We often hear from small businesses that they don't do team building, they don't have a budget for team building or they don't need team building. While we can't argue with the first two, we'd certainly challenge anyone on the third point.
No matter how small your business, your team will benefit from team building activities. The trick is selecting the right activity at the right time for your team.
Check out this small retailer participating in a team building event.
We all need a little laughter in our day sometimes, right? Here's one of our favorite clips on Team Building.
Too often, H.R. and departmental leaders shy away from using the word "fun" when seeking an effective team building program. The stigma is that when spending company money, you need to prove the R.O.I. and "fun" hasn't been considered a legitimate "ROI." Until recently.
Study after study is discovering that fun in the workplace leads to exactly the outcomes that companies seek in team building activities. Outcomes like improved performance, better problem solving, fewer customer service problems, lower absenteeism and employee turnover and improved job satisfaction ratings.
You don't have to take our word for it. Here's a roundup of recent articles, videos, blog posts and research on the Importance of Fun in the Workplace.
"When planning activities for your retreat, try to avoid traditional icebreakers and team-building activities, which can sometimes feel forced, don’t always work and can even do more harm than good.
"Despite its reputation for being, well, lame, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people.It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz.
NY Times Best Selling Author Gary Keller
"Studies over the last two decades have revealed when workplaces make fun a factor it creates happier employees that feel more satisfied. And happy employees are all around better at their jobs. Workplace fun has been linked to:
Chief People Officer at Best Places to Work Company
Christy Johnston is the Chief People Office at Medical Solutions,one of the fastest healthcare growing companies. They've been included in Inc 500 and Inc 5000 lists of Best Places to Work for multiple years. Ms. Johnston says, "We've found that there's a direct connection between having fun and high performance high functioning teams."
Keller Williams Realty
Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count, with more than more than 150,000 associates and over 800 market centers across the globe are affiliated with Keller Williams.
For four consecutive years, Keller Williams Realty has been named a top training organization by Training Magazine. In 2016, Training Magazine once again named Keller Williams the #1 training organization across all industries worldwide.
That's why we listen when Keller William speaks.
"Studies show that having fun in the workplace has multiple benefits. It increases productivity, builds camaraderie and enhances employee loyalty. It also reminds people of their value to their managers, their organization, and to each other.
"Two benefits your workplace likely will experience if you incorporate a bit more fun.
Bright HR Research Report on Fun at Work
"This study indicates that more millennials expect fun to be an integral part of their lives at work than any other demographic. But this contrasts sharply with the very small number of business owners who think the same. The millennial presence in our workforce is only going to continue to grow over the next five years, and employers need to acknowledge their expectations and ensure that decision-making is informed by the needs of this group rather than past habits."
When you need an injection of fun for your team, give us a shout. We can come into your workplace on a regular basis and teach your team how to play guitar or we can have your team come to our place for a rock-band experience like no other!
When you say “teambuilding” to your team, do they groan, “Oh no!” or do they respond enthusiastically? If you haven’t hit the mark with your previous team building activities you may want to consider these five questions before booking your next team building activity; they will help you select a workshop that your team will both enjoy and benefit from participation.
On a scale of 1 -10, where 1 is “fun” and 10 is “developmental” where would you place your teambuilding needs?
Different teams have different needs at different times in their development. If you’re team is in need of fun and camaraderie you may want to come rock out at InTune Teambuilding, go bowling, hit up the local Happy Hour or Wine Tasting, treat them to dinner cruise, race go-carts, host a murder mystery dinner, participate in a painting & wine evening, learn to climb rock walls together, go to a casino or Up Down Arcade in Uptown. Be sure everyone on your team is interested in whatever you pick.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re team is in a re-building phase, you’ll likely have a more successful team building with a business-focused approach to uncovering what is standing in the way of a positive and productive work environment. A facilitator-led workshop focused on establishing shared goals, identifying and assigning tasks and workflow and gaining individual commitment for accountability and outcomes.
Of course, if you’re like most teams, you want some of both. Knowing where you are on the spectrum, and sharing that with your team building partner, will help both parties create a workshop that meets your goals. At InTune Teambuilding, as an example, we work with clients in the 1-6 range.
How much time do you plan to invest in team building?
You must be realistic about how much time you plan to invest as relates to your desired outcome. It stands to reason if your team is completely new or absolutely dysfunctional, spending a couple of hours bowing together isn’t going to do much for.
Again, using the 10-point scale, if your team is in the 7-10 range, a teambuilding activity or one-day workshop is likely not going to help you much. That’s the equivalent of throwing a cup of water on a raging house fire. In this scenario, you need an ongoing process that helps create new habits, reinforces what is learned along the way and brings the team back together for several sessions throughout a predetermined time frame.
The 3-6 range will be most successful when you allocate a full day and if you’re in the 1-2 range, a half day or less may be plenty of time to accomplish your goal.
What outcomes do you expect of the team building activity?
Before even searching for potential team building companies, determine what you want the outcomes of your teambuilding activity to be. Are you looking for a fun way to improve communication between team members? Do you have a rogue rock star in your midst that you need to bring back in to working toward the common goal? Knowing what you want to accomplish will go a long way towards finding an activity that can deliver for you.
