Plan the Perfect Team Building Event for your Office in 10 Simple Steps

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Team building events provide tremendous business value. They help build productive workplace relationships, increase employee engagement, and improve communication and collaboration. Especially in today’s hybrid work arrangements, they help everyone feel more connected to their coworkers.

But there are a wide variety of team building activities to choose between, from programs focused on fun competition and bonding to escape rooms, corporate scavenger hunts, or game shows, to charitable corporate social responsibility (CSR) events. How can you select the best type of team building exercise for your specific team and situation?

It’s vital to start with what you aim to accomplish by organizing a team building event. Are you celebrating a team achievement, welcoming new team members, focused on improving cross-departmental collaboration, or something completely different?

Whatever your business scenario and objective, this post will break down a 10-step process to plan the perfect team building event for your office.

Understanding Team Building Events

As defined in our expert guide to team building activities that work, “professional corporate team building is an intentional, organized activity designed to achieve specific business goals.” All team building programs incorporate several core pillars, such as fostering collaboration to improve productivity.

Team building delivers real business value. Organizations that embrace a regular cadence of activities can measure the success of team building in terms of increased employee engagement and retention, greater customer satisfaction, and even improved financial performance.

These events enhance communication between team members, which builds stronger workplace relationships and trust. Another core pillar is problem solving; almost all team building activities require participants to work together to solve puzzles, find answers, and creatively overcome design obstacles.

Steps to Planning the Perfect Team Building Event

From defining your goals to choosing a venue to gathering feedback at the culmination of the activity, there are a number of steps involved in planning the perfect team building event for your office. Here’s a 10-step guide to help you choose the ideal program and avoid overlooking any important elements in the process of organizing your event.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Planning a team building exercise without setting specific goals is like planning a trip without a destination. Starting with the end goal in mind will help with all elements of planning, from choosing the right type of program to determining what (if any) customization might be needed and deciding how you will measure the end results.

For example, if the goal is to improve cross-departmental collaboration, programs like Pipeline and Momentum are excellent choices. In both programs, teams are assigned to design and build one component of a larger system.

The pieces built by each team have to fit together in the end to accomplish a simple task, like dropping a marble into a container. Participants have a lot of fun while also collaborating with their own team members and other teams to make sure the entire structure works as planned in the end.

Examples of Common Team Building Goals:
Goals may be situational (e.g., integrating new members into a team or helping employees adjust to a major change in the business) or focused on more general operational improvements. Examples of common team building objectives include:

  • Improving communication and collaboration skills while simultaneously making a positive impact in the community. Charitable CSR team building programs are ideal here, such as participating in STEM Backpacks for Kids to promote science education, or a Build-a-Wheelchair® activity to help people with mobility challenges.
  • Fostering creativity and innovation: Programs like Go-Kart Competition and Food Truck Face-Off are great for combining creativity in visual design with innovation in accomplishing other goals.
  • Boosting team morale and motivation: Most team building activities inherently help jumpstart employee morale. Any charitable CSR activity is a great choice here. Or, you may want to go with a fun problem-solving program like Mavericks Murder Mystery.
  • Enhancing problem-solving abilities: Again, problem-solving is a core pillar of most team building programs. But one great choice here is a SmartHunt corporate scavenger hunt. Teams get points for each location they visit, but lose points if they arrive back at the end location late. The challenge is to problem-solve in order to make the best use of time.
  • Breaking down silos between different departments: CSR programs are great for this purpose, as are activities like Momentum and Bridge to the Future, mentioned above. Another outstanding choice is Corporate Canvas, where each team paints one panel, and at the end, the panels are assembled into a mural.

Step 2: Consider Your Budget for Team Building Events

The process of budgeting for team building events depends upon:

  • Is this a standalone event or part of a larger get-together (e.g., a multi-day company offsite or sales kickoff meeting)?
  • Will you be using a professional team building company, or will it be more a do-it-yourself (DIY) type of affair?

For a standalone, DIY team building activity, costs to keep in mind include:

  • Venue Rental: The cost of renting a suitable venue for the event, which will vary depending on location, size, amenities, and duration.
  • Audio-Visual Equipment: Expenses for renting or using audio-visual equipment such as projectors, screens, microphones, speakers, and sound systems for presentations or multimedia components of the event.
  • Decorations and Supplies: Costs for the materials and any equipment needed for the workshop or activity itself, as well as decorations, signage, banners, name tags, badges, and other supplies to enhance the atmosphere and organization of the event.

If participants will be traveling in from out of town just for this team building event, then also consider the costs of transportation, accommodations, and meals.

To keep costs low for a DIY event, consider a free or low-cost venue (such as a public park), search online for inexpensive activity or game ideas, and partner with local businesses for discounts.

