Your primary focus when organising and running a team building event should be cultivating staff connections and engagement, while adding value to the overall company culture.
In order to get the most out of team building activities, it is important to identify exactly what you are trying to achieve and how you intend to achieve it.
Will this be a stand-alone event that engages staff to foster fun within the organisation? Will it be part of a conference or meeting that engages staff to connect and build relationships? Or do you want to use the activity to upskill your team and engage staff to better understand themselves as part of a high performing team?
What do you want to achieve?
- Fun team building?
- Enhance a conference or meeting?
- Foster learning and development?
Once you have determined the objective of your team building activity, you must look to provide a holistic solution that meets these business goals. It is important not to get tied up in pleasing everyone but rather focus on how planning, content, communications and location can maximise the value of the activity.
For staff to get the most out of your team building event or activity, planning is key. It is important to consider the event type and objectives at each stage of the process. For instance, a one-off upskilling activity for a small team is unlikely to be suited to a black-tie function featuring a sit down dinner and open bar.
Other key considerations when planning a team building event include budget, the content and format of the event, location, attendee invitations, logistics such as transport or catering, post event thankyous and feedback surveys.
For a comprehensive planning guide and checklist, download our Team Building Calendar and Checklist.
Bring the Buzz: pre- and post-event communication
Quality internal publicly and communications prior to the event will encourage staff anticipation and participation. Be creative and strategic. Don’t just instruct your staff to participate and tell them to have fun. Explain why this event or activity is important and show the value to be gained through their participation.
Make sure you document the day! Photographs and videos taken at the event will be useful tools for future publicity, both internal and external. Share team photos with your staff and encourage them to provide feedback or suggestions for your next event.
Choosing the right speaker, facilitator, trainer or MC is hugely important for the success of your event. A good speaker has the knowledge to facilitate open discussion, draw information out of the audience, and extract key ideas and concepts.
Ensure that the chosen individual complements the content of the team building activity and vice versa. You wouldn’t have a lawyer MC a plumbing conference. Also connect the speaker with the team building activity provider prior to the event to ensure consistency across language, messaging and tone.
Agenda and content
If the team building exercise will form part of a larger meeting or conference, consider its placement in the overall agenda.
Traditionally, corporate events might end with a team building exercise, to finish on a high. However, if the objective is breaking down barriers and building relationships, it might be more beneficial to open the agenda with a team building activity to set the tone, establish goals and themes, and position the audience as active participants rather than spectators.
The chosen team building activity, and its placement within the event, should complement the content and objectives of the entire agenda.
Overwhelmingly, activity organisers assume that outdoor environments will be the most engaging, offering staff a break from the humdrum of indoor offices. However, this is not a blanket truth.
Whether your team building activity is virtual, hybrid, face-to-face, indoor or outdoor, the physical environment is less of a predictor of staff engagement than the strength of the content, facilitator and agenda.
Indoor or virtual environments can be just as engaging as outdoor activities. It is important to remind yourself, and other stakeholders in the organisation, that an outdoor environment does not always equal engaged participants.
While choosing a location or venue is usually considered a first step in planning an event, it may be more beneficial to select an appropriate location after the content, facilitator and agenda have been locked in.