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Month: November 2021

An impactful and memorable team building event starts with effective facilitation. Having an experienced, engaging facilitator is vital to creating an experience that teaches leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills to participants while also being fun and engaging.

Why is that person called a “facilitator” instead of something else, like a team building leader, organizer, or instructor? Because facilitator is the most descriptive term and encompasses all the different roles involved in creating an enjoyable and valuable experience.

An effective team building facilitator is able to transition through several distinct roles very quickly, ultimately going from initially being the focus to transitioning to making the team members the focus seamlessly. Here are four essential roles that the facilitator progresses through during the course of the team building exercise.

The Four Roles of a Facilitator

The facilitator’s first role is that of organizer. This happens before the team members even arrive or any activities begin. In this role, the facilitator has spoken to the client/meeting planner (if necessary) and has assured that the activity(s) that have been chosen is the best one for the team based on goals and shared outcomes. Upon arrival, the facilitator will spend time making sure the room/outdoor space is set up ideally for the participants to enjoy and will get the most out of the experience, including making makes sure the tables and chairs are arranged properly and the sound system works. They ensure that all of the materials and equipment needed are on hand. That the room isn’t too hot or cold. They know where the bathrooms are.

The critical objective in this role is to create an environment for success. The facilitator works to make sure the room or other event venue is comfortable, organized, and as free of distractions as possible so that the participants can focus on working through the activity (and on having fun doing it).

The second role is that of (temporary) leader. Once the team members arrive and are ready to take part, the facilitator introduces the activity, explains the objective, answers any questions, and provides the team members with the information and materials they need.

The third role is to be a coach. As quickly as possible, the facilitator makes the participants the focus. In this role, the “coach” applauds team members, celebrates their successes, gives feedback and guidance, keeps the activity running smoothly, allows fun and friendly competition, and, if applicable, recognizes team members when they come up with solutions that everyone in the group can learn from. Like any good coach, they put the spotlight on the “players,” making the team members the superstars of the activity or program.

The final role of the facilitator is to be a role model. Part of the way they teach communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and engagement is by modeling that behavior. They communicate clearly, answer clarifying questions, and collaborate with the participants.

A facilitator needs to be able to adjust to any situation that arises once the program has started. They problem-solve on the spot, manage change on the fly, and demonstrate everything they want from the participants, so those team members know they are in the hands of a facilitator who can confidently and competently “drive the bus.”

Bringing It All Together

Through the course of the team building program, what the facilitator asks from team members evolves as well: from attention and observation to participation and collaboration. Great facilitation is key to enabling participants to walk away with a valuable and enjoyable experience.

An effective team building program can accomplish several important business objectives: improving employee communication, engagement, collaboration, problem-solving, and leadership skills, among others.

It requires an investment in time, resources, and taking employees away from their regular roles. To optimize your return on that investment, it’s essential to create an environment where employees are comfortable and able to focus on the team building activity.

While it’s natural for workers to want to get out of the office and enjoy the fresh air, outdoor venues are usually not the best setting for team building (with the obvious exception of scavenger hunts or other activities specifically designed to be held outside).

Here’s why—and how to create the best environment for success, whatever environment you choose.

Focus on the—hey, squirrel!

Team building facilitators want to introduce activities in a way where nothing will interfere with the group’s ability to succeed. With any outdoor venue, almost anywhere and at any time, weather is a concern: heat, cold, wind, and/or rain can make conditions miserable. In a public outdoor setting such as a park, there are also potential distractions from other people, pets, extraneous noise, Frisbees, balls of various types, and other sources.

The goal of the facilitator is to explain and deliver activities in an environment with as few distractions as possible. This maximizes your group’s ability to succeed and increases the positive impact of your workshop.

In a purpose-built indoor space—such as a large meeting room on a corporate campus or a ballroom in a hotel or casino—it’s much easier to eliminate distractions so everyone can focus on the team building activity. The climate is controlled, the sound system is built-in, and tables and chairs can be easily arranged to fit the program.

But if you really want to be outdoors…

There are times when the allure of the outdoors is hard to resist. Maybe it’s (forecasted to be) a gorgeous Friday afternoon. Maybe it’s (forecasted to be) one of those first 70-degree days of the spring in Minneapolis, or the fall in Phoenix.

If that’s the case, here are a few strategies to maximize your chances of success:

  • Have a backup indoor space where you can host the team building activity in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
  • Choose a private, dedicated, or reserved location where you’ll be free of distractions from other people, animals, and extraneous noise.
  • If you are traveling to a different city and your backup indoor space isn’t adjacent to your outdoor space, arrange for transportation in case it becomes necessary.
  • Three to five days out from the program, check the current weather forecast. If it looks less than ideal, consider moving the program indoors. If that’s not an option, decide if you simply want to warn employees to dress for the weather (e.g., it looks like it will be gray and cool but dry) or postpone the event (storms are likely). You want participants to benefit from and enjoy the activity—not to be miserable because they’re too cold, too hot, or too wet.
  • Have a “plan A” and a “plan B” to address the conditions. If it looks like the day will be damp, but not a washout, you may choose to move activities indoors, or keep it outside but use different materials (e.g., no paper or cardboard).