If you’re opting for a more professional experience, a team building company will be able to provide a quote based on your needs, group size, the program chosen, and other factors. Their cost should include the facilitator(s) and related travel costs plus the cost of any equipment or materials required for the program.

Charitable CSR programs such as Build-a-Band™ or Build-a-Rollator also include the costs of the kits for the items to be donated, and team building providers typically buy in bulk, making these programs a cost-effective option.

Step 3: Know Your Team

In addition to accomplishing your specific goals, your team building activity should be fun and engaging for every member of your team. So, it’s essential to tailor an event specifically for your team, or at least choose an activity that will be suitable for all members. Extreme physical challenges (unless your team is entirely made up of fitness coaches) and activities requiring specialized skills (e.g., paintball) are probably off the table.

When selecting an activity, keep in mind factors such as your team size, interests, activity levels, physical capabilities, learning styles, and sensitivities.

Fortunately, if you’re using a professional team building provider, these considerations are generally “baked in” to their programs. Unlike “trust falls” and other practices that seemed like good ideas 30 years ago, modern corporate team building programs are designed to be inclusive and to include roles that will enable every employee to participate, regardless of physical abilities or limitations.

Step 4: Brainstorm Ideas for Your Team Building Event

From game shows to CSR activities to escape rooms and more, you have lots of options for team building events. Start with the end in mind—what is it you’d like to accomplish with your event? What’s your primary goal?

With your objective in mind, look at different types of team building activities that fit your goals. For example:

Communication & Collaboration

Think about workshops and office-based team building exercises. Programs designed to deliver fun competition and bonding include A Minute 2 Win It! (rounds of fast-paced tabletop challenges, as seen on the popular TV game show), Race Car Rally (teams assemble and race Lego cars), and many others.

Problem Solving

As noted above, problem solving is a core pillar of most team building programs. But activities that are particularly effective here include City SmartHunts® — technology-enhanced corporate scavenger hunts delivered in more than 130 cities across the U.S.—and mystery challenges like Crack the Case®, where your team is transformed into private investigator trainees.

Creative Thinking

Great fits here are design contests, brainstorming sessions, and improv games. Another excellent option is art projects like Corporate Canvas or Food Truck Face-Off, a program that combines branding, design, and culinary creativity.

Team Bonding & Morale

Again, pretty much all team building activities are effective at jumpstarting employee morale. But activities that are particularly beneficial include social outings; cooking classes such as our Chili Cook-Off; and any type of philanthropic CSR event. Programs designed to assemble items for disadvantaged kids, such as Bears and Blankets or Kids Rock!™, pack a particularly powerful emotional impact.

Step 5: Choose the Perfect Location for Your Team Building Event

Finding the right venue to host your team building event plays a huge role in its success. Among the key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best venue for a team bonding activity are:

  • Venue size: Don’t just think about the number of participants—make sure the space accommodates your people AND the specific activity they’ll be doing. For example, a charitable donation build program requires a lot more space than a trivia match or game show.
  • Amenities: For most types of team building activities, a purpose-built event space with a good sound system, minimal distractions, and fast reliable WiFi is ideal. For any type of activity involving a build using bulky materials, verify access to a loading dock and a freight elevator.
  • Accessibility: Though this is rarely an issue in modern buildings, make sure the event space and surroundings are easily accessible to those with mobility challenges. More broadly, keep in mind the special needs of anyone involved in the event, whether related to hearing, vision, or dietary restrictions.
  • Atmosphere and ambiance: It’s best to have an indoor backup space when organizing an outdoor event. Whether indoors or out, the bottom line is to provide employees with an environment where they can focus on, enjoy, and get the most out of your team bonding activity.

While activities like game shows and professional development workshops are clearly best held indoors, many team building activities can be adapted to various venues, including outdoor spaces. CSR programs like Earth Wind and Solar (in which participants build and race mini solar cars) and our new Hydrophonics for Hunger activity work well in either environment. Team building events like our Build-a-Raft Competition, Co-Kart Competition, and of course SmartHunts corporate scavenger hunts are designed to get your people outside.

Step 6: Delegate Tasks

Make the event planning process itself part of your team building effort by delegating tasks to team members. Different individuals can focus on specific tasks such as venue selection, food & beverage, or vendor research while coordinating efforts to bring the event together.

Assemble your planning committee by including employees with different skills and personality types. Involving employees with different perspectives helps to ensure that no important details or considerations are overlooked.

Establish clear communication channels and use corporate planning tools if available: Slack,, Google Sheets, whatever you have in place and works best for your team. Work backwards from the event date to schedule key planning milestones and due dates.

Within the event itself, some programs involve assigning team members to specific roles; for example, a designated timekeeper and videographer in an Amazing Chase SmartHunt®. In other programs such as our Operation Toy Donation CSR activity, team members rotate between different stations, giving every participant the chance to perform each of the tasks involved.

