Why team building is important
Most of us have likely taken part in both good and bad team building experiences. Negative experiences may have tainted our view of the effectiveness of team building, however, when done correctly, it is both positive and effective.
In our team, we certainly notice the difference in our social cohesion, productivity and ability to safely express our opinions after engaging in team building and team bonding.
Reason 1: Team building promotes positive workplace culture
Positive work culture encompasses a number of team attributes. Forbes outlines three of these; happier employees who are genuinely pleased to be at work, collaborative environments and creativity within individuals that contribute to problem solving (Forbes.com) .
By engaging your team in activities that encourage the above attributes, the transference of these will become commonplace within your workplace culture. That is not saying that one team building experience will be a magic wand, but supported by an ongoing strategy that attracts the right employees, promotes fun, collaboration and reward (link to games in the workplace) you can build an incredibly positive place to work in.
Team building and bonding can be as simple as a team lunch or regular drinks, to more lengthy team retreats and activities. Using these opportunities strategically to achieve internal team goals and create strong social fabrics will not only get your business from A to B more quickly, but as outlined below, make it a more enjoyable experience.
Reason 2: Team building increases productivity
Did you know that by creating social connections within the workplace you are creating more buy-in from your employees? When they are enjoying their workspace and feel a sense of social belonging, that naturally translates into a stronger connection to the company and their work outputs. In fact, employees that are socially connected to their colleagues have up to 50% more personal connection with their company and therefore work harder to achieve the company goals (Gallup Report, 2012).
With that sort of buy-in there is also less likelihood that your employees will leave.
Positive social connections also create stronger accountability structures. Not only will employees be noticed when they are not present, but there is a higher chance that their colleagues will feel more comfortable in providing support and perhaps a swift kick in the productivity pants as well.
Reason 3: Team building increases creative problem solving
Creative problem solving relies on the whole team lending their strengths in order to overcome challenges.
Taking time out and engaging in simulations or activities that showcase the strengths of team members brings greater awareness of personal attributes within a team and openness to seek assistance when things get a little tough. Your team members will have a greater understanding of who to ask for assistance in different circumstances.
We know that innovation starts with the question; what if? Well, what if your team was comfortable enough to have a genuine ‘no bad ideas’, ‘let’s be super creative in overcoming this challenge’ conversation because they have experienced this level of authentic, innovative problem solving in the past. The beauty of starting this conversation around a simulation or challenge that does not have strong consequences or even links to the workplace is that they can practice in a safe space.
Even better if you can make this a fun and enjoyable experience. Did you know that laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict (helpguide.org)? It also creates a space that brings down barriers to connection. We can safely say that we can do with a daily dose of laughter.
With all of that in mind, team building makes a pretty good case for itself. If done well with consideration, meaning and intention, it can be game changing for your team and business.