People often enter team-building activities with feelings of trepidation, suspicion, and nervous intrigue. If you’ve ever sat in a circle of chairs while sporting an illegible name badge and peered across at a colleague with a droll smile, then you might sympathize with these negative perceptions. These fears tend to evaporate as the day unfolds, but not all corporate days have to encompass the awkwardness that we traditionally associate with conferences and team building exercises.
Corporate days involving adventure courses, canoeing, driving, etc., can inject fun while retaining the core advantages of team building. Although you may still have to endure your fair dose of self-mockery, especially if you’re the boss! Taking a day out of the working week and investing in an activity day can seem expensive, but once you’ve experienced the benefits it can prove to be a valuable and worthwhile day.
Develop Transferable Skills
From the outset it is understandable to have a one dimensional view of the day, which might lead you to question how climbing a wall or racing a go-kart can develop skills that are useful in business. Removing people from their work environment and placing them into an entirely different set up can force them to re-assess how they operate in the workplace. This can improve attributes pertaining to problem solving, creativity and organization. Becoming stale and “stuck in your ways” should be a fear of any business owner. An open-minded and dynamic business can react quickly to market changes, obviously staff need to adopt this mind-set for the business to operate accordingly.
Build Relationships & Rapport
Cliques will always develop in the workplace, but they shouldn’t be overly discouraged because they are a natural social occurrence and help to foster relationships. However, they can also conversely result in a lack of communication and an unwarranted mistrust between staff. In other cases, simply the size of a workforce coupled with time constraints and hierarchal structure can lead to a lack of communication.
Providing a platform for engagement can break down these barriers and bring you closer to your staff; as President Eisenhower said, “It is better to have one person working with you than three people working for you.” The outcome is a more unified workforce, but it can also encourage staff to share their problems and pose solutions that improve productivity.
A team that’s low on morale will subsequently be an unmotivated group. This can severely effect productivity, profits and staff retention. The latter point is often an overlooked benefit of a corporate day out, but keeping hold of valued staff should be of paramount concern to any manager/business owner. Creating a positive atmosphere at work can be tricky. If you have noticed that things are waning in this regard, then an activity day can provide an instant and timely boost.
Identify Strengths & Weaknesses
Your business is likely to have a set of shared goals, aside from profit making. However, within the company there will be an even larger number of goals spread across different individuals or departments. Creating a shared common goal allows you to judge everyone equally on merit alone; it removes the importance of a job role from your judgement of an individual.
If you have an expanding business and are looking to promote within, then the day can be an excellent opportunity to confirm your thoughts on new additions to the team. If staff currently operate on a lower level of the business, it will give them the platform to showcase their skills. Contrastingly it can re-affirm the limitations of other individuals, this might lead to you deploying a slight change in roles or responsibilities once you return to work.
Reinforcing Your Company’s Ethos
A good team-building company will listen to your requests and design the day accordingly. This can allow you to convey the culture of your business to your staff. You may repeat the need for honesty or good communication on a daily basis, to the extent that it almost becomes a mantra, however how many of the workforce really absorb this message? Learning and developing, particularly for certain individuals, is far easier when a tangible experience is offered alongside the message.
You should decide which of these benefits would offer the most value to your business, and this will allow you to effectively plan the day. For example, if you have a successful team where a lack of communication is not an issue, then you might want to simply encourage the practices already in place and reward your staff, therefore boosting morale. If you focus on a lack of communication, but there is no such problem, then you are in danger of alienating the staff and demotivating them.
However, if there are genuine concerns that need to be considered, then it would be a huge shame to miss an opportunity to address these problems in a positive and fun environment.
Author: This article was written by Chris Jones of E.J. Churchill. Chris is particularly active in the marketing department of his business, and he has a rock steady hand when it comes to clay pigeon shooting.
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