5 Types of Team Building Activities to Promote a Cohesive Culture
Having a cohesive workplace culture means that every one of your employees feels aligned with your business goals and is happy and engaged as they help to work towards them. This kind of culture is an aspiration for many employers and takes significant work to achieve, with team building activities being one of the key ways you can work towards this goal.
Choosing the right cultural team building activities can be tricky, as there are plenty of different types that come with different benefits. In this article, we explain why team building activities are important, what they can be good for, and five different types of team building with examples of each.
What Are Team Building Activities?
Team building activities are designed to bring members of a team closer together and improve their internal communication and problem-solving abilities. They usually involve exercises, tasks or even games that focus on using a particular skill or put participants in an unusual situation, requiring teamwork in order to succeed.
There are plenty of different kinds of team building activities, from quick five-minute icebreakers to entire days filled with different challenges and events. Whilst not exclusively used in a professional environment, team building exercises are regularly used at work as a way to improve productivity and efficiency, develop new skills in employees and facilitate new professional connections.
Team building activities for work are used to achieve a range of different goals. Many companies use team building as a way to strengthen culture and help align employees, but there are many other benefits as well.
What Are Team Building Activities Good For?
One of the key things that team building activities are good for is building a strong team culture. When employees are given the opportunity to interact with each other outside of the usual working context, it can strengthen relationships and help everyone to feel more comfortable and connected at work, which improves overall the workplace atmosphere.
Having regular activities for team building in the workplace can also improve culture because it demonstrates a commitment to supporting growth and development outside of people’s day-to-day roles. If you offer your employees the chance to take part in team building exercises then it shows that your organization cares about improving internal dynamics and processes, as well as allowing employees to try something new.
Alongside the organizational culture benefits, team building activities can also help to improve employee communication and collaboration skills. The kinds of tasks involved usually require participants to come up with a strategy and work together to carry this out, and practicing this approach outside of work can improve how teams interact when they go back into a professional environment.
Good team building activities give all participants the opportunity to lead, regardless of their position in the company. This can be incredibly beneficial for developing leadership skills and increasing confidence, as well as helping to create relationships between employees of different levels that aren’t impacted by their roles and the responsibilities that these involve.
If you want to creatively inspire and invigorate your employees, workplace team building activities can be really helpful in achieving this. Getting people out of the usual working environment and stimulating them with new kinds of challenges and tasks can help to inspire new ideas, uncover new ways of working and provide a mental refresh that employees bring back with them to work.
Finally, team building activities can benefit your business overall because they lead to increased productivity and efficiency. When teams are working better together, the business output is higher, leading to greater profits and more effective use of resources.
Why Are Team Building Activities Important?
It’s important to implement ideas for team building at work into your organizational culture, because there are countless business benefits. For example, companies with effective communication (which can be developed through team building) are 4.5x more likely to retain their most talented employees, massively reducing staff turnover. (Source)
The camaraderie and connection that team building can facilitate are also big players in employee retention. In fact, one study found that employees are ten times more likely to stay in a job for longer because of their workplace friends than because of being given a pay rise. (Source)
We’ve already touched upon how team development activities can improve organizational culture, which has a proven effect on how long employees want to stay with a company. One survey found that 27% of employees stated that they had left their roles because they didn’t feel connected to the organization, so this feeling of cultural cohesion is clearly an important factor for many workers. (Source)
From a revenue perspective, team building is very important. When the workforce of a company is engaged (a product of regular team building) they have the potential to generate 23% more profit than disengaged teams, which makes a huge impact on a company’s success. (Source)
Our final point is that workplace collaboration can increase innovation within a company by up to 15%. When your employees are confident working together, helped by their experience during creative team building activities, their ideas are better and your organization’s offering can hugely improve thanks to this innovation. (Source)
What Are the Best Team Building Activities for Work?
Culture building activities at work can come in many different forms. There are around five different types of workplace team building activities that are each used to help achieve different things within an organization.
So what are good team building activities and how can they help create a cohesive culture? Below we explain each of the different types and share some examples to give inspiration for building a strong team culture.
Encouraging employees to bond is a key part of building team culture. Team building activities that facilitate this by treating your team to an enjoyable experience are a great idea for companies that want to encourage more cultural cohesion, showing their staff that they care about rewarding them.
