So, you’re in charge of hosting a day-long morale-boosting event at the end of the quarter and time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking into the future. There is nothing so nail-bitingly stressful as planning a team building event for your peers. You want everyone to come happy and ready to participate and leave feeling fulfilled. It’s a challenging undertaking for any HR manager.
Think back to your worst “team building” meetings. Scary, right? Luckily, you are already well-equipped for planning your event–you know what doesn’t work, and you’re seeking out what does. Way to go! We are happy to help. Take a look at these tips and activities to help you plan a team building day for up to 50 people that will keep employees’ attention and show them that group bonding can be fun and productive.
Consider a Change of Scenery
Employee events in your place of work are a gamble, especially when the main focus is interacting with each other. Team building requires requires concentration, group participation, and most importantly, space to accommodate your team. If your office space is distracting or crowded, or just doesn’t have the space to bring a large group together, you may want to consider looking for locations outside of the workplace. Locations outside the office offer ample space for bigger groups,“neutral territory” that can ease any tensions among coworkers (if there are any) and the added benefit of an environment free of office place distraction.
Keep Your Guests Satiated and Caffeinated
This tip is short, sweet, and important. Nothing is quite as distracting as a grumbly stomach. Well, unless your colleague is nodding offing to the left of you! One of the nicest perks of a day-long company event is not having to pack a lunch or worry about grabbing a coffee while running out the door for work. Let your team know that you have their comfort in mind by providing a balanced meal, light snacks, and plenty of coffee, tea, and water. Such a gesture indicates that the company is willing to invest in its employees and their comfort, making employees more willing to invest their energy in the day’s activities.
Say “Yes, and…”
Adding one or two improvisational activities to the docket would certainly liven up your day, and create an atmosphere of support and teamwork. “Yes, and…” is an integral principle of improvisational comedy that urges participants to accept the premise of their sketch partners (say “yes”), and then build onto those ideas (“and…”). This principle encourages creativity, collaboration, spontaneity, and collective brainstorming. While incorporating improvisation activities into a company gathering may sound strange, it is actually becoming increasingly popular for businesses to experiment with improv exercises. Harvard Business Review recommends such exercises as ensemble storytelling and one-on-one “thank you” conversations.
Harness the Power of Friendly Competition
Competition doesn’t have to be contentious, and friendly competition among groups of coworkers can encourage team bonding through low-stakes games where participants have a common goal. Team games are especially great bonding activities for larger groups (10+ people) because they get everyone involved without putting any one person in the spotlight. A quick and easy competitive activity is workplace trivia, which can be tailored around specific questions about your company, policies, employees, and workspace. Office trivia games not only reinforce employees’ knowledge of the organization but they also encourage cross-departmental conversation and problem-solving among teammates.
Help Your Community, Together
Community service is a great team building activity, but taxiing carloads of employees from one location to another for volunteering can be a logistical nightmare. That doesn’t mean you can’t still take time together to give back to your community. During your planning process, take stock of your company values, resources, and employee interests to determine what activities you can incorporate that involve giving back. A food or toiletry drive leading up to the event could be used to stoke friendly competition between departments, for example. On-site kit assembly events are also an option for making an impact. The act of service is a wonderful activity that builds camaraderie and encourages group reflection.