Teamwork is essential for brainstorming new innovations and bringing your innovations to life. But first, you must build a cohesive team.
If team building isn’t a current priority, or it has fallen by the wayside—it’s never too late to bring your team together. In fact, it may be precisely what they need to push themselves to the next level!
Why Team Building is Essential?
High-performing teams are diverse and synergetic, but diversity and synergy rarely occur without intention. While every team will organically develop an internal culture, team building helps to ensure the culture of each team supports your organizational values and objectives.
Synergetic teams leverage each team member’s professional skill set. They empower team members to do what they do best, while encouraging continuous growth.
Diverse teams leverage the unique experiences and perspectives of everyone on the team. This supports innovation by considering a wider range of employee and consumer needs.
The first step in team building is hiring the right people, including a leader that embraces collaboration. Once you have built your dream team, you must facilitate opportunities to establish and maintain trust. Without trust, your team won’t feel safe enough to create. While team building isn’t the only aspect of building trust, it is an essential element.
Where Most Team Building Efforts Go Wrong
Where many team building strategies go wrong, is failing to understand when and why to team build. Understanding the different types of team building is helpful for addressing organization-wide and team-specific challenges.
For best results, team build within each team:
- Project teams
Don’t forget to include entry-level and support team members. While they may not contribute directly to your current projects, they are essential to your team’s success.
Types of Team Building
For best results, set your team-building priorities. Priorities will vary from one team to the next and from one quarter or year to the next.
Below are the top 5 types of team building to incorporate throughout the year:
#1 Welcome Team Building
This refers to short activities and casual activities designed to help new employees feel like part of the team. Also, to ensure they feel welcome, and help them get to know everyone else on the team. If your team is large, you can arrange a small group activity with those they will work closest with.
This might include a welcome breakfast or lunch and a whole team introduction at your next meeting.
#2 New Project or New Team Activity
There are benefits to working within the same team consecutively, but there are also benefits of adding new team members and collaborating with team members from other departments.
If you have a new team, new team members, or are launching a new project with an existing team—a bonding activity is an excellent way to kick things off.
This can include personal and professional icebreaker questions, guided brainstorming, and a team meal after introducing the new project.
#3 Issue-Specific Activities
Team building activities can be built into weekly and monthly meetings, but you should schedule 2 to 4 longer activities per year. When selecting your longer activities, prioritize each team’s individual areas of opportunity.
This could include:
- Reading a skills development book and facilitating a discussion.
- Training and development sessions with breakout groups.
- Non-work-related activities that require specific skills.
For example, trust falls and activities completed while a team member is blindfolded build both team trust and communication skills.
#4 Maintenance Team Building
Maintenance team building refers to any team or company-wide activity you plan with the sole intention of maintaining or strengthening your current trust level, bond, synergy, or interpersonal value alignment. Interpersonal value alignment activities refer to opt-in-only activities that support your company’s mission while aligning with your employees’ values. For example, volunteering.
This can include a mix of short and multi-hour activities. It can also include activities designed solely for fun. The sky is the limit here!
This can include:
- Athletic activities
- Charity walks/runs
- Social cause events
- Scavenger hunts
- Group outings
- Any game or activity
You can even have your team brainstorm or vote to narrow down what activity they want to do next.
#5 Milestone and Success Activities
Not always considered team building, celebrating company-wide and individual team achievements is essential. Your team works hard, and their hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed. A team activity is also an excellent way to celebrate the end of a project, the end of your calendar or fiscal year, or achieving a measurable milestone.
This can include your end-of-year or annual conferences and events, team dinner, and even the little things you do for individual team members—such as celebrating their birthday or workplace anniversary.
How Often to Schedule Team Building?
Once you identify what type of team building to facilitate, it must be pre-scheduled. Scheduling it in will ensure it’s a priority. That being said, when your team’s synergy begins to fade, facilitate an unplanned micro-activity.
Don’t feel the need to select your activities yourself. Your HR team is sure to have a few ideas and corporate team-building facilitators can provide additional guidance. If there is an activity your team enjoyed and wants to do it again, do it again!
In terms of frequency, map out a mix of 10-to-20-minute activities that can be completed during your standard meetings, multi-hour quarterly activities, and annual activities. However, some teams will need to team build more frequently.
For example, virtual and hybrid teams don’t have the day-to-day engagement of live teams. So, you may want to do a 10-to-20-minute maintenance activity multiple times per month.
Team Build and Innovation Will Follow
The positive ripple effects of team building are many, including:
- Establishing the mutual trust required to drive innovation.
- Feeling a sense of being part of something bigger.
- Delivering on your organization’s mission, vision, and values.
- Improved collaboration, productivity, and desired outcomes.
- Improved employee satisfaction and retention.
- And more!
While it can be tempting to cut team building out of the budget or to optimize time by skipping team activities and events, it’s essential to building a high-performing team!
Learn how IdeaScale can help you innovate as a team.