How to organize group team building activities to strengthen company culture and improve relationships

Organizational culture determines the social fabric of any organization. When employees have great relationships with their co-workers or managers, they are excited to come to work every day and contribute new ideas. On the contrary, when organizational culture is demeaning or de-motivating, employees retreat into their personal space and avoid collaborating with their co-workers. This leads to unproductive employees and team silos. Team building activities are a great way to strengthen company culture and improve relationships between employees. These activities nurture values like empathy, trust, integrity, and collaboration. However, these activities need considerable planning and effort to be effective.

Sometimes, executives consider team-building activities as a checklist item and do not get involved completely. This leads to unengaging activities that have no positive impact on teams. Executives, teams, and facilitators need to be creative and purposeful in organizing these activities as these activities need to be fun while contributing to employees’ personal development. For example, group activities in Singapore post-pandemic have included team meditation sessions to virtual adventure games. While every team-building activity is unique and there are no fixed rules to organize an activity, here are a few things that can help organize impactful team-building activities.

Organize with a purpose

Often employers assume that all team-building activities are similar and have the same impact on their teams. This is a common misconception that leads to poorly engaged and ineffective team-building activities. Like any other activity in the corporate world, team building activities yield the best results when the purpose of the activity is identified. Different activities have different outcomes and scenarios. And many factors determine the effectiveness of an activity, like the number of people participating, whether it’s virtual or physical, the personality of the team members, etc.

Involve your team in planning

Team building activities have got a bad reputation for many teams. These activities are sometimes considered a forced way to cheer up teams or a boring day at work. Involving your team in planning these activities helps in organizing more interesting and appropriate activities. Your teams might have had past experiences with some activities, or some team members may have some preferences. Take them into consideration, and your teams will appreciate their feedback being heard.

Have an expert facilitator

The importance of having a facilitator for team-building activities is often underestimated. To cut down budgets or adjust to last-minute timelines, executives often organize team-building activities by looking up online instructions. But having an expert facilitator run the activity can make a significant difference than conducting the activity yourself. Expert facilitators have prior experience organizing these activities and can lead the teams towards the purpose of the activity. They are skilled at identifying potential pitfalls and involving all the team members in the activity. Participants also feel at ease as there is no bias involved from an outsider.

Organize them regularly

Team building cannot be effective if it’s not organized regularly. Employers need to prioritize these activities as they are a long-term investment in strengthening organizational culture. And not all activities have the same purpose. Different types of activities can be planned for different stages or cycles in the organization. For example, sometimes teams are ridden with conflict. Team building activities can be used as a part of your conflict management strategy. Activities that can improve communication skills and focus on forging personal relationships are great for conflict management. On the other hand, sometimes, all your team needs is some relief from work and make time for fun. At this juncture, activities do not have to be formal or motivating. You can organize some fun outdoor games or a virtual lunch with all your team members. You can also use these occasions to celebrate your team’s accomplishments and recognize outstanding team members.

Think out of the box

Lastly, it is crucial to think out of the box when organizing these activities. It is easy to download a list of group team-building activities from the Internet and start planning them. But that takes away the fun and may not give results as expected. Customizing the activity as it applies to your teams and thinking out of the box can create fun, memorable, and motivating activities. Do not be afraid to try something your team has never done before. Encourage your team to break the barriers and step out of their comfort zone. The most exciting activities are those that your team gives their best to.

Team building activities build bridges and create a culture that empowers employees to remain self-motivated. The most effective and engaging team-building activities always require efforts from executives. Planning in advance, organizing them regularly, and being involved in them along with your team members is necessary to see results. When employers and executives are truly invested in building a strong culture, nurturing relationships between team members is the foundation.