In this in-depth guide, we’ll cover everything there is to know about team building – theories, ideas, strategies, and actionable advice.
Every organization is built around teams. The better the health of your teams, the better the health of your company. Simple! 💪
Team, teamwork, team building- the ‘T’ word dominates the business world of the 21st century.
How can you make teams better?
By investing in team-building exercises, activities, and approaches, you can turn them into an efficient, effective team.
That’s why we created this Team Building Guide to provide the knowledge you need to build successful teams.
Section 1: What Is Team Building
An organization is made up of People (no matter what’s your business). And these people organize themselves into small teams to complete specific tasks.
In simple terms, a team is a group of people coming together for a common purpose.
Team building is a process that refers to the tactics and actions you or your business takes to turn a group of individuals into a cohesive team.
A team that works together performs and excels. They know what their goals are and how exactly they can go about achieving them- together. 🙌
According to Wikipedia:
“Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks.”
In the next section, we are going to delve deeper into the importance of team building.
Section 2: Why Team Building Is Important
Team building is a process, Don’t expect an immediate return. Your team doesn’t suddenly start working well overnight following a team-building exercise; it takes time to see results.
All of this can make you question – “Is team building really worth the investment?”
The answer is a BIG ‘yes.’
One meta-analysis of academic literature on team building found that: “Team building has a moderate positive effect across all team outcomes.”
Here are just some of the benefits of team building:
1. It Boosts Morale
Team building has a significant effect on the morale of your employees. Everyday work routine can be monotonous and turn into a tedious affair. Therefore, your team members may be left with little to no motivation.
As a result, this can hamper productivity and innovation at work. When you organize team-building activities, it acts as a breath of fresh air and gives a good break from work. Similarly, it also encourages them to bring out their creative side.
2. It Helps Teams to Get to Know Each Other Better
Your team members might be individually good at their jobs. But, as a team, you need to have them work together to accomplish a project or a task at hand.
Team building activities can play a huge role in helping employees get to know each other better. Not only can they learn from each other, but they also accomplish a task faster without any hesitation.
3. It Improves Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking
Team building promotes the critical thinking abilities of your employees. For example, if you propose a problem and ask your team members to present innovative ideas to solve it, they will have to think critically.
Moreover, if that activity involves partnering with a team member to achieve a goal, it will help bring out the best in each other.
4. It Improves Internal Communication
Lack of communication can have a profound impact on the functioning of a group. If your team members cannot convey a task’s problems or requirements to each other, chances are your project can take much longer to complete.
To promote healthy communication and help your team members better understand each other, initiate team-building activities once a week.
5. It Fosters a Feeling of Safety
Whether your employees are working from home or in the workplace, it is possible for them to feel left out. However, when you organize team-building activities, your employees feel a part of a group. Remote workers have a sense of belonging and feel safe in association with the organization.
Section 3: Team Building Trends and Stats
Are you looking for the latest employee team-building stats and trends?
Over the past decade, new collaborative tools and technologies have changed how we think about employee team building. But what do the actual numbers say about team building? Here are some important statistics.
About 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important,” yet only 18% of employees get communication evaluations at their performance reviews. (Source)
97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. (Source)
37% of employees say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying. (Source)
Worldwide, there was a nearly 2500% increase in interest in online and virtual team building activities during the quarantine. (Source)
A Harward study found being familiar with your team improves your performance over time. (Source)
More than one-quarter of companies (26%) have provided their employees with greater access to communication technology in the past 30 days. (Source)
According to the Gensler US Workplace Survey, 43% of employees want workplaces that promote collaboration. (Source)
50% of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace can be accredited to social interaction outside of the workplace. (Source)
Female employees who have a best friend (63%) at the workplace are two times more likely to be fully engaged at work than those who do not have a best friend at the workplace (29%). (Source)
Section 4: Team Building Approaches
What do you think of when you hear the word “team building”?
Do you think of boring events and boring “team activities”? Or a combination of coaching, mentorship programs, and training?
Team building covers intentional activities – team building games, events, and off-sites – and process-driven approaches such as developing better communication habits.
In the Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics Methods, organizational psychologist Eduardo Salas identifies four approaches to team building:
When you’re leading a team, one of the most important tasks is to set clear goals for them. Being applicable to individual roles, clear goals motivate employees and help them see the big picture of your business objectives. Additionally, they make sure that individual tasks for employees align closely with the organization’s growth goals.
Another important aspect of goals is to make them attainable. While they must be challenging, it is best to strike the right balance between the two.
A SMART goal framework that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely can really help in getting started with clear goals and bring everyone together in a team.
Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Lack of clarity in goals can be major morale and productivity killer in a team. Teams must be in consensus with the goals of all team members.
To ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands each other’s contribution well, carry out a small exercise.
- Ask each person in your team to write their responsibilities according to their priorities.
- The next step is to ask them to write the top responsibilities of different team members.
- Review the notes and look for any core roles and responsibilities that were not covered by your team.
