Corporate team building retreats have gotten a lot of bad rep over the years, with the general census from employees being they either love them or hate them. So are they are a waste of time and money...?
Heck no! When planned and executed correctly, corporate team building retreats are guaranteed to help your business activities live up to their true potential.
Corporate Play Days vs Real Team Building
Somewhere along the line the term team building has been hijacked to refer to events that are strictly recreational, from white water rafting to hitting the bar after work, if it's an activity where co-workers are participating then it's being labelled as team building. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against fun, but real team building should be focused on achieving specific business goals.
Recreational and corporate events are integral to organizational health as they build relationships, boost morale, and provide an outlet for stress, but they are in no way a substitute for real team building.
What Real Team Building Is All About
Corporate team building retreats need to be centered around your organization's goals and objectives. If your teaming building is not planned and executed well, at best, it will only serve to offer a short term boost in morale and enthusiasm.
Your overall aim should be to provide all team members with the tools and strategies needed to work together effectively, make better decisions and confidently resolve business issues.
When it comes to the fun factor, although recreation isn't the primary purpose, you don't want your team building retreat to be an event where no one ever laughs or feels like they can let off steam. It is much easier to break down barriers and improve communication when participants are relaxed.
5 Key Ingredients For Successful Team Building
Successful team building exercises are built around strong business objectives as without these the activities may not actually enhance workplace performance after the course has ended. Here are 5 key ingredients to ensure successful team building:
1. A briefing led by a high level executive in which the objectives of the corporate team building retreat are clearly defined.
2. A briefing by the team building facilitator, who is able to define the relevance between the corporate team building exercises and the day to day situations which the lessons can be applied to.
3. A client specific debriefing session in which the facilitator is able to discuss how delegates can transfer the skills and knowledge into their own workplace and job role.
4. Practical business application sessions where the attendees get to practice new skills learned in a business specific challenge.
5. A thorough debrief with Q&A session so that candidates are able to close off on any remaining uncertainties or issues which they would like clarified. This can be an important step in motivated them to implement the lessons learned once they return to the workplace.
Team Building Elements You Should Never Be Without
There are many different approaches to team building activities, but some of the elements which you should never be without include:
-- A simulation which replicates real life business scenarios, enabling participants to tackle high pressure or complex situations while still immersed in a training environment.
-- A certain number of recreational challenges which allow delegates to meet, mingle, and relax.
-- Group problem solving exercises which require co-operation and communication to complete.
-- Difficult but achievable team projects which allow them to taste success while learning new skills.
The One Killer Team Building Activity Every Retreat Should Feature
When it comes to successful team building activities each organization will be different, but one of the most desirable goals that every business wishes to improve upon, and for good reason, is enhancing communication.
This one activity is guaranteed to produce phenomenal results and can be carried out over a period of days between other tasks:
Split people into two teams, generally one person from each different department, and ask them to come up with a new marketing campaign to help grow your business. Ask them to take it from the initiation right through to completion and then present the completed project to the executive leadership team.
The campaign stages should include budget, sourcing, marketing, sale, production and shipping.
Why this activity is super effective is that each person gets a first hand insight into each other's pain points. There is also enough time for everyone to express the reasons why they need to get the information they have been asking for. Team members end up sharing ideas throughout the process to help their co-workers, while simultaneously becoming less resistant to requests.This activity is also a particularly powerful tool for breaking down cliques that may be forming within departments, making it easier for the organization to cross-function.
Top 10 Benefits of Team Building Retreats
If you want to take your organization to the next level then corporate team building retreats are the way to do it. It's not often that you get the chance to tap into the collective wisdom of your employees in a creative setting away from the workplace.
Team building can be a powerful vehicle for:
1. Improving Interaction - Corporate team building retreats can help to get colleagues interacting with each other in a much more cohesive manner.
2. Enhancing Communication - Good communication is one of the key lessons learned, and this helps every aspect of workplace performance.
3. Growing Confidence - This type of training environment promotes confidence building, which can be built upon in the future.
4. Rewarding - For many employees, a corporate team building retreat will be seen as a great reward for hard work.
5. Completing Goals and Objectives - The feeling of success in challenging team building tasks is motivating for all involved, installing a positive mentality in delegates.
6. Recruitment - Managers and executives can learn a lot about a person during a team building retreat, and this helps when making recruitment and promotion decisions.
7. Skill Building - An excellent way of building new skill sets in a perfect learning environment
8. Conflict Resolution - Sometimes tensions can arise in the workplace and during a retreat the exercises and lessons can break down barriers and lower tensions between co-workers.
9. Gaining Support for New Initiatives and Ideas - New initiatives and ideas can be more easily accepted and understood if introduced through these means.
10. Improving Work Cohesion - Skills learned during retreats will help workplace communication, comradery, and overall productivity.
Are you planning a corporate team building retreat? Do you have any ideas or inspiration to share?