What’s your first thought when you hear “We are having a team building”? Is it “Again that unnecessary spending”? Probably, especially if you’re part of the management. Or is it “hooray”, or rather “oh, no, not again”?
Team buildings have grown a bad reputation because of the weird games which tend to put people in awkward situations with their colleagues or because they simply mess with their personal plans. And do they actually have any effect on the team bonding and performance?
However, the Hawthorne Effect, a study on work and productivity, concludes that a team building works even if it seems it doesn’t. The main factor is the fact that someone cares about the team and invests time, efforts and other resources to improve their experience at work. That is why team buildings matter even if they seem to be failing.
To avoid those “not again” moments, we follow some principles that we came up with from our own experience.
Putting employees together in a relaxed atmosphere can work wonders for a team. It is not necessary for team building activities to have leadership lessons or practical takeaways. Sometimes, when aiming for an organic bonding, just sharing the same experience might be effective enough. For example, most of our colleagues at Melon enjoy simple stuff like going to the movies together or playing volleyball and football. Diversifying team building games generates positive responses and choosing activities far away from the everyday life might increase people’s willingness to participate.
We try to come up with different ideas every time, however, it can be a real pain. We’ve done re-makes of big movie titles such as Titanic and Rocky, we’ve been photographers for a day, we’ve thrown water balloon challenges and played games such as sumo and archery. We’ve also failed at times in bringing diversity. When it happens, it’s time to ask your colleagues about their ideas of a cool teambuilding. Or hire a teambuilding agency that you believe will meet your teams‘expectations.
However, even if you have exciting team-building once or twice a year, it doesn’t mean you’ve been successful in bonding the team or increasing their productivity. That is why we, at Melon, try to keep the positive energy flowing in the office all year round. Creating opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of the regular meetings and presentations, is one way to do that. We organize social gatherings, escape rooms, cooking classes, sports events, and other group activities that are of interest to our colleagues.
At the end of the day, it’s not about spending money on events but truly caring about the people, listening to them and trying your best to meet their needs and expectations.