Team Building: Does Your Company Need It?
Team Building Events: We've all heard of them, but not everyone has experienced one (yet... hint hint). Team building events are designed to help your staff work better as a team, have fun together, boost morale, and create a much-needed break from the sometimes monotonous workday. What are the signs that your company is in need of a team building event? How do you address it? What type of event should you host? Although I'm not a certified expert on team building, I would still like to share my opinions and experiences on the subject.
I was hired last year by a business to do a six-week team building course, where I would teach some practical magic to the staff. The primary reason for this was to prevent staff burnout, which I'm sure can happen in just about any work setting. Management wanted these classes to begin right after the workday ended, so that staff could either choose to enjoy the class and friendly camaraderie, or head home for the evening. I realized that although not everyone stayed for class every week (about 50% went home), those who stayed and learned magic had a great time, shared a lot of laughs, and left with a fun new skill they could show their families. If I could solely work team building events like this every day, I definitely would. To see the excitement of these people when they learn the secret of a trick is magic enough.
Anyway, after my contract ended with this amazing company (sad face), I realized that sometimes companies are not in desperate need of team building events. Companies like the one I mentioned hired me for their team building events to prevent the desperate need for one. They provide classes of all kinds for their staff so that every Wednesday after work, the staff has the option of a fun evening (paid for by the boss). I think this is a brilliant idea! They've done everything from magic classes, to baking classes, to beer-tasting classes! I could tell that the staff here got along together so well, and that they truly enjoyed working for this company. I think more companies should take preventative measures like this to ensure employee quality of life. The cost of a weekly team building event like the one I mentioned above are so minimal compared to the costs of employee turnover, hunting for new candidates, and retraining them.
I'd like to refer back to the questions I mentioned in the opening paragraph. What are the signs that a company needs a team building event? This article about team building makes a lot of really great points on the subject, and I agree with them completely. If turnover is high, numbers are down, teamwork is down, and trust between coworkers is nonexistent, you've reached that "emergency team building event" point. Either have one or the downward spiral will only continue.
How exactly do you address this with your staff? You can't very well walk in and say, "Hey guys, productivity is down, and if you don't work better as a team, we're all going down the tubes". Perhaps approaching a team building event as a preventative measure, and as a fun retreat is more appropriate. It could also be seen simply as a fun treat from the boss!
What type of event should you host? Goodness, there's a broad question. There are hundreds of ideas out there, but I have not experienced them all. My favorite model is the business I mentioned above. They ALWAYS have something extracurricular going on every week, or every other week, for their staff. They experience almost no turnover and the staff morale is extremely high. Some ideas I could throw out there are:
1. Magic classes for beginners.
With my course, I dedicate time to make sure each student gets the attention they want or need. Some prefer to sit back and watch, while others prefer to be hands-on, right up front. At the beginning of each class, I invite a volunteer to perform last week's trick for everyone, and we chat for a bit about who they practiced it on. I invite them to make the trick their own, incorporating their own personality into the verbiage.
2. Weekend retreat
I've heard of people trying Survivor-type team building to rally bring out the best in everyone. Face it: some people are better at some tasks than others. Where some team members lack a certain skill, others can excel. People may also discover a hidden talent or passion with this type of event.
3. Cooking classes
I think this is a really fun one! Especially if people from different areas of the office are teamed up. It could be a little cooking competition and the bosses are the judges!
4. Something as simple as an employee bake sale for a charitable cause can act as a mini-team building event. It can get people talking who normally wouldn't, and I find that bake sales are just a natural topic of conversation. If the company is not interested in donating money, a simple cookie swap is a fun idea, especially around the holidays!
5. Escape Rooms
These have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, and it's easy to see why. They're so fun, and they truly force you to work as a team! I recently did one with a group of friends that was Bonnie and Clyde Saloon themed. One of the items that was a clue was a bunch of hands of Texas Hold-Em. I'm not much of a card player, so I had to call on the help of a friend who is. I'm pretty good as deciphering riddles and codes, so that was my strong suit. Everyone plays a part in the escape and everyone always leaves with a smile.
Check out this website for additional resources on team building events!
If your business is in the Plano or Dallas area and you're interested in hiring a magician to help prevent employee burnout, contact me today to chat about the options I have available! I know that a six-week course can be a large commitment for some, so I have single-day options available as an alternative.
Until Next Time,