Wrapping it up

It’s easy to understand why people love the idea of doing team building activities outdoors. But nature doesn’t always accommodate.

Depending on your situation, you may decide the risks of trying to pull off a successful outdoor event are too great, and an indoor venue really is preferable. Or you may arrange for an outdoor location, with a backup indoor space or at least a “plan B” in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

What’s most important is to create an environment where distractions are minimized; where you have plenty of space for the activity (follow the recommendations of your team building provider); and where employees are comfortable and able to focus on the activity. That will maximize the enjoyment for participants, the benefits they get from the team building program, and the return on your organization’s investment in increasing employee engagement.

Improving employee engagement is always a productive move, but it’s crucial now more than ever. Here’s why, and how to accomplish that goal.

Highly engaged employees see their work as meaningful. They feel trusted and respected and often feel an emotional commitment to their organization. As a result, they are more productive, more consistently, which ultimately leads to a happier workplace attitude and higher profits for their employers.

That’s always been true. But with the structure of work changing in this post-pandemic environment, increasing employee engagement is both more vital and more challenging than before. Many employees are coming back to the office on a part-time basis, while others work remotely most or all of the time.

Maintaining engagement when employees are physically separated is difficult but essential to preserving that sense of connection and high productivity. Team building programs can be highly effective in sustaining and strengthening the bonds that keep employees highly engaged. Here’s what you need to know.

Team Building is Inherently Engaging

By their very nature, team building activities and initiatives incorporate certain essential pillars for engagement: communication, leadership, problem-solving, and establishing roles.

Whatever the specific program, the foundation is the same: bringing together a group of co-workers and presenting them with a challenge to solve or a project to complete. Out of necessity, the group must begin communicating, asking questions to understand the activity, goal, rules, and guidelines.

The team (or teams) then work together to achieve the objective. It’s fun, collaborative, and engaging. And when it’s over, this experience translates directly into positive workplace attitudes and behaviors.

Team building takes engagement to a new level when it involves corporate social responsibility (CSR). Engagement, problem solving, team bonding, and doing good for the community are all objectives of CSR activities.

Get a GRPI

GRPI stands for goals, roles, personalities, and interpersonal relations. This is a core component of effective team building. What are the goals the group must accomplish? What different roles will team members establish to complete the task? How will the different personalities in the group affect the roles chosen? And in terms of the interpersonal aspect, how are team members getting along? How effectively are they working together as a unit to complete the task?

Again, these are skills that employees will learn and hone as part of the team building program—and have fun doing it! And they will bring these new and enhanced skills back into the workplace with them, increasing their engagement with the organization.

Another benefit is that with many programs, the unique skills of certain employees come to light – skills needed in the position the employee fills in the company. Management often observes employees in team building exercises displaying abilities they didn’t know they possessed.

Create a New, Shared Experience

Team building increases engagement by encouraging communication, collaboration, and problem-solving in an activity the participants have never done before. It’s not basketball, or rock climbing, or bowling. The facilitator is introducing activities that are brand new to everyone in the room.

That puts all team members on equal footing, starting on a level playing field with the same information. Everyone starts with the same (limited) knowledge, so no one is “the boss,” and no one is shy about asking questions. As participants engage more in the activity, the facilitator acknowledges fruitful collaboration and recognizes individuals for solid communication.

Today’s team building activities are less physical than old-fashioned team building: “trust falls,” obstacle courses, boot camp. Now, team building is more cerebral.

These activities allow for full and active participation, regardless of the physical condition of any participant. Every team member, even someone with back problems, a sprained ankle, or mobility limitations, can take a full and active part in the team building because everyone has roles. That structure keeps all participants engaged.

Enhance Engagement by Showing What Matters

Employers are in the midst of the great resignation. There’s evidence that labor shortages will persist as companies compete for a shrinking pool of workers. Engagement is more critical than ever. How can companies retain their best employees and make new employees feel like part of the team, even if they aren’t physically in the office?

To maximize engagement, you need to make your employees feel that you care about them as individuals. Every employer offers a paycheck and benefits. What sets some employers apart in this competitive environment for talent is hosting social events for employees (live or virtual), giving back to the community, and team building activities.

Send employees (particularly those working remotely) little gift boxes with cheese, crackers, and beverages. Maybe an engraved wine glass or coffee mug. Conduct surveys to help increase engagement—report on the results. Announce what you’ll start doing, do differently, or do more of.

Show employees they are important by investing in team building activities: a scavenger hunt, a charitable event, a Trivia Game Show. All these types of actions show you care about each person beyond what they do to drive revenue for your company.

The payoff in engagement means you retain your best people, bring new people up to speed more quickly, and make all of your employees happier in their work and more consistently productive.

Welcome to the BEST blog, a collection of team building articles, industry insights and news about our large collection of programs and events offered in locations across North America.

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    Programs can be delivered anywhere in North America.

      If you have immediate questions, please contact us at:

      Phone: 800.849.8326
      Email: Sales@BestCorporateEvents.com

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      Keynote Speakers are experienced, professional communicators who engage an audience, capturing the essence of a client’s meeting. They are able to highlight it to their audience while simultaneously delivering their own key concepts and proprietary content in an entertaining and impactful way. Most companies understand that this specialization is very much worth the time (around an hour) and the investment.

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