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How to improve teamwork and create a positive employee experience with team building activities

People are the most important assets of an organization. Although organizations begin with ideas, execution and having the right people at the right time is key to it’s success. When teams believe in an organization’s vision and strive for it, organizations thrive. Unengaged employees who are not motivated to achieve the organization’s vision are a hindrance to a company’s growth and result in high employee turnover and high human resource expenses. Therefore, providing a positive employee experience and a collaborative environment is essential for an organization’s growth.

While there are multiple ways to enhance employee experience, team building activities can have a profound impact. Research has shown that when employees feel connected to each other or build friendships at work they are 63% more likely to be engaged.

However, with team building activities being increasingly popular and frequent, organizations are seen to be organizing them without proper planning or purpose. Poorly organized team building activities can further stress employees and dampen interest. Being creative with team building activities and planning them together with your participating teams will garner interest and enthusiasm from employees. For example, team building activities in Singapore have gone from being mundane ice-breakers to team cooking sessions, virtual escape rooms, food quests, heritage tours etc.

These creative activities make it fun for participants rather than feeling like being forced to participate. Also, sometimes employees feel awkward to participate in these activities owing to the internal conflict in teams.

Nevertheless, here are a few ways in which well-planned and creative team building activities not only bring together teams but also create a positive experience:

Encourage employees to build personal relationships

When employees do not share personal relationships or become rigid at workplace, teams do not function effectively. Although, some managers view personal relationships as a threat to productivity, they are crucial for team collaboration and long term productivity. Team building activities help employees connect on a personal level and explore shared interests. These personal relationships and team bonding will prove crucial in times of conflict too. Teams that get along together personally are more likely to resolve conflict and progress.

Cultivate a culture of empathy and trust

Empathy and Trust are the foundation of a healthy organizational culture. When team members do not trust each other, the environment becomes non-conducive for collaboration, creativity, or innovation. Moreover, when employees do not trust their employer, they are unlikely to put forth their best efforts in achieving the vision of the organization. Team building activities help team members interact with each other on a personal level and trust each other. When they share a personal bond, they are also more likely to empathise with each other. Trust building activities are more effective when they address vulnerabilities of individuals. Some examples of these activities are truth or dare, skill building activities, or blindfold games.

Recognizing and rewarding employees

Employees who feel recognized and rewarded for their efforts are more likely to contribute better and remain productive in the long run. Organizing team building activities regularly shows that organizations are committed to employee well-being and recognize their efforts. Organizing lunches to celebrate team’s progress or giving shout outs, movie nights or sharing rewards are great activities to appreciate your team’s efforts. You can also take this a step further by having a recognition program in place. This encourages teams and leaders to recognize employees and celebrate milestones. This type of programs nurture relationships and bring a positive enthusiasm in teams.

Empowering employees to grow personally

Team building activities that are targeted towards helping employees grow individually or cultivating a growth mindset have a significant impact on employee experience. Investing in employee’s personal growth is also an investment into the overall wellbeing of the organization as organizations are made of people. Aligning personal goals of employees with team goals will improve team work to a large extent. This will also prevent employees from feeling isolated or disconnected with team goals. Some examples of these activities are mindfulness activities or feedback sharing activities. But these do not have to be boring. To make these more light-hearted you can also opt for creative activities where teams come together to build something from scratch. This will enhance the leadership potential of your employees and motivate them to take charge when needed.

Breaking barriers and having fun

It is not uncommon for teams to experience barriers. In remote work, the barriers are more prominent owing to less opportunities to build personal relationships with team members. Executives also sometimes get overwhelmed with work and do not prioritize working with teams personally. All these lead to barriers like team silos, competitive work environments, conflict, or unproductive teams. Team building activities help in breaking barriers and having fun. Helping team members get out of the shell and engage with each other while having fun will help in relieve them of stress or feeling burned out. Moreover, all of us have been restricted to home life for over a year due to the lockdowns during the pandemic. So, having fun while working can help employees relax, rejuvenate, and engage with each other.

Team building activities are a long term investment into an organization’s culture and it’s people.

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Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.