Top tips for effective team-building activities

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Event expert Jenny Pink gives tips for staging successful team-building events

Although the prospect of them can often be met with dread, as well as concerns about having to catch up with missed work, there is much evidence to suggest that team-building activities can have an extremely positive effect on the workplace, its efficiency and its effectiveness.

The fact that team-building activities boast such positive effects is, of course, one of the main reasons for their continued popularity; however, for every manager who insists on regular and routine events, there are others who have yet to harness the advantages for their own workforce.

In the case that you’ve decided to lay on a team-building event but have no idea how to start your planning or what to include, the five following tips could prove invaluable:

1. Clear Expectations

Before setting off, you’ll know exactly what you expect to happen and what you hope to achieve. Also make sure that your staff members know what’s expected of them.

It may be the case that you don’t want to fully brief them on what you want to achieve, as this could influence the way they behave and act, but it’s well worth considering carefully just how much information you intend to share.

Without clear expectations and the foreknowledge of what they’re expected to do and how they should go about doing it, then you may find a mess or the wrong results.

Your staff relies on you for guidance within the workplace, and whatever your style of management, you should set in place what they should be doing on the exercise.

2. Commitment

One of the key aspects of a successful corporate event is to have full commitment from everyone involved. It goes without saying that if you’re enthusiastic about your event, willing to “muck in” and lead your team by example, they’re more likely to get right behind you rather than straddling at the back and resisting the process. There will always be one or two who don’t want to get involved but if everyone else is on board, then they’ll have little choice but to play their part.

3. The Right Team Dynamic

Without trying to, we form friendships and relationships within the workplace, and you’ve probably seen the same people heading out for lunch together every day or discussing their social lives. The problem with friendships is that they’re not always healthy for the workplace. For a healthy result, it’s well worth considering breaking these cliques and pairing workers with people they might not normally socialize or work closely with for a dynamic result.

4. Consequences

Saying the words "team-building exercise" might not give your staff enough of an idea of why the event is so important to you and how it will benefit them. However, consider the impact of giving an en-route team talk or even preparing a hand-out for staff to read and immediately you’ve got a workforce that is on-board and ready for action.

5. Continuation after the exercise.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a manager is to return from the exercise having learned nothing. Continuing the momentum, however, means that all of the positive feelings and relationships you built during the day are continued.

Jenny Pink is the managing director of Accomplished Events, a U.K.-based company providing team-building events as well as venue-finding services.

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