Team building is essential to creating a positive work environment and improving employee motivation. While the words “team building exercise” might evoke an adverse reaction in some, it is highly effective when done correctly. Managers play a crucial role in a company that sees the importance of employee engagement. Managers are responsible for producing team-building initiatives beyond trust falls and icebreakers. This article will review what team building is and why it’s so important. Then, we’ll look at thirteen practical team-building questions and activities that managers can use to improve the motivation of their employees to create a more productive workforce.
What is Team Building
Team building refers to the activities, exercises, or other strategies to improve group collaboration, communication, and friendship. It goes beyond chatting in the breakroom or between calls. The intention is to build a deep sense of trust, understanding, and shared purpose among team members. Team building aims to create a unified and motivated team that works together seamlessly. This improves productivity, leads to better problem-solving, and creates a more positive work environment.
Why is Team Building Important
Team building plays a crucial role in shaping a company’s culture and influencing the overall employee experience. By investing in team-building activities, companies strengthen the relationships between team members. They also help boost employee morale and motivation. When people feel connected to their colleagues and the company, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to their roles.
Team building also helps address some challenges from remote work, diverse teams, and changing work structures. Team building becomes even more important as organizations become more global and virtual. Effective team building helps bridge geographical gaps and create a sense of unity among team members who might never actually meet in person. In addition, an excellent team-building plan can tap into the unique strengths of each team member. This promotes a culture of inclusivity and valuing diverse perspectives. At its core, team building is an investment in the organization’s present and future success.
Team Building Questions and Activities
There are endless options when it comes to team-building questions and activities. A quick Google search will pull up thousands of options. Take the time to sift through and find the ones that work best for each unique situation. From big weekend trips to simple questions, there is a team-building exercise for every team. It can be helpful to start with more straightforward “get to know you” type questions to get people more comfortable. Then, move on to the more profound, thought-provoking questions. Here are thirteen team-building questions and activities that will help the team grow closer and improve their productivity.
1. Field Day
The best day of elementary school was always Field Day. Field Day involved running outside, playing games, and doing fun activities with friends. Grown-up field day can be just as (or even more) fun. Keep it strictly to the team or invite every employee to bring their family or a couple of close friends for more opportunities for connection. Set up several stations with different games and activities. Depending on the size of the team and if children will be involved, ensure there is enough to keep everyone busy.
2. Minute to Win It Games
Minute to Win It games are a fun and straightforward way to get people playing. It’s possible to do several of these quickly, making it an excellent option for an afternoon activity. There are so many variations and ideas for these 60-second games. Try the Cookie Monster game. Each person places a small cookie on their forehead and attempts to get it to their mouth using only their facial muscles. Borrow some cups from the breakroom and have a cup-stacking race. Blow up a balloon and see how long you can keep it off the floor. Allow the team to vote on which games they’re most interested in to add excitement.
3. Online Games
For companies with fully remote employees, online games are an excellent choice. There are a bunch of platforms that support groups of any size. Use these to play together and have fun in the process. Scattergories is a popular party game you can play online using their letter generator. Gartic Phone is a fun online drawing and guessing game that will make the team laugh out loud. See if anyone on the team has any other suggestions to help bring a virtual team together.
4. Dream Project
Ask the team to collectively imagine an ideal project they would love to work on. Encourage them to think outside the box and use their creativity. This activity sparks enthusiasm and provides insights into their passions and aspirations. Managers can use this to help align projects with people’s interests.
5. Learning Lunches
Organize regular “learning lunches”. These can be weekly or monthly, depending on what makes the most sense. This is where each team member takes a turn teaching the rest of the team about a topic they’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to be work-related. People can talk about their hobbies or anything they care deeply about. There are two main benefits to this exercise. First, it allows the rest of the team to learn something they might not know. Second, it helps foster a sense of closeness and inspiration in the group.
6. Problem Solving Challenges
If the team is large, divide them up into smaller groups. Give each team the same problem that needs to be solved. These can be work-related, real, hypothetical, or just for fun. This encourages collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Using real company challenges will also make employees feel more connected to the organization.
7. Team Building Trivia
Create a trivia game with questions about the company’s history, values, and accomplishments. You can use this to educate newer employees about their workplace. It will also reinforce a sense of belonging and pride in the organization’s achievements. This can also be done (with permission) with trivia about different team members. This will help people get to know their co-workers better.
8. Community Service Day
Find a worthy cause and plan a day to give back to the community. This can be working in a food kitchen, donating school supplies, or assembling backpacks for needy children. Allow employees to submit options for charities or causes they’re passionate about. Then, dedicate a work day to helping the charity in whatever way they need. This helps employees feel proud of the company and improve public image. This can be a helpful tool in recruiting and retaining employees.
9. Show and Tell
Another call back to childhood, adult show and tell is another great option for a team with remote employees. On a video call, allow each person to show something important to them. This can be a pet, a picture, a trinket, or anything else they feel like sharing. If the team enjoys this activity, you can repeat it by offering different themes for each occasion. For example, one day can be pet-related. Everyone can show their pet on video or, if they don’t have one, a picture of their ideal pet.
Break the team down into groups of about five people each. Present each group with a scenario, such as being trapped in the jungle or on a deserted island. Give each team a list of ten resources, of which they can take five. Then, allow each group to discuss their survival strategy. After a set amount of time, each team will present their reasoning. Once each team has shared their thoughts, allow everyone to vote on who had the best survival plan. This opens the door for friendly debate, healthy competition, and working together effectively.
11. Best and Worst
This game involves asking what the best or worst thing they want to learn from the team. Give each person some time to come up with their questions beforehand, then take turns going around and answering them. Sample questions include: “What is the best vacation you ever took?” or “What is the worst injury you ever had?”. This fun, get-to-know-you type game will help people learn more about their co-workers and grow closer to each other.
12. Happiness Exercise
This activity involves asking each team member to share something wholesome, happy, and positive that has happened to them. This can be particularly helpful if the team is going through a difficult time and needs a pick-me-up. Sharing happy stories shares positivity with everyone else on the team. This can help boost everyone’s mood and lighten up the mood.
13. If You Could… Questions
This can be done virtually or in person. Give each person some time beforehand to come up with a question they want to ask the team. Allow them to ask it and let everyone else respond with their answer. Some examples of questions are: “If you could have coffee with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?” or “If you could take the form of an animal for a day, what would you pick and why?”. These allow team members to get to know each other and will surely lead to some laughs.
Team building in a company of any size requires more than traditional activities. Creating a culture of open communication, shared aspirations, and collaboration is important. Managers can create a more connected team by using these thirteen options as a starting point. Employees will feel more valued and motivated in their roles. The key lies in adapting these ideas to suit the unique dynamics and needs of the team and creating a space where everyone’s contributions are acknowledged and celebrated.