Does Team Building Really Work

November 18, 2022

As we know, team building is a popular way to boost employee morale and productivity. Companies offer various activities that can be sponsored by the organization or paid for by employees’ budgets. These are usually organized in the form of trips to see a specific site or activity, educational seminars, games, etc.

Many times, however, these events seem more about giving people free stuff than creating strong bonds. The best team building exercises promote teamwork, trust, and respect, but this doesn’t always happen when participants have their own agenda.

It’s also important to remember that not every body is going through the same experiences. Some may feel left out or even excluded. This can cause tensions and conflicts within the group which will only weaken collaboration and effectiveness.

Team bonding is definitely a worthy goal, but it isn’t the only one. There are some ways to improve organizational performance that don’t necessarily focus on relationships at all.

Here are some tips for team building

does team building really work

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about how important it is to build teamwork in employees. Companies would spend money on team-building events that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a week to attend.

Many people got so focused on attending these events that they would organize their own trips or activities as part of their work to promote cohesion.

But is spending lots of money on group experiences really worth it?

A review of the research suggests that while it can be helpful, it’s not always effective. It depends on the type of team you want to form and what you expect from the teams you already have.

If your goal is just to make everyone like each other more, then investing in team building may not do much. You will probably find that people come back with new friendships but without necessarily working together well at work.

Take breaks

does team building really work

A growing body of research suggests that team building exercises are not necessarily effective, if you don’t break down barriers and systems for collaboration and communication.

Team-building events can be expensive, which may dissuade employers from investing in them. Many participants spend the event waiting for others to contribute so that they can feel like they “succeeded,” but their colleagues never do.

In fact, one study determined that more than half of all teams spent less time working together after a team-building exercise.

So what is actually effective? Breaking up work groups and having conversations about things that matter to people.

Having lunch or drinks with coworkers outside of work can help foster teamwork and relationships. (And let’s face it, most office parties just revolve around alcohol.)

Postponing meetings until later can keep workers feeling rushed and stressed out. It may even hurt productivity.

That’s why I recommend giving away something cost free instead. This could be leaving the house at midnight for a movie, asking someone about her daily routine, or telling someone about your job search.

Finding ways to connect beyond work is important for employee happiness and engagement.

Have fun

One of the biggest reasons why team building exercises fail is because people get busy having their own personal lives while working together. You would think that spending time with your colleagues would motivate you to work harder, but it doesn’t. It can even have the opposite effect.

When you spend time with your colleagues outside of work, it can create a feeling of “us against them” which then makes it more difficult to put in the effort necessary to achieve common goals.

As we know, teamwork is one of the most important skills you will need as an employee or leader, so investing time in it is worth your money. Fun team activities are a great way to do this.

You don’t necessarily have to go on expensive trips or host big events, nor do you have to ask everyone for a huge donation – anything that gets people talking and interacting will do the trick!

Fun team games

Many companies hold open days where employees can come and visit the workplace without being asked. During these visits, they may be given some kind of activity to participate in, such as taking a tour of the premises or going out for lunch.

If possible, there should be someone around who can organize the event, but if not then no worries! There are many ways to run small group activities at the workplace.

Focus on the positive

does team building really work

A lot of people seem to think that team building is about doing things like having pizza with your colleagues, going for drinks or attending a sports event. These are all good ideas, but they focus more on what you do than who you meet and talk to.

Team building should be focused on creating relationships – not just between individuals, but also within teams. This happens when staff work together well and understand each other’s roles. It also means working outside of their normal responsibilities to help others.

If you're looking to boost teamwork in your workplace, start by asking yourself how individual departments operate and find ways to bring them together.

For example, if one department has a separate area where employees can have lunch, ask whether there's something similar available at the moment? If not, maybe offer free snacks every day as an incentive to set up an employee lounge.

Alternatively, why not hold a brainstorming session to see what ideas you can come up with? Or organize a group activity — perhaps go swimming or hiking somewhere close by.

These types of activities will only benefit those involved, so make sure everyone knows about it and gives permission. Afterwards, keep talking and meeting new people to strengthen connections.

Create an environment that encourages teamwork

does team building really work

One of the biggest reasons why team building exercises fail is because they are either not done correctly or they are done wrong. People may join in for a few days, but eventually they will want to return to their normal lives.

A great way to prevent this is by having some sort of activity every day. This can be anything from going out for lunch as a group, meeting at a local restaurant for dinner, or hosting your own party.

Your colleagues should feel comfortable joining you for any of these so they don’t have to worry about outside obligations.

You also need to make sure that everyone is included — not just the people who belong to the organization officially. You would probably know some people who work here very well and could ask them if they would like to come along, but others might not.

By including all of the individuals in the workplace, it creates a more open environment where people feel free to talk to one another.

Talk to your coworkers

does team building really work

As mentioned before, one of the most important things that can be done for team building is talking to your colleagues. Since teamwork is an integral part of business, it makes sense to foster relationships among your teammates by forming groups with them or having informal conversations outside of work.

This not only helps you connect more deeply at a personal level, but also creates a supportive environment in which people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

When was the last time you heard something positive about a coworker? An open conversation with someone may reveal hidden weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities to help each other achieve goals.

Practice self-care

does team building really work

As mentioned earlier, team building is not a one and done activity. You have to keep doing it to get results. This can be difficult as our society encourages teams to constantly be in action.

Most companies offer their employees various events or activities that they attend together as a group. These are usually characterized as “teambuilding exercises” such as fun games, work discussions, etc.

But this sort of event can sometimes feel like an excuse for the company to spend money. Or if you aren’t interested in attending these sorts of events, you may feel excluded and underutilized.

It also doesn’t help that most people don’t know what to expect! Many times, these types of events seem more about making big profits for the organizers than helping your colleagues grow.

So whether you're actively involved in teambuilding or not, you need to do at least some simple things to promote team bonding. Here are six easy ways to do just that.

Create an action plan

does team building really work

As mentioned earlier, team building is not a one-and-done event. It does not occur once and then everyone goes home. You will have to repeat the process over and over again until it becomes second nature.

Team building should be planned out and executed consistently every few months or even yearly. This way, you will see results in your organization and people working together and communicating more effectively.

The key is creating a program that works for your team and your budget.

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