13 FAQs on the Importance of Team Building Activities
The importance of team building activities can’t be disputed! In today’s fast-paced and increasingly online world, businesses are relearning the importance of fostering a cohesive and strong team. Team building activities are still a great way to remind everyone of their capacity to collaborate and have fun at work.
The thing about team building is that it doesn’t happen on accident or as a result of day-to-day operations in the office. Team building exercises have to be done purposefully, or else workers will continue to behave the same way they always have.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into frequently asked questions surrounding the purpose and benefits of team building. We’ll explore how it enhances communication, sparks creativity, boosts morale, and contributes to employee retention. So, let’s dive in and uncover the valuable benefits of team building activities for your organization:
- What qualifies as a team building activity?
- How do I ensure I get the right outcome from team building?
- Which team building activities will be right for my team?
- How do team-building events contribute to improved collaboration and communication?
- Can team building activities help in breaking down silos and promoting cross-functional collaboration?
- What role does team building play in fostering creativity and innovation within teams?
- How does team building contribute to the development of strong leadership skills?
- Can team building help boost employee morale and motivation?
- What role does team building play in enhancing employee retention and reducing turnover?
- Can team building activities help in fostering a sense of purpose and alignment with organizational values?
- Can team building activities be tailored to address specific challenges or goals within an organization?
- Can remote teams benefit from team building?
- What about outdoor team building activities?
1. What qualifies as a team building activity?
Which of these activities would you consider to be team building?
- Bowling, karaoke, and beer with your coworkers
- An organized event where you and your coworkers build bicycles for charity
- A seminar where you and your coworkers are taught the importance of organization
As you might have expected, they’re all team-building activities.
Does that mean any fun activity with your coworkers can be considered a team building activity?
Actually, yes! If your team gathering has a positive impact, then you’ve pulled off a successful team building activity.
The real question is whether or not that team building activity gave you the desired outcome.
2. How do I ensure I get the right outcome from team building?
“Team building activity” can take on many forms, but that doesn’t mean they’re all beneficial. There are many kinds of activities that all serve a unique purpose. Similar to how a doctor prescribes medication, we advise selecting only the correct team building activity for your group.
For example, giving your team a fun outing at the local barcade can boost their spirits, but will it teach them how to be better leaders?
And what if your team members frequently argue and have issues with cooperation at work? In this case, a “fun” outing will come off as a chore and make things even worse.
The key to successful team building is understanding what your team needs to improve on.
3. Which team building activities will be right for my team?
Most cases fall into two categories:
- Team building activities to amplify good behavior
- Team building activities that correct problems and address areas of improvement
The first category includes activities that are geared toward fun, raising spirits, and collaboration. They often take the form of friendly competitions, and are great for teams that:
- Already get along well and deserve to be celebrated with a fun event
- Haven’t had much contact, perhaps due to remote and hybrid work environments, and could benefit from collaborating in person
- Function well on their own but haven’t had many chances for cross-collaboration
The second category, on the other hand, will take a more direct approach on making an impact with your team. While these events are still designed to be fun and engaging, they’ll usually take the form of seminar, classroom, or workshop style activities. They’ll also focus on specific aspects of leadership or teamwork. Just a few examples of topics include:
- Time management and organization
- Discovering strengths and potential within a group
- Dealing with difficult situations or people in the workplace
If you’re not entirely sure which type of event will be best for your team, a good team building company will be able to assess that and make a recommendation for you.
4. How do team-building events contribute to improved collaboration and communication?
On an average day at work, your employees typically only speak to a small number of their colleagues. The day to day operations likely don’t require them to get outside of their comfort zones very often. In turn, they don’t have many opportunities to practice their communication skills.
A proper team building activity, on the other hand, gets them out of that rut in a few ways:
- It pairs together employees who normally wouldn’t work together, which helps them better understand different backgrounds
- It gives them a common goal. A typical day at work forces them to hone in on their own goals, making it easy to forget about the big picture. A team building activity will get them all working toward a single, unambiguous objective.
