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Team-Building Tips and Activities to Boost Employee Morale and Engagement


Think back to the best job you ever had. What made it a great experience? Very likely, those happy memories harken back to the positive way you and other employees interacted. And there’s a good chance your group felt good about what you accomplished as a team.

That’s what team building is all about. Employers know that employees who trust each other and communicate well tend to be happy at their jobs and perform well. And while a few teams are lucky enough to have good chemistry, it’s more often the case that companies need to implement programs designed to improve teamwork skills.

Employee team-building activities can boost morale, motivation, and engagement. They involve exercises that strengthen communication, trust, and problem solving, while participants often find them to be challenging and fun.

Team builders can take different forms and vary in cost. Some can be expensive, such as off-site retreats, while others carry no cost, such as an on-site lunch discussion.

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Four tips to developing effective team builders

Here are some important things to keep in mind when organizing team-building activities for your employees:

  1. Strengthening teamwork skills is good for everyone. While it’s most important to address departments with communication issues, even employees that already work well together can still improve their teamwork skills. In fact, companies as a whole can benefit by teaching teamwork skills to all their workers.
  2. Customize your programs. Make sure your programs are well thought out. Hiring a consulting company is often a worthy investment. Cutting corners and offering a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to participants feeling frustrated and that the exercises are a waste of time.
  3. Always start with an icebreaker. You want participants to relax and feel comfortable with each other, especially if they don’t know each other well. So you might start out with a silly game before progressing to more challenging activities.
  4. Make team building a part of company culture. Team building doesn’t always have to be a formal program. In fact, it can be put into practice every day. Some examples include:
    • book clubs
    • mentoring
    • bowling tournaments
    • holiday gift exchanges
    • off-site lunches
    • charitable volunteering
    • sponsored sporting events

5 low-cost team-building activities for employees

Here are 5 team-building activities your company can offer employees at very little cost; all are designed to boost communication, trust, problem-solving, and cooperation.

  1. Storytelling on the Fly
    This game is played with 2 people who are designated as the Dealer and the Storyteller. The Dealer is given a stack of cards (each with a unique picture) which is kept hidden from the Storyteller. Every 3 seconds, the Dealer places a card face up on a table between them in whatever order he or she wishes. The objective of the game is for the Storyteller to tell a story prompted by the cards being placed down, while the Dealer assists the Storyteller by carefully selecting cards that make it easier to move the story forward.
  2. Charades or Drawing the Answer
    This is a competitive exercise between 2 teams based on the games Charades or Pictionary. One member of the team is given a card with a prompt. That person has to act out the prompt or draw it while the other team members have 3 minutes to guess what it is. The team that guesses correctly the most number of times win.
  3. Group Puzzler
    For this exercise, a team has limited time to complete a physical puzzle, such as a jigsaw puzzle, a lock, or a Rubik’s Cube. One person is selected as the only person who may touch the puzzle. The other team members assist by offering feedback without talking over each other or touching the puzzle.
  4. Egg-Drop Challenge
    This game is played with teams of 3, each of which is given a raw egg. In the center of the room is a pile of various boxes, packing materials, and tools. Each team must devise a way to contain the egg so that when it is dropped from 8 feet above a hard surface, it doesn’t break.
  5. Scavenger Hunt
    Groups of 10 people each compete to find objects that appear on a list. Each item on the list has a clue next to it as to where it’s hidden. Team members organize themselves with the objective to be the first to find the objects. They can fan out and, as they find items, communicate with each other by text. The first team assembled back at the starting place with all the items wins.

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