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What is team building? A closer look at corporate team activities

Employees are the most important asset for any business.

If employees fail to cooperate or are in constant conflict with each other, a business can take a major hit to its bottom line.

Problems often arise when employees are not able to communicate well, and those issues are likely to be compounded even further if they’re not resolved peacefully.

One solution to develop social skills between co-workers is with team building.

Here we’ll look at what team building is and what the research says about it.


What is team building?

Team building is built around various types of activities. Each is designed to build team skills to accomplish an objective in a group setting. Activities are meant to bring employees together – often from different departments – to socialise and grow together as a team.

Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

We often credit certain individuals for major accomplishments. But the reality is that anyone who has accomplished something meaningful has had help along the way. The idea of team building then is to encourage a group mentality and make employees feel more unified.


Types of team building activities

Team building activities aren’t just limited to scavenger hunts or obstacle courses. Other types of activities that foster teamwork include:

  • Volunteering: Volunteering together as a team not only contributes to a worthwhile cause but also helps those involved feel proud of what they’re doing.
  • Physical activities: Sports make for great outings for teams to work together and participate in. Examples include a friendly game of basketball or a milder activity like bowling.
  • Field trips: Team building activities don’t need to involve vigorous activities. Even something as simple as a casual visit to the park or museum can help build communication skills.
  • Workshops: Attending workshops is a great way for teams to stay up to date with their education and also develop professional relationships in a different setting.

Some activities may be hit-or-miss with certain team members. So it’s important to gather feedback so as not to make your employees feel excluded or left out. One thing you can do is send out surveys to see what activities your team is interested in.


How effective are team building activities?

Team building sounds great in theory but do they actually work?

A comprehensive analysis spanning 51 articles and over 8,000 participants provides the strongest evidence yet that team building has a measurable impact on team performance. Experiential activities that were engaging for team members were found to be the most effective.

Another study published by MIT found that the success of a team is highly dependent on communication. This doesn’t mean that everyone on the team needs to be best friends outside of work. But it does prove that communication is a vital component of an effective team – a skill that can be developed through team building.

Despite their reputation for being frivolous, team building activities can easily be one of the best investments you can make.

Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking, has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for Colourtech.


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