Team building activities go hand in hand with developing a collaborative, fun workplace culture.
Not only do they bring people together, but they’re also great for creating socialization opportunities and strengthening skills.
But don't be mistaken. Fostering a positive workplace culture isn’t just something nice to have. It's not just a good excuse for pizza parties.
Creating a positive workplace culture is actually a business strategy.
The Benefits of a Positive Workplace Culture
When you think about it, you spend a great deal of time in your place of work. Actually, the average runs around one-third of your lifespan. So, an engaging, fun workplace culture is important for both your well-being and the well-being of your company.
Here are a few benefits to a positive culture:
When an employee is satisfied with their job, they are far less likely to look for other employment opportunities. That’s just a fact.
That mentality can spread as coworkers share their goodwill and build strong relationships with one another.
On the other side of that coin, unhappiness can be insidious in a work environment. Most employees, especially millennials, are not willing to suffer under poor management and overbearing workloads, regardless of compensation.
A healthy work culture is critical to keeping employees happy, which means keeping them on the job.
As the focus on writing reviews and sharing experiences online rises, it stands to say that commentary about your workplace culture doesn’t stay inside your office. Potential talent now has access to employment reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed that they can research.
One of the most important characteristics that they look for is company culture. That investigation is performed throughout the interviewing process too.
Let’s say a potential hire is invited to your organization for a tour and a formal interview. It’s not uncommon for job seekers to speak with current employees and ask how they enjoy working at their jobs.
Work culture is incredibly non-verbal as well.
Potential hires can sense the energy within a workspace and gauge if existing employees are happy or not.
Fosters Peer Support
Coworker relationships often mirror the personal friendships we make outside of our workplace environments. In the same way that your friends look out for you, coworkers operating in a collaborative, friendly environment will encourage and support peers in their work efforts.
Conversely, an overly competitive environment can foster a lot of antagonism and distrust amongst employees.
That type of negative culture can dramatically decrease productivity, engagement, and retention.
Develops a Sense of Loyalty
Even though employee incentives can be an undisputed benefit to a workplace, they may not be enough to foster a commitment to an organization. A friendly and positive work space makes employees feel more content and excited to go to work in the morning.
Sometimes, when an organization is in a tight position, it’s the attachment and affection that the employees feel towards their workplace that can be the deciding factor.
Boosts Employee Engagement
It’s not an easy correlation to assume, but your company culture does directly impact employee engagement.
If an employee is unhappy with their career, they aren’t going to work as hard during work hours. That has a domino effect, depending on your industry, since their lack of productivity can create more work and pressure on employees that could then affect their contentment.
Culturally aligned workplaces saw a 30 percent increase in engagement compared to the national average. They proved to be more profitable, efficient, and effective when they implemented a strategic culture plan.
Remember when you were a kid and you learned about bullies? Someone probably told you that bullies were mean and angry towards others because they were unhappy about something themselves.
That still holds true as adults in the workplace. An unhappy employee can hinder workflow through remaining unengaged, complaining, spreading gossip, and in extreme cases, sabotaging a project.
When everyone is on the same page and feeling good about a project, they’re going to work better together.
Their commitment to their work and the organization ensures that they’re keen on achieving goals, both on an individual level and company-wide. If they’re focused on the right objectives, they’ll strive to be more aligned with their teams and departments.
Yields Healthier Staff
A sobering statistic, provided by Sarah Pressman at the University of California, Irvine, shares that the probability of dying early is 70 percent higher for people with poor social relationships.
That’s dramatically higher than the 20 percent chance for obese people or 30 percent for heavy drinkers. If you look at that number in the scope of an individual who works 40 hours a week in an office, company culture contributes directly to that number.
Stress-filled, toxic workplaces are proven to affect life expectancy.
On the other side, though, positive social interactions and general contentment lead to more mental acuity, less sick time taken, lesser chance of depression, and better job performance.
Why You Need Culture Events
Workplace culture isn’t something that just develops overnight. Slapping core values on the wall and talking about positive relationships isn’t going to cut it.
You have to actually exhibit a strong example of what healthy culture looks like.
This is where culture events come in handy. With fun, engaging events, you will see plenty of great results.
Healthy competition is a great motivator. For most people, performance drive kicks in when there’s winning or losing involved.
That’s great during the event, but the idea is that energy will carry over into their work. High morale can also translate into loyalty.
