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Month: January 2022

Burnout. Turnover. The Great Resignation. Labor shortages. A common thread across all of these issues is low employee morale. The good news is there is a solution—an answer that’s more effective, more fun, and less costly than big pay increases.

As noted here previously, team building should be job #1 as employees return to work post-COVID. Team building turbocharges morale because it’s interactive, engaging, reconnective, and it plants seeds for building new relationships.

Many companies have hired employees on a full-time remote basis during the pandemic. Many of these employees have never actually met most of their coworkers (other than perhaps as a video image in a Zoom box). And many long-time employees haven’t seen (or at least haven’t seen much of) each other since early 2020.

The fun team building programs we’ve delivered lately, whether they’re charity-focused or competitive events, have reunited people. Face-to-face is exciting. It’s rejuvenating. It’s folks getting to see and associate with each other in three dimensions again.

Here are three ways team building positively impacts employee morale.

Reunited and It Feels So Good

At one of our recent live team building events, 20% of the client’s workforce was hired during COVID. This is the first time they were ever meeting their other coworkers in person. The longer-term employees were also thrilled to finally get together live again.

But team building isn’t just about reconnecting, as crucial as that is in boosting morale. It also provides the opportunity to meet in a non-work setting and solve fun problems, engaging with each other in collaborative and unifying ways.

When professional facilitation, the right venue, and clear purpose—whether team building or team building with charity—are brought together, people have fun and feel good about benefiting their community.

More Than a Paycheck

Many employees today are rethinking where they work and why they work there. That’s part of The Great Resignation; workers are asking, what am I getting besides a paycheck? Why am I working so hard? Do I believe in what I’m doing and where I’m going, personally and professionally?

When people see that their organizations are willing to re-engage in a team-building program and reach out to the community, that says something to them about the company they work with and the corporate culture.

And people are taking a hard look at that element of culture. Is it just to work us as hard as possible to maximize the bottom line…or is it more than that? Do they care about me, my personal and professional growth, about giving me the opportunity for continued education within the organization? Are they reaching out to the community and showing who they are as a company? And do I believe in that?

And if so, how important is it for me to be involved in a program where we’re not only thinking about what’s happening within the organization, but we’re benefiting the community around us? That electrifies morale.

It makes employees feel more connected to the organization, to believe that leadership cares about their professional growth, and shows it with continued workshops and the opportunity to be coached by people within the organization to help move up the ladder.

Combining fun collaboration with professional interpersonal skills development and community service is tremendous for boosting morale. It gives employees a reason to work and to stay beyond just getting a paycheck.

New Work State of Mind

Much has been written about the pandemic’s toll on mental health. The mix of fear, anxiety, isolation, sense of loss, and frustration has many employees reassessing where and why they work.

People have been through a lot. They feel the need to get together and reconnect. To help employees improve their mental health and re-establish their connections—to each other and to the organization—companies are using team building programs to bring workers together to collaborate in an environment that’s high on fun and creativity and virtually stress-free.

Study after study shows that laughter, fun, and engagement are good for mental and physical health. Laughing is good for your blood pressure, your diaphragm, your face, and your brain. To have fun and interact in an engaging way with colleagues is more vital than ever in light of COVID and the effect it’s had on everyone.

The Heart of the Matter

Every team building program incorporates fundamental pillars: communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and leadership. In today’s environment, they provide the added benefit of improving morale through healthy re-engagement.

Many activities also involve fun competition. The winners may receive certificates, medals, or gift cards. But the value, for both participants and the organization, comes from the shared experience.

Though in-person events have the greatest impact, virtual get-togethers can also help improve morale. They still engage people. Virtual options include everything from professional development (presentation skills, meeting management, time management) to outright fun with challenges like escape rooms. Virtual game shows and trivia contests still provide learning, and when company content is added to the mix, the game can become even more relevant to the organization.

Team building events, whether live or virtual, re-energize employee morale by bringing people together, enhancing their connection with each other and the organization, and improving mental health. Again, as noted here previously, there’s only one bad choice when it comes to team building, which is to do nothing at all.

Team building plays a critical role in the new employee onboarding process. It’s as essential as getting set up with a company email account or watching your company’s safety videos—and does even more to get new employees productive quickly.

Part 1 of this series detailed why team building is crucial in new employee orientation. It detailed four ways that these programs can help new employees get to know, understand, and trust their team members.

