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Team Building: How to Create Group Synergy and Spirit

Team building is an art form.  In the words of H.E. Luccock, “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”

HR Managers know that this is especially true and that it takes time to “play well together” as a team. A great way to increase workplace happiness and to show appreciation for employees is through team building activities.  Good teams understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and value the participation of all members.

Current trends in the workplace indicate that more employers are trying to support employee work-life balance during the pandemic.  For many, remote and hybrid work models are here to stay.  That means that human resources need to include virtual team building activities in their bag of tricks.

So, what is the best way to build a team?   This article will give you what you need to know.

What is Team Building?

Formally planned and structured activities might be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about team building.  However, daily interactions, decisions, and problem-solving between coworkers are part of building a stronger team.

As defined by Oxford Languages, team building is “the action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team, especially utilizing activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation.”

Team building is used to build relationships amongst employees and foster group attitudes towards a common goal.

Many HR managers organize activities that promote teamwork and cooperation.  Some choose to contract an external source to help them plan group events.  But what should be taken into consideration to create wonderful bonding moments?

How To Build a Team

To find the best activities, it’s important to understand both the interests of the company and the individual employees.  Activities should always prioritize inclusivity and motivation. Good HR managers need to take into account individual personalities and group dynamics.

Know your Team

Use an employee portal to keep a record of the interests, skills, and things that your team would like to work on.  Groups who are more interested in nature and physical activities might enjoy a group watersport.  Other groups might like to express creativity and would enjoy a painting or dance class.  Try to find a happy consensus.

Know your Company’s Goals

Although the activities don’t have to directly involve employees’ daily tasks, games can help team members develop specific skill sets.  All of the patterns of communication and information learned can benefit the company as a whole.

Find Activities for Everyone

The best activities are relevant to the team members and the company alike. To clearly see common ground between the two, make lists.  If needed, draw out a diagram.  It will help while brainstorming the best activities for the desired outcome.

Think About Logistics

Time and money should also be considered and budgeted for while planning for team events.  However, keep in mind that developed communication skills and positive team morale will ultimately save you money in the long run.  Team building does not have to carry a hefty price tag.  Simple games and icebreaker questions can work just as well.

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HR Team Building Activities

Here are some great examples of activities that are effective and highly constructive for companies wanting to increase sentiments of cooperation.

  • Try volunteering- One of the best ways to positively impact psychological health is by helping others.  Team members will feel good about positively impacting the lives of others and will construct meaningful and resilient bonds.
  • Take a class- Another popular form of team building is taking group classes together.  There are many cooking, dancing, and painting courses available that specialize in team building events.  Ask employees about their preferences and make a reservation!
  • Show and tell- Every week, ask an employee to share an object, a piece of music, or a book that says something special about their lives. This is an excellent opportunity to understand the values and personal stories of work colleagues.
  • Team building services- Some HR managers may find it helpful to solicit the help of a service to organize activities.  The expenses should be weighed against the amount of time saved.  However, in larger organizations, this may be a worthy option.

Depending on the number of remote workers on your team, virtual events might be more appropriate than in-person activities.  Decide which is best for your situation.

Virtual Team Building Activities for HR Professionals to Try

With the increment in employee burnout, virtual team building activities are more needed than ever before.  This poses unique challenges for HR, as they must find new ways to maintain the company culture from a distance.  Remote work does not justify lost comradery and fun!

Here are some ways to boost employee engagement away from the office.

  • Try virtual icebreakers- Simple, get-to-know-you activities work especially well for onboarding new employees.  Icebreaker questions are designed to make hires and existing employees feel more comfortable and eliminate tensions and barriers.  To avoid timidity and shyness, It is a good idea to ask simple and not overly personal questions.
  • Have a virtual happy hour- Why not? Members who are working from home may be doing so to avoid covid-19.  Good employers try to support and include them in social activities even if they are physically apart.
  • Try a virtual escape room- Out of all of the virtual activities to be considered, virtual escape rooms are a must! Teams are given time constraints to collectively solve puzzles and develop a plan to exit the labyrinth.  This makes virtual escape rooms perfect activities for remote teams who wish to practice problem-solving!

There should be a good amount of flexibility with any type of remote work or virtual team building.  One of the key assets of keeping things online is flexibility.

Virtual meetings and trainings might have rigid hours but you can allow employees to create their schedules as much as possible.   Use technology to your advantage and implement an automated time tracking system to help them stay on track.

Benefits of Planned Group Activities

The importance of team building cannot be overstated. Team building is like the oil in a well-functioning engine.  It makes everything fluid and efficient.  Here are some of the many benefits that you will notice.

    • Facilitated onboarding- Arriving at a new company can be difficult. On top of that, remote employees face difficulties getting to know their coworkers from afar.  Activities for the sole purpose of employee interaction can help to smoothen the process of onboarding.
    • Increased horizontality- Managers and employees who interact through team building activities are more likely to have a stronger, tension-free relationship. It’s a great way to increase employee empowerment and contribution from all members of the team.
  • Increased collaboration- Good activities encourage employees to think outside the box.  Learning to communicate and construct collective ideas is the best possible outcome for everyone.
  • Motivation and goal setting- Aside from boosting morale, team building can teach employees to value their coworkers’ strengths.  Group activities are great tools for learning to set common goals and celebrate the contributions of all members.

So, how do you track the progress of your team building efforts?

How HR Managers Can Keep Track of Goals

A great way to measure the success of any team is to utilize an automated OKR Tracker.  This will help you make sure that the team is moving in the direction of your company’s predetermined goals.

HR managers, managers, and employees should be able to easily keep track of their progress and accomplishments.  Transparency is a key ingredient to success!

Another way to measure accomplishments is through an excel spreadsheet or template.  A spreadsheet can facilitate the management of teams and of maintaining records of growth.

With the help of these tools, watch the team building process turn into productivity.  With the help of all members, teams can shoot for the stars!

 

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