It doesn’t take a sage pronouncement from Jack Welsh or Seth Godin to know that happy employees are better employees. Chipper employees are more productive, they make more sales, and they spread that cheerfulness to customers who are more likely to develop a serious crush on your company. So, how do you keep your crew happy? The surprising answer may be team building games and activities!
Research suggests that team building games and activities can actually boost morale and turn your employees into a lean, mean productivity machine. We can feel you raising your eyebrows. Are we really saying that those goofy trust falls and lame office scavenger hunts can boost your bottom line?
Yes, that’s exactly what we’re saying! In fact, here are seven convincing reasons why team building games are more valuable than you ever imagined.
Builds Team Cohesion
In what are now famously known as the Hawthorne Studies, researcher Elton Mayo asked two female factory workers to pick four additional women to form a “team.” Mayo let this 1930s squad work together in a separate room and observed them for over five years. He found that the team was more productive in assembling telephone relays than a control group. According to an article from HRreview, a leading HR news site, “Mayo concluded that what caused the upshift in productivity was that the six women were now part of one team and had a sense of belonging.”
Team building games encourage your employees to work together to solve problems and achieve success. Shared trials and ultimate victories bring people together, which can translate into better relationships and more teamwork in the office.
Trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, and business relationships are no different. Team building allows employees to build trust in unexpected ways, bonding over mini-golf, escape rooms, or people bingo. A higher sense of trust within a team creates a feeling of safety, making it easier for your employees to ask for support, make out-of-the-box suggestions, and take appropriate risks.
Discovers Hidden Talents
You may have never known that Juan in customer management was a secret engineering buff until he started busting out equations and drafting designs to build a break-proof container for your egg during the two-story drop challenge. Games and challenges bring out hidden talents and let your employees showcase their strengths. This helps your team appreciate all the diverse experiences and perspectives within their ranks and bond with each other in new and important ways.
When you’ve got five minutes left during the team bake-off, shyness goes out the window. It’s time to speak up and sync together as a team to get that beautiful bundt cake over the finish line. Many times, teams or cliques can silo off within a company. When lines of communication are weak (or completely severed), the company’s productivity and bottom line suffer.
It’s no wonder that business guru Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” An organization’s culture can support or sink even the best strategies, and communication is the defining characteristic of culture.
Team building activities force lines of communication open and help your employees gain confidence in speaking with teams, across departments, or up and down the chain of command.
All too often, job titles dictate leadership attitudes in a company. An employee sitting at the bottom of the org chart may not feel comfortable offering up her ideas or pointing out a potential problem. Team building games toss the org chart out the window and place everyone on equal ground. This gives all team members the chance to offer ideas, take charge, and win the day. Cultivating leadership during team activities can encourage confidence and leadership in the office.
Elton Mayo performed another famous experiment as part of The Hawthorne Studies by increasing the brightness of the lights for one group of workers at the Western Electric factory in 1932. Mayo observed that the team working under the brighter lights was more productive than the control group. However, the original group’s improved productivity continued even after the lights were dimmed to their previous wattage.
Mayo was left to conclude that the lights had nothing to do with the productivity of the workers. Instead, he reasoned the workers performed better because managers were taking an interest in them. Offering your team fun and uplifting team-building experiences shows that your company cares about their happiness. Like those factory workers at the Western Electric factory, your employees will reward your efforts with their loyalty and goodwill.
Increases Your Bottom Line
Your employees are the key to your business’s success or failure. They build your products or perform your services. They craft your marketing messages, make the sale, and answer the phone when your customer has a question or concern.
Team building games cultivate better communication, more creativity, appreciation, and leadership skills among your employees, helping them to be a more supportive and cohesive team. Most importantly, these experiences show that your company cares about your employees, which can increase their loyalty and happiness. While it just feels good to lift the spirits of your team, it can also help your bottom line. A study from the University of Warwick found that happy employees were 12% more productive than their neutral or sad sack peers.
If your company could use a 12% boost to your profit sheets, then it’s time to sit down and start thinking about what team building experiences you can provide for your employees!
How to Plan the Perfect Team Building Activities
Now that you know how important team building can be, what team building activities should you plan for your employees? There are a nearly endless amount of options, from taking your team to a baseball game, to having a relaxed barbeque at the CEO’s house, or even daring your team to a karaoke night (all phones turned off!).
In an article for Forbes, CEO Brian Scudamore warns companies against planning activities “that overtly aim to draw in leadership lessons or practical takeaways.” Instead, he explains that, “Spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal allows bonding to happen more organically and far more effectively.”
For his part, Scudamore once splurged on a NASCAR racing trip for top-performing franchise partners. Even though the investment was sizable, Scudamore explained that, “it was a totally worthwhile investment… The experience—screeching around a track at more than 145 miles per hour—was absolutely unforgettable and we all felt like champions.”
How are you going to make your employees feel like champions? Why not try a Poll Everywhere competition? Learn about how our super fun system works and check out our flexible pricing options. Also, here are a few tips on how to make it an “absolutely unforgettable” experience for your team.
Happy team building!