Employee bonding activities might be as simple as organizing team social events such as going out for a meal, having drinks after work or enjoying an activity as a group. What matters is that you take the team out of their usual working environment and give them an opportunity to bond outside of a work context so that usual hierarchies are removed and more personal connections can be formed.
A great idea for a team bonding activity is a trip on one of our unique New Orleans pedal bike barge tours. Your team can cruise around the swamps and bayous of the city on one of our party boats that have twelve bike pedal seats at a bar and the extra space for fourteen more passengers. Everyone can bring their own drinks and food, and it’s a great way to encourage a team to have fun together and enjoy a new experience aboard a cycleboat.
Helping teams improve their communication skills is often a priority at work. Employees that are good at communicating make fewer mistakes, find it easier to solve conflicts, and also feel more understood by their colleagues which leads to better workplace relationships.
Communication team development activities are what many people think of when they think of team building. These usually require employees to complete tasks or overcome challenges when normal communication is inhibited, so alternate methods have to be found.
A classic example of this kind of team building is where employees have to instruct one another to complete a task where only one or some of them have all the information.
In a drawing activity, one person might be describing an image or item in front of them, whilst the other person has to draw it based on their verbal description alone. They can ask questions, but cannot see the subject until after their drawing is complete.
In a blindfolded activity, one or more team members may be blindfolded, whilst the others have to guide them around obstacles or across a finish line. This also helps to build trust between team members as well as helping them communicate more clearly.
Another kind of communication activity might involve setting the whole group a challenge to divide themselves up into groups or put themselves in a line based on a topic, such as the month people were born, the number of siblings they have, or where they’re from. This prompts the whole team to start communicating with each other as fast as possible to complete the task, removing barriers in conversation and encouraging efficiency.
Problem-solving exercises are good activities for team building in the workplace because of the widespread applications of the skills that can be gained by doing this. They usually involve giving participants a task that requires creative and/or lateral thinking to solve, and sometimes adding in an element of competition or time sensitivity.
A classic example of this kind of activity includes the marshmallow and spaghetti challenge, where teams are asked to create either the tallest or strongest structure using only these edible items. Another classic is the egg drop challenge, where teams are given basic materials and have to construct a contraption that will protect the egg when it is dropped from a height.
There’s a lot of scope for this method of building a team culture at work, as there are plenty of established challenges you can use to help develop team problem-solving skills, as well as the option of coming up with a task yourself.
Gaining New Skills
Speaking of new skills, another common type of team building activities for work focuses on upskilling employees. This might be in a professional context where they learn something that will benefit their role, or it might be in a more general sense where the act of learning something new together helps to bring the team closer.
For example, you might allow a team to spend a day learning copywriting skills, being taught how to use a new piece of software or having an introduction to public speaking or persuasive writing. Or you could arrange for an afternoon doing a craft activity together, going to a cooking class or trying an activity like roller skating or salsa dancing.
Finally, one of the useful outcomes of team building is that it can bring a group closer together by helping them gain trust in one another. If this is the goal of your workplace team building activities, you’ll benefit from choosing one that is designed for trust-building.
Some of the communication activities we discussed earlier are also ideal for building trust in teams, such as having one participant blindfolded whilst others have to guide them around a space. You can also build trust in a team through icebreaker activities and questions, where participants learn more about each other and can find common ground.
Trust can be increased in a team during organizational culture activities by encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone. Outdoor or adrenaline-inducing activities can be brilliant to get a team supporting and encouraging each other through challenging tasks, helping everyone to feel closer at the end.
We’ve only mentioned five of the most common types of team building exercises in this article; there are plenty of others that you can use to work toward specific cohesive culture goals. It’s important to make sure you’re choosing activities that you know your employees will enjoy, as if they aren’t having fun they won’t be engaged and won’t be able to enjoy the full benefits of the experience.
New Orleans is an ideal location for team building activities, with a huge range of different attractions and experiences on offer for everyone. New Orleans Pedal Barge pedal bike boat cruises are a great choice for an enjoyable team building activity, so why not take a look at the boat tours we have on offer?
For more information, get in touch with our team to start organizing a unique corporate event!