As a business owner, you’ve got to keep your team together, and more to the point, you’ve got to make sure that everyone on your team actually feels connected to one another. Team-building activities can benefit your business in a few ways, but the main reason is that it really does increase morale among your team, which will also improve productivity.
If you’re not sure exactly where to start with this, then you can take one of the following suggestions that we’re listing here to begin bringing your team together, or even use all of these ideas if you find them to be helpful.
1. Trading Jobs
It seems a little outlandish; however, this exercise can be far more effective than you think. So, if you can find some time to set aside during a workday (probably not advisable to ask people to come in on their days off for this exercise), even if it’s just an hour or two, how it works is that you ask employees to attempt to take over the responsibilities of each other’s jobs without any preparation beforehand.
The idea is to hopefully give everyone an appreciation for what their coworkers do. Firstly, it can help them to do their own jobs better by seeing how what they do affects other tasks or departments, causing them to accommodate their colleagues instead of unknowingly making others’ jobs more difficult.
Secondly, each employee will also be able to more effectively communicate with each other and coordinate their efforts because they better understand what everyone does. It can be a highly valuable exercise for team building.
2. The Mutual Compliment Party
Obviously, we’re not talking about a literal party here. This can be a really easy and fun way for your team to develop improved rapport while building each other up with positive reinforcement. You can set aside a day when every team member has to pay their coworker a compliment whenever they notice something exceptional that they’ve done.
Ideally, this would just be something that happens all the time, but we all get very busy with work and can forget or overlook the exceptional work that others are doing. You can of course do this yourself for your employees, but it can be more impactful when it comes from a colleague rather than a boss.
3. Mentoring Exercise
In this exercise, employees would be assigned to mentor another employee for a certain period of time, wherein they take under their wing either a younger colleague, or one with less seniority.
They can do what any mentor would, including showing them tricks of the trade, advice for being more successful at whatever area in which the learning employee works, or any other wisdom they want to impart. If you find the activity to yield positive results, then you could even turn it into a standing policy of the company, which can be extremely positive for your team.
4. Take a Field Trip
Inviting the whole team out for a company trip is great for morale, breaks up the day for everybody, and can even be useful for their work, depending on what type of trip it is and where you go. It’s not like you have to go to the museum or something; you can take the team to a trade show, tour a facility, or visit some other place that’s related to what your company does.
Maybe you’ll decide to go to a manufacturing plant where your products are made, or the data center where your company’s information is stored. You can always go to a place that’s just for fun, too, to give everybody a break, but you’ll find that an industry-related destination can be useful for work and fun for employees, at the same time.
5. Company Dinners
One of the easiest activities you can plan for team building, company dinners can be put together quickly and relatively cheaply, too (unless you’re a really good boss and treat everyone to a high-end restaurant). These are a great way to get the team together, let them get to know each other better, let loose, and leave work alone for a while (even though you’ll probably just talk about work).
It’s not the worst idea to make dinners together a regular event, as well. It gives everyone something to look forward to and can definitely improve the rapport between you and your team, and with one another.
6. Team Sports or Other Activities
This one’s just for fun, and it’s a fantastic way for everybody to blow off some steam while bringing them together in a positive way. When you’re planning one of these outings, take into consideration that not everybody is into sports, or other activities, for that matter. You don’t want to end up with somebody standing in the corner or on the sidelines while their coworkers are having a great time, so that’s something that it’s important to take into account.
The options for what you can choose for these events are virtually endless. A few options are ultimate frisbee, for example, paintball, laser tag, a mild hike, canoeing, and so on, and so forth. The idea is to do something that everybody will enjoy doing, if possible.
7. Hire a Guest Speaker
Bringing in an outside guest to “rally the troops” or to simply give the team something interesting to learn about from a guest speaker doesn’t take up a lot of time. It also doesn’t require your employees to go anywhere or make any special arrangements for it.
They might not even need to get up from their desks or leave whatever post they may be in, and they definitely won’t have to leave the building. The person or persons whom you bring in can be whatever kind of speaker whom you think your employees will be most interested in, or benefit the most from. The guest can be a motivational speaker, a representative of some organization or company related to your own, or even a comic or similar guest.
It’s probably a good idea, however, to stay away from anything sales-related that attempts to pitch them something because that can be very off-putting or insulting to your team. There shouldn’t be any reason that you would want to invite someone like that, anyway.
8. Trade Shows
As a business owner, you most likely already attend these from time to time; so, all you need to do is bring along your team, at least key employees such as the management or supervisorial team. It can be a really fun event and helps everybody to learn more about your business or industry.
Not only that, but it obviously gets them out of the office or whatever workspace they’re in, which is always going to be a welcome event. And furthermore, if you can plan it for a day when your office or store is closed, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t bring along the whole team and even add a free lunch or something during the trip as an incentive.
By the way, if you don’t attend trade shows as a business owner, then it’s absolutely something you should look into because you can learn a lot about what’s currently going on within your field and come out with new ways to grow your business.
Team-building exercises are something that many companies neglect or reject. There are a ton of ways you can plan things like this to boost team morale, which are limited only by your own creativity. You certainly shouldn’t neglect these exercises, as they can be immensely effective for bringing employees together and cause them to be more productive due to the connectedness that it can inspire. Start planning something today, even a very simple exercise, and you’ll begin to see very positive results among your team.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.