As a part-time graduate student at the University of Tampa, I recently participated in a leadership ropes course with my MBA management class as a team building exercise. It was an interesting and fun way to encourage teamwork, collaboration, and problem solving in a completely different setting than we were used to. Many companies are using gamification in this way to revamp their learning and development initiatives, improve employee satisfaction as well as employee engagement, while also empowering employees to think outside the box in creative and unique ways. Gamification aims to bring fun and engagement to the workplace, and these activities do exactly that. If you're wondering what the benefits of this are, 87 percent of highly engaged employees are less likely to leave their jobs and losing an employee can cost as much as 2x their annual salary. So, retaining employees matters!
We're sharing five quick team building activities you can pitch to help boost employee engagement, satisfaction, and teamwork in your workplace.
LEADERSHIP ROPE COURSES
Leadership rope courses provide personal development and the opportunity to challenge teams to overcome obstacles collaboratively and creatively. They can consist of a combination of high and low elements. Courses consisting mainly of low elements, are designed to break down barriers, encourage teams to try new things, establish trust, and problem solve. One such activity I participated in, involved our team standing in a row on a log and our task was to get in descending order according to birth date, without stepping off the log or speaking to one another. Like most of the tasks, it was quite difficult but achievable with quick collaboration and innovative thinking. A simple Google search should show you the leadership rope courses available in your area!
Escape rooms are a physical adventure game where players are locked in a room and must use elements and clues from the room to solve a series of puzzles in order to escape within a given timeframe. They require strong teamwork, communication, and the delegation of skills. Room escape games, originally opening in Japan in 2007, have increasingly grown in popularity worldwide. According to MarketWatch, escape rooms have increased from virtually zero in 2010 to over 2,800 today.
While most people are familiar with scavenger hunts from their childhood years, some companies are using this activity to help with team building and engagement. In fact, many cities have dedicated organizations who specialize in corporate scavenger hunts designed by team building experts. These hunts aim to improve the ability to prioritize, strategize, establish team roles, time management, and creative thinking. If this isn't available in your location, there are many non-profit organizations who run scavenger hunts in order to raise money for their cause. This allows employees to participate in a fun team bonding activitiy while simultaneously giving back to their community. If you're wanting to take a more personal approach, Pinterest has an abundance of scavenger hunt ideas to get you started!
If you want to focus specifically on local communities, why not suggest a volunteer day for your teams. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and service, naturally fueling a positive team environment. You can help animal shelters, feed the homeless, care for the elderly, or consider doing something for a specific cause that aligns with your organizational culture. Community service encourages camaraderie. In fact, 64 percent of employees who currently volunteer said that volunteering with coworkers strengthened their relationships. Additionally, promoting corporate social responsibility initiatives on your website and across social media is a great way to attract new talent as well as retaining employees you currently have.
OTHER UNIQUE ACTIVITIES
Although off-site activities can be highly engaging for employees, this isn't always an option. Rest assured, there are a variety of minimal-effort activities that can be organized in the office. Quick team building activities include games like two truths and one lie, office trivia, and minefield. Two truths and one lie can act as a fun icebreaker or strategy for getting to know your team. Each person states three facts about themselves, one being a lie, and the others must guess which statement is the lie. Office trivia could be played with traditional trivia questions, or could be altered so that the questions test how well you know each other and the office itself. For example, “how many people are in the marketing department,” or “what color tiles are in the breakroom?” Minefield requires teams of two and an empty room where you can set up an obstacle of fake mines – paper will work just fine. One partner is blindfolded, and the other must guide them, through effective communication skills, from one end of the minefield to the other without hitting the mines.
There are a variety of other team bonding games out there, and most of these activities work with virtual teams as well!