When someone is feeling good about their work, they’ll feel good about where they’re working.
Encourage Collaborative Learning
It’s rare for someone to work in a vacuum. Humans are social beings who also enjoy learning about topics that interest them.
Pairing those two traits together provides an opportunity to uplift your talent while also improving their skills. Offering workshops, trainings, and panels will bring employees together under a specific idea that they can converse and collaborate on.
Putting teams in new environments, faced with new experiences, forces them to think outside the box. It’s important for the brain to be challenged regularly.
Sticking to the same routine can lead to static performance and a productivity plateau. Giving employees an opportunity to flex their mental muscles will help your organization in the long run.
You may even get some new ideas to improve ongoing projects or work processes.
Validate Your Staff
There’s nothing more satisfying than having your hard work acknowledged. Even though different personalities prefer to receive praise in different ways, it still feels good when it happens.
Culture events like award ceremonies give leadership a chance to acknowledge top performers while also socializing teams. More competitive events have a more immediate gratification element to it since everyone loves winning.
For example, employees can celebrate winning a ping pong tournament or building the tallest block tower.
Make sure your culture events are diverse and focused on encouraging teamwork. These events are opportunities to build skills and bond employees with one another.
Uniting Team Building and Skill Strengthening
There are a couple of types of events that your culture events can fall under. Varying them will keep them from becoming predictable and dull. The point is to engage your staff, not give them just another task for them to perform.
Team Building Events
These sort of events are effective for a variety of reasons:
Boosts Team Performance
Team building activities will help team members learn one another more intimately.
They’ll understand one another’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests after a collaborative experience. After that, they’ll be able to work better together and improve the way they work on projects.
Socializing allows for greater problem solving opportunities when workplace issues arise.
Making friends at work is also a great way to boost morale and increase productivity. Working with your buddies makes it that much easier to enjoy coming into the office.
Any time any team wins something, there’s at least a brief period to celebrate and bask in the glory of it.
It’s that moment of joy that can unite a team and inspire them to keep up their performance so that they’ll win more.
Innovation and Collaboration
Working with like-minded peers allows people to have a larger scope of ideas.
Team building events encourage creativity, imagination, and innovation from employees. These collaborative skills can lead to a more progressive and successful workplace.
Like we mentioned before, competition really kicks people into gear. Channeling that productivity into a fun game can help coworkers bond in ways that they normally would not.
Kind of a given, communication is key to any team working on a project together.
Team building events push for this skill to be practiced and refined in fun scenarios and games. It also fosters a healthy workspace.
Everyone enjoys a social, comfortable work environment where they feel safe to talk and engage with others.
These kinds of events are better focused on specific skills you want your team to strengthen. For example, you might have leadership building events, like the following:
Tie a rope into a loop large enough for everyone to hold with both hands in a circle. Then, tell the group to make a shape, like a square, diamond, or triangle.
It’s their job to try and lay the rope on the floor in that shape. As you repeat the game, you can make the shapes more and more complex.
You can even remove elements to challenge them even more, like no speaking allowed, or maybe only being allowed to use one hand to gesture.
This game is a great lesson in communication.
A great team building exercise, this is an especially beneficial activity for leaders who want to hone their self-awareness, self-confidence, listening skills, and creative thinking.
Separate employees into a designated audience and a performing group. In classic improv fashion, have the audience pick a person, location, and situation for the performers to act out. For example, an Olympic swimmer at a waterpark, celebrating a kid’s birthday.
Pass the Hoop
Communication, problem solving, and teamwork are the primary focuses of this game, two skills every leader must have.
To play, have a group stand in a circle and hold hands. Introduce a hula hoop into the circle around someone’s arm.
The goal from there is to pass the hula hoop all the way around the circle without letting go of one another’s hands.
Two people sit on the floor facing each other with the soles of their feet pressed together, hands held.
The goal is to have both players stand up at the same time in unison. They’ll be developing teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, and trust all at the same time in this incredibly simple game.
Maneuver the Minefield
Start by blindfolding one individual in the group.
Build an obstacle course, or “minefield”, around them and then create a restricted set of words that can be said to guide the blindfolded person through the minefield.
By the end of the game, your communications skills and trust in one another will have developed tremendously.
Your employees are the foundation of your entire business. When you empower them and make them happy with fun team building activities and skill strengthening events, your culture will thrive and, in turn, your business will too.