- It helps with conflict resolution. Putting people together who wouldn’t normally work on the same goal will help foster brand new ideas and modes of thinking. After the event ends, this experience will stick with them.
5. Can team building activities help in breaking down silos and promoting cross-functional collaboration?
During the pandemic, many teams were relegated to working remotely. For a lot of companies, this introduced to them a challenge they never had encountered before: silos.
It’s what happens when teams or individuals insulate themselves from the group or company at large. Silos are an issue even in teams that work completely in-office, but the term really started to become widespread during the pandemic.
After the pandemic, companies began turning to team building activities in order to help restore employee engagement. It’s not uncommon that some of our events mark the first time in years that a group of employees has seen each other in person—or ever.
Silo behaviors that team building activities can fix:
- Isolated working: Siloed employees can fall into the trap of thinking they need to solve all of their problems on their own. The truth is that team members outside of our immediate circle often hold the skills or perspectives we need to solve problems. When we get others together to help, it renews our sense of shared purpose and reminds us that we aren’t working alone.
- Lack of open communication: When so much of our communication relies on digital tools, it’s easy to create barriers. It’s easy to be confused about communication etiquette (should I email, call, or text?). It’s even easier to shut off the webcam and mute the microphone in the middle of a meeting. Getting the team together to work on problems helps remind everyone that effective communication isn’t just more productive, but far more enjoyable.
- Develop stereotypes about other roles/departments: Often, we form misconceptions about certain roles or departments outside of our own. Why? Usually because we simply don’t know what they do! Team building exposes us to members outside of our department and shows us there’s nothing to be afraid of in reaching out to them.
6. What role does team building play in fostering creativity and innovation within teams?
A good team building activity is specifically designed to push participants further and further outside the box of standard thinking. For example, the challenges might include trick questions, multiple solutions, or “mistakes” in the activity material that goad the participants into using creative thinking.
In order to get participants into the mood for coming up with creative solutions, they might need some warm up activities. Asking them to come up with team names or using art supplies to create something can get them into a playful mood. Sometimes people need “permission” to start using this side of their brain in the workplace, so a fun activity that uses creativity can get them primed for coming up with innovative ideas.
7. How does team building contribute to the development of strong leadership skills?
Team building activities can implicitly or explicitly contribute to new skills that create a great leader.
On one hand, participants of a game-based team building activity will find opportunities to learn the skills that contribute to strong leadership. By putting themselves out there and taking action to collaborate with their team, they can reap the benefits of improving their communication skills, building strong relationships, and cultivating trust.
On the other hand, you might be looking for ways to more directly improve a team’s leadership skills. In this case, you would want something much more focused. The type of team building activity you need is more like a course or a seminar. They’ll go over things like presentation skills, time management, public speaking, and how to avoid common mistakes in professional settings.
So while both kinds of events can help create team leaders, you’ll want to consider if what you really need is a more direct approach to learning and development.
8. Can team building help boost employee morale and motivation?
It can! By demonstrating a closer working relationship through team building activities, employees can carry these attitudes back to the office in the form of boosted morale. Here’s how team building helps get them there:
- Healthy competition: Rewards and competition can be good incentives for motivating employees, but they can have the opposite effect if they believe the awards are insincere or unfairly given. Instead, some healthy competition in the form of a team building game will let them use their skills and ingenuity to earn their reward. This can teach them that, back in the office, healthy competition can help push each other to new heights.
- Trust building: Normally, your employees would be working with work on the line: deadlines, expectations of high quality, and other high standards. Unfortunately, this can get employees feeling like they can only rely on themselves because too much is at stake. Get them working together in a fun, laid-back environment, however, and they’ll realize the work is much easier when they work together.
- Showcase of skills: It’s not often that your employees have the chance to showcase their skills with outside-of-the-box thinking. It’s easy for them to feel that their daily role pigeonholes them into using one skillset. However, a fun and creative team building activity can help demonstrate that the skills outside of their job description can be useful in the workplace.
9. What role does team building play in enhancing employee retention and reducing turnover?
According to a recent study from 2023, 94% of employees will not quit if they’re offered training and development. On the other hand, 40% of new hires will leave within a year if not offered any.
