One of the most important stakeholders in any organization are the employees. No organization can be successful without the people performing on the ground, even if it has the best of leadership. The employees need to be bonded together, and motivated to achieve the organizational goals. This is possible if the people working together have a sense of belonging, ownership as well as motivation to achieve as a team.
This is precisely the reason organizations are spending huge amount of money for employee engagements including offsite team building exercises and the like. If you are working in an organization that is involved in with team building, it is important to understand what it is and why its important.
What are team building exercises?
Team building exercises are a series of events which are planned to inspire a group of selected individuals to communicate, bond and have fun together. The exercises planned should be fun, motivating and indulging. There should be opportunity for all the members to participate equally. Team building exercises help to unite a group, develop strengths and determine weakness. Before planning exercises you must determine the challenges the team is facing. Then plan team building exercises focused on these issues. While planning it is important to consider the interests of the participants and choose exercises which they will enjoy.
How team building exercises help improve performance of employees
Improved communication – It is a well-known fact that if you meet somebody in person, the communication is much better compared to speaking virtually over phone or chat. Even if you meet once, it helps you understand and get people on the same page. With lot of organization operating on Global Delivery Model (GDM) employees are located at various locations working on the same project. In critical and high visibility projects even the smallest of communication gap and misunderstanding can create big problems. Team building exercises can help break the ice between the people working together, gives opportunity to the leadership team to share the insights as well as organizational goals to the team effectively and get everybody on the same page. This also gives employees an opportunity to share their concerns which they are hesitant to raise on email or with the person they have not met.
Create a fun working environment
There is no better way to improve productivity than your employees having fun while doing their work. If a team starts enjoying their work, the outcome of that work will be very different and qualitative. Team building exercise helps create a better inter-personal relationship between the team members. It is always better to have a small team building activity before some key milestones or high pressure work. It helps in easing the pressure or tension environment otherwise people tend to make more mistakes under pressure.
Motivate the team
In a renowned employee survey questionnaire, one of the questions is, “Do you have a close friend at workplace”. This shows that the employees who have their best friends or a lot of friends in the organization are less likely to leave the organization. The team building exercises focuses on creating friends and not colleagues. Employees are more motivated to work when they are around friends. These friends may even be their bosses. They will be ready to put extra efforts without even pushing for it.
Identify Leaders and Groom them
Team building exercises are one of the most effective tools for identification of leadership qualities. Typically a group of people are thrown into a situation or given a task and observed. There may or may not be an identified leader but during the course of activities one can find out which person is emerging as a leader in the group, taking charge, resolving conflicts and convincing others to complete the task. These people can be identified and groomed specifically for leadership roles.
It is always preferable to conduct these team building exercises offsite like a park, beach or resort style location as this can give employees and participants the necessary break to recharge from the normal office environment. It can also act as a neutral ground to diffuse any office tensions or conflicts, it can help to break down barriers as people are out of their comfort zones and it can also help to spark creativity, communication and teamwork as participants feel like more in a social setting and when people are having fun, they are more willing to open up. If it is not possible to plan an offsite event, these activities can be planned in house but they must be fun.
It is important to have a clear objective of why the activity is being done and a follow up should always be planned to review whether the identified goals were achieved or not. Employees are the key for any organization and it is important to keep them happy. Team building exercises go a long way as a helping aid in employee satisfaction.