This post showcases three different types of team building programs that can help new employees get comfortable with their teammates and up to speed as contributing members of the team faster.

Charitable CSR Programs

As noted in our post, Seven Fun Activities for Bringing Teams Back Together Post-COVID, corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs combine the benefits of team building activities—teaching problem-solving, leadership, communication, and collaboration in a fun, engaging way—with giving back to the community. The result is a powerful, emotional experience that increases employee loyalty and engagement.

An excellent choice for an employee orientation activity is our Bike Build Donation®, one of our signature trademarked programs. This is a great exercise to build your team while they build bicycles for donation to disadvantaged kids locally. When people go through that experience of giving back to the community, it brings them together and forges strong bonds. Other popular CSR “Build” programs include Build-a-Wheelchair® and Build-a-Guitar®.

SmartHunts® (High-Tech Scavenger Hunts)

Best Corporate Events’ sister company, SmartHunts®, combines mobile app technology and games with traditional scavenger and city hunts to take these activities to an engaging and interactive new level. In addition to testing participants’ knowledge and collaboration skills, SmartHunts are a great way to discover a new campus, museum, or city. One popular option that’s an excellent choice for employee orientation is the Amazing Chase SmartHunt®.

This program enables your team to star in its own Amazing Race with a technology-driven scavenger hunt. Once formed into teams, participants are given iPads loaded with instructions to explore an area. Along the way, they’ll hunt for clues, complete photo and video challenges, answer quiz questions, solve puzzles, and more as they race to cross the finish line first.

If your goal is to have an enjoyable and memorable shared experience, building camaraderie to move things forward, there’s nothing like an Amazing Chase SmartHunt. It gets competitive juices flowing but effectively bonds a group of people together as they have fun and work through challenges, trying to rack up as many points as possible.

Professional Development Programs

Professional development workshops enhance your employees’ career growth and value to your company and are a productive choice for new employee orientation. They focus on the critical core competencies required to succeed in today’s business environment—from conflict resolution to time management skills. These workshops combine professional facilitation with an engaging and dynamic approach to learning and retention.

One popular professional development option for employee onboarding is Competition to Collaboration®, an engaging, trademarked training program highlighting the positive impacts of organizational synergy, both in sharing best practices and celebrating colleagues’ successes.

This activity gets people doing something that at first seems to be competitive, but then the twist comes when participants suddenly realize they need to communicate with a different group about the activity they just went through, including all of the rules, regulations, and strategies. They need to do this so well that the other group can beat the benchmark that was just set. Neither group is considered successful unless both benchmarks are surpassed.

A second excellent option is our DiSC Profile Workshop, which helps participants understand communication differences, motivational differences, some of their own tendencies, and some of the preferences of their fellow new employees to figure out how to work better together.

A third alternative is Emotional Intelligence Training. This program gives participants improved self-awareness as well as better recognition of the emotions and motivations of the other team members here. So, as they’re starting work in a new environment with some of their colleagues, they’re much more aware of how they’re coming across, how their coworkers communicate, and how to work with them more effectively.

In Closing

Team building activities play a vital role in the new employee orientation process, whether those new employees are just joining the company or they’ve been working remotely and are only now meeting many of their coworkers in person for the first time.

It helps establish trust, build personal connections, understand communication styles, and create shared experiences. Three types of team building programs that are particularly effective as part of the employee onboarding experience are Charitable CSR programs, SmartHunts®, and professional development workshops.

Team building activities should ideally be a vital and integral part of your employee orientation process. Here’s why—and it includes a significant impact you may not have thought about.

Every company has an onboarding process for new hires: get all the necessary forms signed, assign them a laptop, create their access badge, set up an email account, provide login credentials for the appropriate software systems, and so on.

Many corporate leaders have a general sense that team and relationship building are an essential part of that onboarding process as well, but may not be able to articulate precisely why.

Unfortunately, that can make it tempting to skip this step when budgets are tight, the department is short-staffed, or when a new manager comes on board. It’s easy to view team building as the “fun stuff” that can be skipped because there is “real work” to be done.

Here are four critical reasons to avoid that mistake and make sure team building is part of the new employee orientation process.

It Builds Trust

As business author Patrick Lencioni points out in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, trust is the foundational element of team effectiveness. Unless you have trust within a team, you won’t get constructive conversations, accountability, or the results you’re looking for.

