The collective groan is amplified and absolute this time, even the ever cheery people in the marketing department let out a sigh. What is everyone getting mad about? Well everyone in the organization just got the dreaded calendar invite. An invite to a pointless meeting? No, an invite to the “corporate wide team building event”. An event that while not even a little bit fun, is completely mandatory to attend. The “team build” has entered corporate lore everywhere as the worst thing about working at a company, outside of mass layoffs, and that one guy who keeps microwaving fish in the microwave, every day.
However instead of bagging on the corporate team build, is there any way that business can make the “team builds” you know, actually fun? Well in my opinion there is, in fact there are a lot of ways that a company can pool all that c-suite collective brain power and come up with something that will generate cheers when that calendar invite rolls across Microsoft Outlook.
Schedule it during work hours: If anything going to piss off your employees, it’s going to be essentially making work even longer by scheduling an essentially mandatory event outside of work hours. You want everyone to attend this thing and excuses will surely start flowing if you try and get your team together at 7 PM on a Tuesday to do a 3 hour team build.
Make it an actual, low stakes competition: People are naturally competitive, doing something that doesn’t invoke this spirit (in a constructive way, obviously), will just make the whole thing boring. For example I would rather do a competition of some sort then watch some motivation speaker drone on about how great the company is to work for.
Have “cheap”, but “cool” rewards: Make so the people actually want to win. I feel like $15 dollar gift cards, or some other small amount, is a great way of accomplishing this. I mean, because no one is going to want to bother with some sort of competition that doesn’t have any rewards, or really any motivation behind it, beside everyone having to attend said competition.
Make sure the teams are random: The vast majority of the working population are not trying to make friends at work. As such, telling people to “pick groups” is probably more stressful than you would think. A really easy way to circumvent this is to just have everyone “count off”, or perhaps pick groups in a creative way. This allows people to get paired up with people outside of their work friends and perhaps foster working friendships, with people they wouldn’t normally bother talking to.
In reality, there is no set formula on what makes a great team building event. I mean, you could give people the week off and call that a team build, and people would probably call it the best team building event of all time. However, in my opinion the point of a team building event is to get your employees out of the office for a few hours and get them working together as a team. Which means, low stakes, friendly competition and forming connections with people they normally wouldn’t outside of working hours.