Step 7: Promote the Event

As the planning process progresses, use email or your preferred corporate messaging system to keep your people informed about the process and build excitement. Early on in your process, consider sending out a survey or poll to gather feedback from employees to help in your planning process. If you go this route, keep it short, and make sure you’re only asking for ideas or input that you will actually use.

For people who may be skeptical about the value, include FAQs and testimonials. Customer feedback from other clients that have used your team building company of choice is helpful, but testimonials from your own employees—if possible—are even more powerful.

Create a sequence of messages to help build interest and excitement. Once you have the details nailed down, send personalized invitations to each employee, either through email, physical mail, or internal communication channels. Make the invitation visually appealing and include essential details such as the date, time, location, and agenda of the event. In subsequent messages, highlight the benefits of participation, and emphasize how it aligns with the company’s goals and values.

Pre-event, consider offering incentives, small rewards, or recognition for early sign-up. If your team building event will be a competition (and many are), let participants know in advance what the prize or acknowledgement will be for the top-placing teams.

Step 8: Prepare for the Big Day

Use an online calendar or schedule to make sure all of your advance tasks stay on track. Create a checklist to make sure everything is in place and taken care of as the event date approaches.

Confirm your venue registration, food and beverage (if applicable), and arrangements with any outside vendor involved: decorators, A/V companies, your team building company, and any other service or equipment providers.

Provide all employees with clear instructions and any details or activity guidelines they need to know in order to arrive on time, ready, and excited to participate!

Keeping in mind Murphy’s Law, have backup plans in place. In case your caterer doesn’t show or cancels at the last minute, have numbers for other nearby restaurants handy. If you’re planning an outdoor activity, decide if it’s feasible to have an indoor space reserved as a backup. And in case something major, or multiple things, goes wrong, have a secondary date arranged or other postponement plan.

Step 9: Lead Team Building Events with Expert Facilitators

Any type of employee get-together can be fun, but professional corporate team building is more than that; it’s fun with a purpose. Business team building programs are designed with core pillars in place, among them problem-solving, communications, collaboration, and creativity.

To get the most out of the team building experience you are planning, and accomplish your specific business objectives, it’s vital to have an expert, experienced facilitator to provide you with pre-event guidance as well as deliver a productive, memorable event.

You probably don’t plan team building events as your full-time job. That’s why hiring a professional team building company can be so beneficial; it’s all they do, so they know all of the assessment questions to ask, details you need to consider, and recommendations for the best activity to achieve your goals. They can help guide your planning and preparation, making life easier and less stressful for you and your planning committee while ensuring seamless execution and optimal engagement.

Be sure to include Best Corporate Events on your short list of providers. Why work with us? Well, in addition to being able to deliver any of our 120+ programs anywhere in the U.S. to groups of any size, we are the highest-rated team building company in America. We offer exceptional customer service, including a comprehensive client portal to keep you informed and everything on track, plus an unmatched commitment to CSR, with a large warehouse that enables us to keep assembly kits in stock and relationships with nonprofits nationwide.

Step 10: Debrief and Get Feedback

Okay, so Yogi Berra wasn’t talking about team building specifically when he uttered, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” But he could have been.

Your team building event isn’t over when the facilitator leaves the conference room and everyone heads to the hotel bar for happy hour.

To fully optimize the return on your team building investment, it’s vital to gather feedback from the attendees. Post-event, send out a survey to employees to gather their reactions and comments. Include questions such as:

  1. How would you rate the pre-event communications in terms of keeping you informed and generating interest?
  2. How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the team-building event?
  3. Understanding the goal for the event was (insert your key objective here), how well do you feel the event accomplished that objective?
  4. What aspects of the event did you enjoy the most?
  5. How do you think this experience will change work processes or practices here?
  6. How well did the facilitator do at keeping you engaged and giving you an opportunity to contribute?
  7. Were there any specific activities or exercises that you found particularly valuable or impactful? Why?
  8. What suggestions do you have for improving future team-building events?
  9. Are there any specific activities or topics you would like to see included in future events?
  10. Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns related to the event?

Inviting open-ended responses rather than asking simple yes/no questions will give you a better sense, in your employees’ own words, of what worked well and what could be changed or done better in the future. Though it’s a bit more work to evaluate those responses, this approach will provide you with richer qualitative feedback to improve your future team building events.

Plan the Ultimate Team Building Events with Best Corporate Events

To plan the perfect team building event with measurable business value to your team, start with the end in mind—what are your goals, what are you trying to achieve? Virtually all team building programs include core pillars like improving communication and collaboration, enhancing problem-solving, and building trust. Specific programs can help businesses more effectively manage challenges like bringing new teams together after a merger or onboarding new employees.

Working with a professional team building provider can help ensure your event achieves your business objectives. Ready to plan your next team building event? Contact Best Corporate Events today for expert guidance and customized programs for your workplace.

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