Every employer wants his or her team to work well together. Working toward a shared goal is one of the best ways to encourage bonding between your employees. And sometimes, you just have to kick back and have fun to really get people to open up. From fun to competitive, and at a variety of costs, several suggestions are listed in this article for activities that will boost employee morale even higher.
Below are our eight favorite team-building exercises we’ve used to build camaraderie.
1) Three Truths And A Lie
Each person writes down three true statements about themselves and a false statement. When it’s their turn, they read all four statements out loud and the staff has to guess which one isn’t true. This game will get your more introverted office members sharing interesting items they wouldn’t normally bring up, and gives your more extroverted employees a chance to learn about some of their coworkers. Encourage your extroverts to start the game so people gain a level of comfort and see how easy (and fun) it is to share something about themselves.
When we use this icebreaker, we always learn new things about our staff members – even ones we have worked with for years. This is a game that can really help people connect with those who may have initially thought they had nothing in common. It’s also a great opportunity for new employees to learn more about the rest of your team.
2) Trivia Night
You already know the people in accounting can crunch numbers, but did you know one of them is an expert in 16th century classical music? A group trivia night is a great way to share some friendly competition between departments. We would suggest offering prizes for the winning team to really get people involved. This activity will show you how well your team can work together, especially if they don’t always have the answers.
Trust falls are cliche (and uncomfortable if someone fails to catch the person who’s falling), but this game will help your teammates build trust with blindfolds on as well. Before your group gathering, make a “course” with tape on the ground, and fill it with squeaky objects (such as dog toys). Fill as much of the remaining floor space in the “course” with large pieces of paper. Split your group into teams, with each team selecting a member to wear a blindfold and make his or her way from the start to the end of the course. If someone steps on one of the pieces of paper, they have to freeze until somebody else steps on a squeak toy. Participants have to follow the vocal commands of their non-blindfolded teammates to try and reach the finish line before anyone else’s group does.
This team building activity really helps to build trust and communication. It’s also a great activity to see how well people take direction and listen when someone else is talking.
With the popularity of music lyric videos on YouTube these days, a quick setup with a computer in your conference room can turn lunch hour into karaoke hour. Your employees will have fun trying something lighthearted that everyone’s equally untrained at doing, and they’ll also get to know each other by learning more about each other’s tastes in music.
Another take on this could be having a lip sync battle between employees. Our sales team recently tried karaoke on their sales retreat and it was undeniably one of their favorite parts of the day. This kind of activity is something that is just plain fun. It really helps bring people out of their comfort zone and is a nice way to start, or end, your day.
It may be a little harder to arrange for everyone to meet up outside of work, but most bowling alleys have food and beer, both of which are known to attract people to social gatherings. Maybe you’ll find out you’ve got some competitive bowlers in your office. Or maybe you’ll equally enjoy how bad you all are at bowling. Either way, it’s a good way for your team to bond over a break from sitting at a desk, without requiring everyone to do an intense physical activity.
If your staff members are up for more physical activity, break out the helmets and padding, and head to a paintball range to blow off some steam. Aside from seeing which team will be the last standing, you can play a variety of other styles of matches such as capture the flag, king of the hill, or an individual free-for-all. For your employees who don’t like going outside, explain to them that it’ll be like the Call of Duty video game, with more realistic graphics and less danger.
7) Scavenger Hunt
The best way to find team chemistry might be to send everyone on a search. You can split your teams up as big or as small as you want them to be, and can make an office-wide event out of picking any themes for the items that get selected for the list.
The scavenger hunt is one of our employees’ favorite team-building activities. The entire organization plays. We break off into teams, with each team having ridiculously funny costumes they have to wear the entire hunt. Make no mistake, we are showcasing them to the public the entire time! This is a great opportunity to not only build team confidence, but also a great recruitment tool to show others how much fun your employees have.
However, if you feel like your office is up for a challenge more like “The Amazing Race” than a casual scavenger hunt, check out geocaching, a worldwide scavenger hunting game that can use your phone’s GPS to input coordinates for “treasures” hidden in cities all over by members of the geocaching community.
8) Tower of Cards
Challenge your employees to use their creativity along with their teamwork skills, with nothing more than a couple decks of playing cards. Set a timer, mix up your teams, and challenge the teams to build the tallest tower (that doesn’t fall over) before time runs out. This will be a lighthearted task, but one that throws the teams immediately into the challenge of thinking together and improvising on the fly.
One last, but very important tip: If you’re doing an activity that involves splitting the office up into teams, try to mix up the teams so that people who normally don’t interact with each other are on the same team and get to know each other better. This is one of the ways we have really strengthened our communication between departments.
If your office is looking to mix things up a bit, try any one of these team-building exercises and see what happens.
Carla Leible is the market manager for Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group. She has spent 16 years helping managers become great leaders.