As the owner of a company or the manager of a department, it is your job to make sure employees work together as a team. When you have multiple people with different personalities and different backgrounds, this is not always as easy as it sounds. And if you think of team building and think of dreaded icebreaker games or weekend-long company retreats, you’re not alone.
As a business leader, if you are in search of team building ideas because you feel that your employees or colleagues are not working together efficiently or effectively, don’t be afraid: in order to avoid the cliches mentioned above, we have rounded up four different tips and resources to try instead. Below you will find everything from how to improve basic team skills like communication with simple meetings and office outings, to unique ideas like playlists and merchandise.
- Encourage and facilitate better communication
Good communication is the foundation for a fully functioning team. If this is a weakness in your company, first looks for ways to make communication easier. Do you have remote employees or team members that work in different parts of the building? Try a program like Slack or Skype so people can quickly instant message each other instead of emailing, which can clog inboxes and take longer for someone to see and respond.
If your team is busy and communication breaks down because everyone is working on different tasks at once, try implementing a weekly standup meeting – give each team member a few minutes to take the floor in order to give updates on their projects, get pertinent questions answered, and give or receive feedback. By having a consistent forum in place, employees will not be confused about when and where they should be communicating these objectives.
- Connect outside of the office
It doesn’t need to be extravagant, but doing an activity together outside of the office can be very helpful in bringing people together. Whether it’s playing a casual sport like bowling, eating a meal out, or doing a structured team building activity like The Escape Game, where employees must overtly work together to solve clues, there are options for every budget. If you aren’t sure what activities would resonate with your colleagues, try doing an informal survey or sending out a poll to let people vote.
Taking an afternoon off to do something fun will pay off in the end, as it lets employees see each other in a new light. If you have the resources, implement a policy that allows for an out-of-office team bonding activity every month or quarter.
- Elevate your work space
It is well documented that employee happiness is an important part of productivity and success. Even if your company cannot offer lavious perks like free dry cleaning or fully catered meals, small updates and perks can go a long way into lifting the mood of your team. Creating a space that fosters positivity and happiness will go a long way – when you encourage a meaningful relationship between an employee and their office, relationships between employees and their co-workers will naturally bolster as well.
Before you spend any time, energy, or money in your workspace, do some research on what would make a difference to your employees. To start, even something as simple as playing enjoyable music can help. In order to acknowledge everyone’s different tastes in music, have each employee make a Spotify playlist of their favorite songs and rotate which one is being played throughout the day, or combined them in one big playlist and hit shuffle.
- Show your true colors
Nothing says “team bonding” like matching merch – but it doesn’t have to be cheesy. If you feel that your team needs some rejuvenation in spirit, there are options available for customized goods that you can brand and distribute to employees. Consider items that are functional so they can be incorporated and used in your team’s everyday life. For a wide array of items, check out sites like 4Imprint, where you can find anything from water bottles to tote bags. You can also consider fun and unexpected gear, like socks. For example, a company called Sock Club makes custom socks that are perfect for an office environment – brands like Google, American Airlines, and NBC have all used Sock Club as they are known for their quality. If your team is large, custom gear can be especially effective as employees might spot other team members out and about that, they don’t know personally, identifiable by their logoed items.
Promotional merchandise is also something that you can give to new team members to help welcome them to the company. Something as simple as a gift basket with branded gear, necessary office supplies, and a directory of phone numbers and emails will go a long way in connecting new hires to the rest of the team.
Overall, there are many possible avenues to take when looking to bring your team closer together. Even if your employees work fantastically together already, as a leader you might want to see how you can implement tips like this to make your team even better.
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