- Let your team members compare each other’s notes to look for any differences in understanding. This can share a picture of how each team member perceives the role of others.
- In the final step, conclude the exercise by creating a RACI chart that helps define each team member’s roles and responsibilities, enabling everyone to better understand each other’s contributions.
Team-based Problem Solving
The aim of this approach is to encourage team-based problem-solving. A smart strategy would be to start with small tasks and initiates so that everyone can come together to find a collaborative solution for the problem.
Remember to acknowledge accomplishments that ultimately strengthen team building decision making. The goal is to give everyone the tools and trust they need to find resources within and outside the team to solve a problem.
The secret to team building lies in building positive relationships with team members. A good manager builds a team based on the pillars of successful teamwork, which are mutual trust, support, and clear communication. Team building can improve your relationship with your employees in both active and passive ways.
Even though the conflict in interpersonal work relations cannot be completely avoided, a positive approach can lead it to its fast resolution.
Section 5: Team Building Best Practices
You need to put a lot of work into creating an environment of mutual respect and trust among team members. This is not a small task.
So, whether you’re someone who’s responsible for facilitating team-building activities, or you’re a team leader or manager looking for ways to add some fun for your teams, below are some team-building methods:
Team building exercises can be conducted daily with close to no costs. These can help in ultimately strengthening and building a more engaged team. A few team-building activities that you can try are:
Two Truths and a Lie: This is a fun icebreaker game and takes as little as 10-15 minutes to complete. It is a creative way of bringing in coworkers who have not directly worked with each other.
To conduct this, all you have to ask from your co-workers is to share three things about themselves, two of which are the truth while one is a lie. The task for the group is to identify the lie.
The Egg Drop Challenge: Another great activity to bring your team together is the egg drop challenge. Offer different groups some packaging materials that they can use to protect their eggs from a steep drop. The challenge is to find the winner whose egg remains intact and survives from breaking.
Show and Tell: Basically, each team member gets one minute to show and talk about something they own. This could be anything – such as your favorite straws, a tug of war trophy, or even a passion project! After each turn, save two minutes for a conversation from the rest of the team.
Team building activities can also be taken out of the office for an amplified effort. Take a look at the ideas below:
Volunteering: Be it a Christmas charity program or helping the underprivileged on Thanksgiving, volunteering and bringing teams together in a great way. It helps in giving back to the community and achieving togetherness among team members.
Escape Room: One of the most fun activities is the Escape room. They encourage problem-solving and help people get their heads together to get out of the locked room!
Retreat: Offsite retreats can be an amazing way for team building. While it involves more cost, it can also offer more time and space for teams that don’t work together to bond with each other.
How cohesive is your team? Does it have any shortcomings that you can objectively measure? Finding answers to these questions is the goal of team assessments.
Adopting frameworks like the Five Behaviours Model can go a long way in team assessment. They help employees perceive their strengths and open communication as a team.
A smart way to select your team is to bring people who have similar traits together. For example, personality tests help the group understand more about each other by learning more about the aspects of their personalities that can result in gelling up or clashing with each other.
The Myers-Briggs test is one of the most successful personality tests that divides people into 16 different personality types, helping each other learn about their strengths and weaknesses.
Employee Recognition and Reward system
69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were appreciated. This is why you must create an online recognition platform for your remote employees. Recognition and appreciation will vary from organization to organization, and how you appreciate employees will depend on your unique company needs.
EngageWith is an employee recognition and rewards platform that enriches your company culture and builds a truly engaged team.
Section 6: Remote Team Building
There is no question about it: remote work is on a sharp rise worldwide.
BlueFace predicts that by 2025, remote working will compete with office locations.
This brings up a unique remote work challenge for organizations: how do you build a cohesive team if your team members aren’t in the same office?
Here are some approaches for remote team building:
A virtual Ice-breaker is a great way to keep your remote teams engaged and learn more about each other. Ice-breaker is a game or activity that you can do with your team members to get to know each other and start the conversation. Virtual ice-breakers are the same, but they are done via video calls.
You can introduce new hires to teammates in a fun way to make them feel comfortable. Virtual ice-breakers allow you to learn more about your teammates’ personalities and thoughts.
Virtual Team Building Activities
Remote team building is much different than in-office team building. When your team is never in the same room together, you have to take a different approach to build your company culture.
Make it a top priority for your remote teams to engage in fun team-building activities. Remote games will help to build a genuine human connection with remote workers.
See how everyone is doing. Schedule a team check-in at the start of every new week. Share experiences on how life is at home and what’s keeping everyone busy once work is done for the day.
Host a virtual lunch hour where everyone can log in and savor their meals together. For your colleagues living out the pandemic by themselves, it’s a good way to make them feel they’re not alone.
Develop a Remote Communication Plan/Policy
Creating a remote work policy can go a long way in remote team building. This helps you keep all your employees on the same page.
