Teambuilding has gotten a bad rap in recent years for being ineffective, coddling, and plainly a waste of time.
But with the rise of the Millennial generation in the workforce, along with increased widespread employee turnover and a renewed focus on employee engagement, many companies have been turning toward teambuilding activities to help establish and nurture trust and productivity within their teams. Some organizations make the mistake of implementing teambuilding activities to correct or solve employee behavior issues. Employee behaviors are certainly an indicator that a teambuilding event may be beneficial for your company, but under-performance or behavior issues are also asymptomatic of a larger circumstance at play. Leaders would be wise to implement teambuilding events before these kinds of behavior issues arise. But how do you know when the time is right to have a teambuilding event for your staff?
Below are a Few Ways to Know it’s Time to Have a Teambuilding Event for Your Staff
Below are a few workplace situations that may signal to leaders that a teambuilding event may be an effective way to proactively and intentionally build trust within their teams.
• A generationally diverse spectrum of workers. Millennials value meaningful work that balances with their personal lives, and appreciate recognition of their unique strengths and skill sets. They enjoy teamwork, collaboration, and an open and flexible work environment. This is very different than the Generation X and Baby Boomer generations, which accept that work is a necessary and independent function driven by competition, work ethic, and ladder-climbing.
These are obviously different viewpoints, which can cause workplace tension when they work closely together. A teambuilding activity can nurture understanding between these different groups.
• A recent hiring spree or growth spurt. Though trust is hard to get back once it’s been broken, with new team members, you have the chance to help employees build trust with one another from the outset. A steep influx of new team members within a company can cause an us-versus-them mentality or cliques. More senior team members can also become annoyed with having to answer questions, train or onboard several new team members at once.
Proactively setting up teambuilding events where newer and older employees learn more about each other’s different work styles, strengths, and personalities will help to create a supportive and understanding culture.
• A company restructuring or rebranding. Big organizational changes can make workers uneasy or nervous about where they will fit within the new identity of the company. To help team members see company changes as a positive, teambuilding events are the perfect morale booster and a way to solidify goals and values for the new face of the organization.
Employees, especially millennial generations, enjoy having a voice in the direction the company is going. Use teambuilding events in these situations to re-evaluate company initiatives, services, and product offerings, team processes, and key performance indicators. Transparency and openness go a long way toward uniting a team under common goals.
• An increase in your remote workforce or more flexibility in schedules. According to a recent report by WorldatWork, telework or remote work (in some form) is now offered by 88 percent of organizations, and is growing steadily each year. While this renewed flexibility is a huge benefit for many workers, it also can create feelings of isolation and decreased engagement.
Technological connections, email, and instant messaging replace many face-to-face meetings in these kinds of environments. This is why an in-person teambuilding activity can be a refreshing way to help team members nurture relationships with co-workers they may not see on a daily basis.
There are many ways to approach teambuilding activities with your team, but in every case, a proactive strategy is always best. Keeping an eye out for these situations will help you identify when a teambuilding event for your staff makes sense, increasing morale, collaboration, and performance.