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How Team Building Jumpstarts Employee Morale

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.