Remember that your work policy doesn’t have to be boring, as it can also include your mandatory fun and idea meetings. A work policy also helps employees feel more connected to work and abide by the set of rules.
Highlight your expectations from every employee and establish a clear purpose to give your team a direction at work.
Meeting Face to Face
While virtual meetings and activities are great, getting the team to meet face-to-face at least once a year is also important.
Remote workers don’t get many opportunities to meet in person unless company retreats are planned. A retreat is important for teams to understand better who they work with and how each team member thinks.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Technology and tools can help remote workers to overcome communication barriers. Each team member must have the tools designated for a specific communication need to stay connected. For instance, there is Slack for instant messages, Zoom for virtual meetings, and Figma for project collaboration and brainstorming.
Section 7: A List of Team Building Tools and Resources!
How your people communicate and collaborate isn’t just a matter of culture and competence but also of the tools and training, they have access to.
Successfully introducing the right kind of team-building tool can be the critical factor in differentiating your company.
What makes for a good team-building tool? It should:
- Keep employees connected.
- Make team building fun and engaging.
- Meet your team where they’re at.
- Share real-time analytics.
- Scale easily.
- Create a positive environment.
Let’s access a list of team-building tools and solutions:
Team Collaboration Tools
Collaboration tools allow teams to interact, collaborate, share knowledge, and provide transparency. Here are some excellent team communication tools:
Slack: Unlike email, Slack conversations are easy to follow, and they’re more than conversations.
MS Teams: MS Teams provides a unique digital platform for team communication and management in messaging apps’ ever-crowded market.
Google Chat: Google Chat is an intelligent and secure communications tool built for teams. From direct messages to group chats.
By the way, these communication tools integrate with our team building tool Trivia. Two birds, one stone. Check out this article:
How to Play Trivia Games right inside Microsoft Teams
Project Management Tools
A project management tool that can help you manage your projects and team in a better manner. Here are some best project management tools:
Trello: It organizes your projects and tasks into boards. In one glance, It tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on a specific task, and what’s the status.
Teamwork: It helps in-house & remote teams improve collaboration, visibility, accountability, and ultimately results.
Wrike: It comes with features like Gantt charts, Workload View for resource management, Custom Dashboards, structuring via Folders, Projects, and tasks & auto-assignment based on task statuses.
Planning and Goal Setting
Here are the best tools that you can use for setting and planning team goals!
Milestone Planner: From strategic planning to managing the tactical things that need to get done, Create a timeline, set milestones, invite your team, and start making progress today.
Todoist: This tool helps you organize your ideas and set both small and significant goals. Structure your tasks with labels, priorities, and filters.
Fun Team Building Games and Exercises
Trivia: Trivia is the new way to connect with your in-house or remote team while playing exciting virtual quizzes and remote games. Try Trivia with your team to create a fun team culture. Try our free demo. 🎉
Peer to Peer Recognition Tool
EngageWith: Employees can appreciate and recognize peers, juniors, or managers by giving them Kudos or Shout outs for a job well done. It builds stronger working relationships and a greater sense of belonging.
Section 8: How Trivia Can Help You to Win Team Building Game
Trivia helps teams forge stronger connections by enabling people to conduct team-building activities and games and feel more productive. Trivia brings together teams to play real-time games right inside Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat.
Because of its seamless integration with these communication tools, employees can get started with quick breaks at any point of the day without any prior planning.
– Trivia helps you improve the team’s morale and sense of belonging by bringing them together through interactive games.
– Get together as a team, spread fun, build positive team culture, and make the transition smoother into your workweek. It helps remote teams to get to know each other and build stronger connections.
– With Trivia’s suite of games and Custom Quizzes, give your teams a break, inject some fun and levity into their busy work.
– We recently introduced scheduler feature to schedule fun games and quizzes.
– Teams love the element of fun and believe that it improves work ethics. Trivia’s team building games and activities help to create a positive work environment and help strengthen your company culture.
Team Building FAQs
Team building is a technique for improving the efficiency and performance of the workgroups through collaborative activities. You need a lot of skills, analysis, and observation for forming a strong and capable team.
In the above guide, you’ll find practical tips and best practices on what businesses can do to bring their teams closer today.
Virtual team building is the ongoing process of bringing remote teams together. You can always run a virtual team-building program.
– Improve communication and interpersonal skills
– Provide an environment for healthy competition
– Boost productivity within a team
– Promote innovation and creativity
– Test a team in unforeseen situations
– Have some fun with the team
– Lack of understanding of why team building is important
– Lacking commitment of management and executive team
– Complex and tedious activities
– Forgetting that it’s not about competition, but improving collaboration
Over To You!
Hope you find this team-building guide helpful. This guide should give you the direction you need to start your team building process.
Just focus on communication, emphasize collaboration and use the right tools. Try some team-building activities to address any gaps in your team’s cohesion, and you’ll build a strong team.
What are some of your favorite team building tips and tactics? Share them with us in the comments below!