Team-building at its core starts creating that element of trust through understanding each other and developing relationships. It does this by allowing the team to work together on a problem or challenge that is non-consequential in the sense that, if the group isn’t able to solve the problem, nothing’s at stake. It enables teams to “work out their bugs” without business risks.

And it gives team members the sense that they can rely on each other. Obviously, trust won’t be fully established during orientation, but a team building exercise is highly effective for laying the groundwork.

It Fosters Personal Connections

As workers return to the office post-COVID, many companies are dealing with significant employee turnover as well as bringing back staff who’ve been working remotely, possibly in a hybrid work arrangement.

That means, frequently, companies are not only onboarding new hires but also bringing in people hired within the past 18 months who’ve never physically met many of their coworkers.

Most employees, even those who enjoy the flexibility of remote work, are anxious to get back together in person. Company leaders can sense that people are getting worn down by the isolation, and things need to change.

When everyone is remote, there’s less connection. There’s less of the element of “We’re a team,” and a lot more of “This is a job,” and “We’re a workgroup, not a team.”

There’s a definite difference between a workgroup and a team. A team has energy. People feel like they have each other’s back. They talk about “we” and “us.” A workgroup is just a collection of individuals working on the same project. Both work groups and teams work on tasks, but they work on tasks in two very different ways.

In-person team building activities let workers see each other in full, three-dimensionally, head to toe, not just as a torso within a box on a Zoom screen. They can interact directly and enhance relationships that will lead to more of those informal, ad hoc hallway conversations that are difficult and awkward to manage virtually.

At in-person team-building events, participants get a different perspective; they see a completely different side of coworkers. Returning to the idea of trust, one of its foundations is showing some degree of vulnerability: that you can’t do it all, that you do need other people, that you have some challenges and weaknesses. Just showing that vulnerability in a team exercise where you do need to rely on other people can be incredibly valuable.

It Improves Team Dynamics

Often during a team-building activity, participants learn about each other’s communication do’s and don’ts, about what approaches resonate, and which ones drive a person crazy. When they’re working in a team environment, they can understand some of those aggravations. For example, if it’s analysis paralysis, they can see the frustration that creeps up—or they can see that pure enjoyment at areas of success.

When we understand and appreciate those value differences, pet peeves, communication styles, and what truly motivates people, we can really start to apply those into the work we have to do on a daily basis. Fundamentally, team-building exercises help with new employee orientation by establishing a foundation they can build upon as they start their journeys working together.

It Creates a Shared Experience

Establishing trust, connections, and communication may seem like obvious benefits of team building within the new employee orientation process. But a less apparent and easily overlooked bonus is the memorable, shared experience it creates.

The initial feedback from new employees after a team building exercise may focus on the fun, or the different perspective they got of coworkers, or the sense that the company cares enough about them to make sure they are engaged, that it’s not just “get straight to work.”

But when employees are asked about their overall orientation experience two, three, or more years later, the team building experience is what sticks. They may not recall much about the orientation videos they watched or the policy manuals they read. Still, they remember details from the team building program because of the emotional impact it had.

That makes the lessons learned in team building incredibly strong. People remember that it was a great way to get to know their coworkers and get started in their roles. For employees who went through that team building program together—and even coworkers who went through the same exercise, though not together—it’s a common, shared experience that creates a strong and valuable bond between them.

The Wrap

Team building activities can play a vital role in new employee orientation. They are as critical to setting up employees for success as getting them the right laptop with access to the right software systems.

By helping to establish trust, build connections, understand team dynamics, and create shared experiences, team-building prepares new employees to contribute productively to group efforts more quickly.

Part 2 of this series will showcase specific team-building programs that can be highly effective as part of the employee orientation process.

As vaccination rates rise and COVID cases fall, live business events and meetings are coming back in a big way.

The recent IMEX gathering in Las Vegas drew more than 3,300 meeting professionals for in-person education and networking, and Smart Meetings is reporting that urban venues are seeing the return of group business. Concerts are back.

And according to AdWeek, while virtual and hybrid events are here to stay, “Few believe the limitless audience of a virtual event is worth the in-person trade-off of a live event…What we’re seeing is b-to-b events come back first, (as) it follows the back-to-the-office trend.”

We’ve noted why team building should be a top priority as your employees return to the office or other workplace. You may not have everyone back in the office full time. You may have new employees still getting familiar with your people and operations. At the very least, you may have employees who haven’t physically worked together for a long while.