In other words, comprehensive training and development is necessary for employee retention. Team building activities can be part of that curriculum as a fun alternative to watching training videos in front of a computer screen.
And, as mentioned earlier, team building activities don’t have to simply be games. There are many that can be used as a vehicle for professional development in various areas of leadership, from public speaking to time management. In fact, participants of leadership training increased their performance by 20%, as well as their learning capacity by 25%.
That being said, there should still be a good balance between fun and education in the training. It was also found that 41% of employees think boring training programs can hinder learning. Fortunately, enlisting the help of a good team building company will help ensure you’re giving your employees the kind of training they need.
10. Can team building activities help in fostering a sense of purpose and alignment with organizational values?
Team building can be a very powerful tool in helping support your company’s values. Every company would do good to have a set of established core values, but they can sometimes come off as abstract or intangible. When you implement them in an actionable team building activity, however, those values can be better understood by “doing.”
When employees are shown how to take actions that maintain company culture, they often show a huge increase in team spirit. They become more engaged, open to communication, and have a renewed sense of loyalty for the company.
Furthermore, a good team building company can customize their programs to align with your organization’s values.
11. Can team building activities be tailored to address specific challenges or goals within an organization?
Absolutely! First, it’s worth noting that a good team building activity will address many of the challenges that all organizations face. If you’re looking to get a very large number of participants on the same page, the most effective action could be a team building game that’s designed for large groups. Your team will still take in many of the same lessons and catch the contagious spirit of teamwork that will follow them into the workplace.
However, if you’re looking to drive a certain team toward a specific result, a more focused session could be what you’re looking for. As mentioned a couple of times already, this is when seminar style team building activities will be a benefit:
- Creating team culture
- Unlocking your team’s potential and unique strengths
- Dealing with difficult people
- Designing presentations
- Becoming organized
As mentioned in the previous question, programs can also be tweaked to align with your specific goals and values.
12. Can remote teams benefit from team building?
While it’s uncertain if future working environments will hold more or less remote positions, the reality, according to a Stanford University survey, is that over a quarter of paid full-time workdays in the US are remote.
As long as there are still teams working virtually (either completely or in a hybrid model), there will still be plenty to benefit from virtual team building sessions. That’s because the virtual landscape still poses a lot of challenges, so learning to overcome them as a team with the help of professional team builders can make all the difference.
Fortunately, a virtual team building activity for remote teams can be just as engaging as in-person. For example, with a bit of creativity and effort, the popular escape room game can be reformatted into a video call, complete with team building lessons.
13. What about outdoor team building activities?
They’re doable! But they come with some caveats.
For many of our clients that come from colder regions, an outdoor team building event in a warm climate sounds amazing. The unfortunate reality is that the outdoors often leads to a lot of distractions and discomfort. And since the purpose of team building activities is to build strong relationships rather than just have fun, going outdoors can be more risk than reward.
That all being said, we do have some tips and tricks for outdoor team building activities:
- Make sure that the event is actually better outside than indoors. For example, a scavenger hunt is a great team building exercise that can be fun in a new locale.
- If being outside isn’t required for the event, don’t spend more than ten to fifteen minutes outdoors. Even if the weather is perfect, it doesn’t change that some people can’t tolerate the outdoors and physical activity as long as others. Once discomfort sets in, focus will diminish, and you’ll begin to lose people’s attention.
- Keep it somewhere secluded. You will want to avoid anywhere with foot traffic or outsiders to your company’s team building experience.
Any more questions?
As we wrap up our exploration of the importance of team building activities, it’s clear that they are much more than just fun and games. They are powerful tools that can transform teams and organizations. By bringing people together and fostering strong relationships, team building activities improve communication and ignite creativity. They also have a magical way of boosting morale, creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued and motivated. Additionally, team building activities contribute to employee retention, as they help build a sense of belonging and loyalty. So, whether it’s a teddy bear stuffing competition or a seminar on how to manage your time better, don’t underestimate the impact of team building activities. Embrace them, have fun, and watch your team thrive.