Does your team have skill gaps or inter-personal relationship gaps?
Most team building programs address inter-team communication skills, trust between team members, collaboration and creative problem solving. To effectively address these competencies though it’s important to understand if the challenge is that any/some/all team members don’t possess these skills or that they choose not to use them due to personality conflicts, lack of trust or low morale.
Will you speak with the team building Facilitator before your workshop?
We choose to speak with each client prior to a workshop in order to ensure we understand what your team building goals are, to learn a bit about each team member and to determine how you will implement newly-learned skills after the workshop. This information enables us to customize our program to best meet your needs.
If you consider a team building provider that does not set up a conversation between you and the Facilitator, ask them how they will assure you that the workshop will match what your team needs.
One final thought about preparing yourself for a teambuilding workshop….
Ask yourself how you will reinforce the new skills learned or positive attitude created in the team building once you’ve all returned to the office. Will the Facilitator or teambuilding company provide you with any tools to help you? Will this burden rest on your shoulders alone or will you invite every team member into the process of holding each other accountable?
Some follow up ideas our clients have used:
Some of the most productive teams spend time having fun together. They attend a Twins game, partake in a Happy Hour or join a recreational broom hockey league together. Is it their camaraderie that drives them to participate in social activities together or is their participation in social activities that drives their team productivity?
In his book, Partnerships: Leveraging Teamwork, Mike Hawkins writes, "When you do something fun together you form bonds with people. People who work together as well as spend time together outside of work develop bonds that help them come together as a team. They get to know each other and appreciate each other. They look forward to seeing each other at work and spending time together."
Why Does Fun Bond People?
Fun experiences created fond memories. The people who participate in those fun experiences not only remember the experience fondly but they also remember the people with whom they share the experience fondly as well. Imagine you're down by two runs in your softball game, there are runners on 3rd and 2nd base and your IT manager is up to bat. He hits a single, drives in both runners and your team wins this game. A guy you only knew as someone you called when you were locked out of your computer is now the Brian Dozier of your office.
Or what if you and your significant other went to Dakota Jazz Club for a night out and you looked up to see your receptionist as the lead vocalist in the band performing there that night? You would have a completely different image of your colleague than before the softball game or the night at The Dakota.
Once we have fondness for other people we have a vested interest in their well-being, their happiness and their success in both their work and personal lives.
Companies Who Value Fun
"Experts unanimously attest to the personnel-related benefits of fun: lower absenteeism, improved job-satisfaction ratings, higher productivity, better retention rates, even fewer customer-service problems," wrote David Stauffer in Harvard Management Update. "Fun is also linked to faster problem solving."
Perhaps that's why some of the world's leading companies consider "fun" one of their a core values. Here are just five such companies. Click on the company name to read about fun in their workplace.
When you're ready to have some fun
Give us a call at InTune TeamBuilding. We can set up a one-day team building event for you or we can set up weekly music lessons in your office for your employees. Let's add some fun to your workplace
Fans look at successful bands and think, "How cool would it be to do THAT for a living? Sure looks more fun that what I do."
I'll let you in on a little secret - Being a professional musician is a J-O-B. Playing the same song for the 1,000th time can be as mundane as any task you do in your job. It isn't the job itself that is fun -- it is how you approach it that makes it fun... or not! It's also how you define fun.
A band often dreams of playing a gig to a full US Bank Stadium crowd. That will be more fun than playing to the 200 people that it takes to fill 7th Street Entry. But after playing to the smaller audience they may discover it's actually more fun to interact with an audience than to be separated from them by big barriers and lots of space.
The truth is, both of these gigs can be fun -- it's all in how you mentally approach it. If you dread it, it will be a dreadful experience. If you embrace it, it will be a pleasant experience. Maybe not the "greatest day of your life" type pleasant, but the "let's see what comes of this" curiosity.
Definition of fun
Executives define fun in the workplace as delivering on the bottom line. Salespeople think it's fun to bag a big client. IT people find fun in solving a technical glitch. Customer service people think it's fun to turn an angry client into a satisfied client. In other words, it's "fun" to be successful.
Fun in the workplace also results from taking a mental break together during the day. If your team tends to eat at your desks every day, try a pot-luck every now and then. One of my favorite workplace pot lucks is a chili cook-off in the Fall. Or what about swapping lunches? Remember when you were a kid and you had a bologna sandwich and someone else had a PB&J and you'd swap? You only swapped with friends so, as silly as this sounds, swapping lunches brings you closer together.
A low-stress workplace is also more fun. Here are a few ways to reduce stress at work:
"Laughter releases endorphins (a chemical 10 times more powerful than the pain-relieving drug morphine) into the body with the same exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise. Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. It also relieves stress.
Humor also levels the playing field to create an atmosphere that encourages honest dialogue, open communication, and increased risk-taking. Creating more equality in power or control shows people respect and builds pride in their work." So says Dr. Norman Cousins.
Start a rock band.
OK, that's admittedly a shameless plug to get you to come to one of our teambuilding workshops.