So, if you are bringing your people together (or back together) and are interested in the value team building can provide as part of that process, you may be wondering: what are some of the specific activities we should consider? And what are the unique benefits of each?

Here are seven fun in-person activities that are great for bringing your team back together in the post-COVID work environment.

Charitable CSR Programs

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs enhance the benefits of team building activities—teaching problem-solving, leadership, communication, and collaboration in a fun, engaging way—with the element of giving back to the community. The result is a powerful, emotional experience that increases employee loyalty and engagement. Here are details on three of the most popular CSR programs.

Bike Build Donation®

This is one of our signature trademarked programs. In February 2018, we delivered the largest bike build in history: 3,500 employees from Lowe’s built and donated 1,058 bicycles at one program in Las Vegas (watch the video here). Our facilitators have been delivering Bike Builds for more than two decades.

We continue to pioneer the future of this charity event with the use of our proprietary apps and Apple iPads®. This worthwhile program incorporates engaging audio/video clues and fun challenges and activities, enabling teams to earn the parts necessary to assemble bikes for children in need.

Mini-Golf Build and Food Donation

This is a fun charity team building program where, working in teams, groups design, construct, and play a mini-golf course using canned and boxed food items. Each hole has a unique theme and rules.

After the course has been built, an entertaining tournament ensues with scoring and friendly competition. Once completed, the course gets deconstructed and the food donated to a predetermined food bank or other charitable organization.

Build-a-Wheelchair®

Build-a-Wheelchair is another trademarked program, an engaging, worthwhile event that benefits wounded American veterans and other people with impaired mobility. Beginning with various iPads® activities to earn the needed materials, teams assemble, safety test, and decorate new wheelchairs for donation. Whenever possible, a representative from the selected charity arrives to accept and thank the group for their donation.

SmartHunts® (High-Tech Scavenger Hunts)

Best Corporate Events’ sister company, SmartHunts, combines mobile app technology with traditional scavenger hunts and games to take these activities to an exciting, engaging, and interactive new level. In addition to testing participants’ knowledge and collaboration skills, SmartHunts are a great way to discover a new campus, museum, or city. Among the most popular of these is the City SmartHunt®.

City SmartHunt

This program is a creative way to experience the essence of your chosen city. Photo missions, video challenges, and trivia questions guide teams on a fun scavenger hunt through monuments, historic sites, and local attractions.

All SmartHunts programs include destination-specific points of interest, fun trivia, pop-culture missions, clues to solve, photo & video missions, GPS mapping system, social media sharing, team tracking, and a live leaderboard with an event slideshow.

Team Building Events

Whether your focus is on strengthening connections and communications within your employee team, professional skills development, enhancing employee engagement and loyalty, or just enjoyable competition, team building events improve trust and performance. Here are three of our most popular programs.

Competition to Collaboration®

This engaging, trademarked training program highlights the positive impacts of organizational synergy, both in sharing best practices and celebrating colleagues’ successes. It begins with two sub-teams completing various challenges separately, attempting to improve their own performance and reaching goals for the other team to beat—then adds a surprise twist that reinforces the message of team collaboration.

A Minute 2 Win It!

As seen on the popular TV game show, and adapted for team play, groups participate in rounds of fast-paced tabletop challenges. The competition heats up as one-minute games are practiced and scored using commonplace items like pencils, plastic cups, and a deck of cards. Teams cheer and have a blast as they vie to be named champions.

Igniting Team Performance Series™

Whether your team is a newly formed group or an existing project team, this dynamic training session will measure your group’s teamwork proficiency, identify areas that need improvement, and deliver activities custom-tailored to those needs.

Fun and fast-paced, participants will engage in increasingly complex challenges, each one preceded by brief yet powerful group discussions. This program is customized to meet your organization’s unique situation and objectives.

Conclusion

With proper safety protocols in place, live events are coming back. People crave togetherness and connection.

In-person team building programs are an investment your company makes in its people that pays off in improved retention and loyalty, greater workplace collaboration, and enhanced interpersonal skills. As offices and other workplaces reopen after COVID, bringing employees together in a fun and productive way is more important than ever.

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.

    We have been working on improving our website. If you experience any difficulties with our forms, please let us know at sales@bestcorporateevents.com.

      If you have immediate questions, please contact us at:

      Phone: 800.849.8326
      Email: Sales@BestCorporateEvents.com

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