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5 Tips for Effective Corporate Team Building

How much does your company spend internally on employee retention and engagement?

If the answer is “zero,” here’s a few facts (courtesy of that may change your perspective:

  1. Companies with engaged employees report 2.5x higher revenues than competitors with disengaged employees.
  2. Engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave their companies than disengaged employees.
  3. While 89 percent of employers think people leave a company for more money, only 12 percent of employees cite money as the reason.

No one wants to expend resources training new hires, and one of the easiest ways to retain employees is through engaging team building. But before you start conducting trust falls in the conference room, it’s important to pick the right team building strategy for your business and employees. Here are five tips that will help.

1. Avoid Competitions

Many of the team building activities pursued by companies involve some sort of competition, such as paintball or trivia contests. But with every competition, you’ll experience two types of people:

  1. The super competitive, “win at all costs” type
  2. The human teflon type, using blame and excuses to defer any responsibility for a loss

Both of these personality types can destroy the benefits of team building because employees will turn on one another. Alternatively, you could pursue a cooperative activity, where employees must work together to achieve a common goal.

It’s even been proven that cooperation is more effective than competition. According to an article in the New York Times (no subscription required), a study of 245 classrooms employing cooperative and competitive learning found that 87 percent of the time, the cooperative approach delivered better results. Let your employees enjoy their team building instead of pitting them against one another.

2. Incorporate Your Business Type

You’ll want to pick an activity related to your business. If your company is hospitality-based, find an activity where you experience hospitality in action, such as a food tour. If your company is tech-focused, how about a museum field trip where employees can expand their minds?

You may want to divide up team building across different departments to maximize the engagement. Your operations staff likely has different interests than sales staff, so consult your directors as to what activities will have the greatest response with their departments.

3. Get Out of the Office

It doesn’t matter who you are bringing in as a guest speaker to your Monday meeting (unless it’s a movie star); you’ll get a better response by taking employees off-site. We have a different mindset when we are in the office, and complete engagement will come when employees stop thinking about their everyday duties.

Keep in mind that your company faces extra liability when you take employees off-site. You’ll be wise to arrange transportation to and from the activity and choose something where the likelihood of injury is reduced. If alcohol is consumed, make sure employees are sober before heading home.

4. Encourage Communication

One of the biggest benefits of corporate team building is that you are developing rapport between co-workers. This is best accomplished if they are talking to each other, especially in a productive manner.

All team building should involve some sort of ice breaker where employees learn about each other, because common bonds lead to conversation. Maybe your VP of Sales and entry-level customer service rep both enjoy biking marathons, but what’s the likelihood they will ever talk in the office? If your employees develop common interests outside the office, it will increase their interest in staying with the company.

5. Take Pictures . . . and Share Them

Does your company have a Facebook page or Twitter account? Pictures of team building are great to promote on social media, and you can also show off to your clients how much fun your company has. People want to do business with fun people.

The beauty of smart phones is that everyone now has a camera in their pocket, and sharing is one button push away. At least one group shot is a must, and a few action shots with smiling employees will make your HR Director’s job that much easier.

So when you’re putting together corporate budgets, factor in some extra money for team building. It could be the key to hanging on to your most valuable employees for the long-term.

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