;

Types of team building

All team building activities can be categorized into 5 main types:

  • Intellectual. Suitable for those who like entertainment related to erudition. Working options: quizzes, board games, educational trainings. Teams compete against each other or play all together against one host.
  • Sporty. Suitable for a darts competition, a trip to the mountains, and participation in a regatta.       
  • Creative. Calm team building activities, such as a soap making or painting workshop, will suit more creative teams.
  • Extreme. Rock climbing, kayak rafting and group races can be a great option for thrill seekers. 
  • Social. It will help not only to strengthen relationships between employees, but also to make the world a better place. In this kind of team building, you can plant trees around the office building with your colleagues or organize a day of collecting recyclables, go to a shelter for a walk with dogs or hold a clean-up day on the territory.
  • Psychological. Helps employees cope with internal problems and resolve conflicts in the team. For example, group sessions with a coach or psychologist. 

How to organize team building

Organizing team building is not an easy creative task. Managers often delegate duties to event agencies, but independently you can also cope, if the team is small. So, the organization of team building by creation roughly looks like this:

Step 1: Define the goal. The type of meeting depends on whether management wants to rally workers or find new solutions to optimize workflow.

Step 2: Decide on resources. All costs of the event are borne by the firm. If the budget is limited, the alternative is to hold the event in the walls of the office with minimal costs. With a normal budget is suitable away teambuilding for companies. Employees are unlikely to appreciate a vacation outside working hours at their own expense.

Step 3: Find out the preferences of employees. It is unlikely that the male staff will appreciate a floral master class. Have participants suggest ideas and tell you what they like. Online surveys or a vote at a planning meeting can be a good way to identify preferences.

Step 4: Choose a date and format. It’s important to hold corporate games on weekdays so as not to take away from employees’ free time.

Step 5: Develop the scenario. It is necessary to think over the program of the event and take into account the preferences and wishes of the team. It is important not to forget that the corporate gathering is aimed at solving a specific problem, so make sure that the selected games will help to cope with it. Spell out the timings, task mechanics and necessary props. 

Step 6: Host the event. Prepare the site and check that everything is ready to start. If the company is organizing an offsite event, take care of food and drinking water, and make sure participants are dressed for the weather.

Step 7. Feedback. After the event it is necessary to conduct a survey of participants to identify the weak points of the corporate event and the strong ones. Feedback is needed to improve similar events in the future.

Common mistakes

In order for team building activities for employees to be as effective as possible, it’s important to consider frequent management mistakes:

  • The purpose of the event is not defined. If you do not set specific objectives, the result will be vague. The most common requests are: cohesion, working through psychological problems, increasing trust, searching for talents, relieving tension. It is important to set one goal. Employees are unlikely to make friends and discover their talents in one evening;
  • Invalid format. If it is planned to raise the team spirit, sports competitions will be more effective than the arrival of a speaker with training. This option is suitable for personal development of the team. It is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of employees: age, level of physical fitness, preferences.
  • Poorly worked out details. For the event it is important to order transport, if it is planned to go out of town, to organize meals and a rest area. Missing details not only distances from the goal, but also spoil the mood of the participants.
  • Overexertion. Overexertion is bad for overall well-being. If employees feel tired and drained after activities, it is very likely that they will refuse to participate next time. 
  • Exceeded expectations. You can’t have a team event and expect all problems to disappear in one day.
  • The absence of managers at the event. Employees feel the distance between the team and management, so if managers refuse to participate in team building, it will be much more difficult to build a team. In team building, it is important that the process is fun for all participants, and not perceived as mandatory work.

Ideas for team building

Creativity is the key to a successful team building event. The LeaderTask blog has an article in which we have collected 20 games for such an occasion. Here we will consider just a few variants of how you can organize the event. 

  • Quest. The variability of the format is limitless, so it is suitable for teams of any level of training and size. Small groups will suit quest-rooms, which offer to make an escape in a certain time or solve the mystery of a mysterious place.
  • A trip to nature. The classic format of a summer corporate party can easily be turned into a day full of adventure. Nature is perfect for orienteering in the woods, game competitions and relay races. 
  • Culinary competition. For the event you need to rent an institution with a kitchen area or a modern site with the possibility of cooking. Participants compete in creating the most beautiful and tasty dish, for example, from the theme of Russian cuisine. 
  • Improvisation. The team’s task is to create a theatrical production without using a script. Participants are given the characters, the genre of the skit and a time limit. Employees learn to listen and interact with each other;

How to engage employees

The first event is unlikely to turn out perfect without the involvement of event managers, but even with the shortcomings, the team should take the idea positively. What to consider:

  • Mandatory fun. No boring lectures with complicated wording and tedious speech. Participants should have fun, positive emotions and vivid memories.
  • Food.  It’s a mood booster. That says it all. For nature is suitable field kitchen, for the office – light snacks. Food from home at such events is taboo;
  • New place. Of course, if there is not enough budget, it is acceptable to hold a holiday within the walls of the office, but it is better to change the environment.
  • Mix the employees. The effectiveness of the event will be many times higher if you mix employees from different departments with each other. For example, marketing will dilute accounting, and lawyers will join designers.
  • Event Announcement. Announce the planned team building event in advance. You can also prepare several messages with detailed descriptions to interest as many employees as possible. 

To summarize

Such events still have disadvantages – they require an additional budget, the result is not immediately visible, such events must be held on a working day, which means that there will be no professional activity at that time. But every such event is an important step in building a team. The main thing is to be on the same wavelength with the team and listen to their wishes, and not force adults to do what they do not like;

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