Off-site team-building days can be great for staff morale. But they can also have the opposite effect. Amy Gallagher, mind & body therapist and founder of Tula Wellness, offers some sound advice…
It’s easy to think you’re being motivational, inspiring and considerate when you pop that invitation to your staff about a team-building day. These events often trigger a variety of responses though, which include:
- “Yay! A day out of the office doing something fun PLUS I get to know my colleagues a bit better.”
- “Arrrrggggh. Not more forced fun.”
- “I’m definitely pulling a sickie. These things terrify me.”
I’ve experienced my fair share of team-building events with varying degrees of success. Here’s how to get your team to buy into the idea rather than running for the hills.
- DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN TEAMBUILDING AND SOCIALISING:
DON’T confuse it with socialising. Many leaders will resort to taking their demotivated team out for dinner and drinks in the hope it will incentivise them. Some employees find this patronising – a bit of grub and getting tipsy with the boss is rarely the sweetener that’s needed.
DO create regular social events for the team where they are paid for by the company, they are optional and on offer regardless of levels of motivation.
- DETERMINE THE PURPOSE OF YOUR TEAMBUILDING EVENT:
DO listen to your team to understand where they are not being effective or where the common frustrations are.
DON’T organise paintballing, split staff into groups, pit them against one another and expect it to create better communication, a shared vision and a unified team.
- ENSURE TEAMBUILDING IS A REGULAR ON THE AGENDA:
DO follow up regularly on the actions and outcomes of any teambuilding events.
Put quarterly events in the diary so your team feels like it’s a priority, that you value them and their performance.
DON’T organise a one-off event, get everyone excited and then fail to follow up on the event and agreed actions. This is a common mistake that many managers make and can easily turn a positive into a negative.