Pick a team sport, any team sport. To win a championship (i.e., Go, Cubs, Go!), everyone needs to understand the goal and work together to achieve it. The more unified the team, the better the chance of winning a title.
The small-business game is similar. The difference between a ho-hum workforce and one that clicks on all cylinders often comes down to communication and cooperation – two critical factors for any top-notch team.
But how do you build a championship-level company, especially when your staff comes from varying backgrounds? Here are a few winning team building strategies to unite your employees in long-lasting, business-boosting ways:
Commit to Giving.
Charity work is an excellent way to engage your workforce while also giving back to the community. You might be surprised how connected and energized your employees become for certain causes.
To get the most from volunteering, fundraising and other types of charity outreach, touch base with your staff to find out what nonprofit organizations interest them most, and then choose the one that best matches your company’s overall image. Also, you’ll want to do your homework and only choose charitable organizations with a solid reputation and strong service record. You know, winners — just like your company. Need some inspiration? Check out this extensive list of charitable team-building ideas.
Casual, noncompetitive activities not only improve overall health, they also build rapport among staff. Beyond exploring outside activities such as hiking, biking and kayaking, consider organizing a regular lunchtime walking program. It’s an ideal way to help employees blow off some steam and enjoy each other’s company.
One caveat: Be careful not to exclude anyone due to physical restrictions. If you’re concerned that a staff member may have an issue with a potentially strenuous activity, throw some low-impact outings in the mix, perhaps a nature walk or attending a sporting event (rather than participating in it).
Appeal to Appetite.
Breaking bread together helps facilitate easy conversation and rewarding connections. Consider organizing a cooking class outing, or get the ball rolling by providing a shared meal once a month – perhaps bagels in the morning or pizza at lunchtime, or coordinating dinner out at a popular or new restaurant. If your staff is small enough, you could allow a different employee to suggest the place each month. When the team is gathered, don’t let employees grab and dash. Encourage them to stay by asking questions that stimulate group conversation or have them participate in fun team-building exercises.
Educational trips, special events, seminars and exhibits can sharpen the senses and build new skills – all while bringing your team together for a few hours. To get the most from outside learning, connect it to your line of work, including your products, services, customers and industry. For example, a restaurant staff could visit a local winery, a clothing retailer could attend a fashion exhibit at a local museum and a sales team could attend a nearby lecture on the latest selling techniques.
The most important element to team building in the workplace is implementing ideas that resonate with and engage your employees. Spend time with your staff to identify bonding activities that will deliver championship results.