More and more companies are following the worldwide trend and incorporating a team building activity into their training programs, corporate events and incentive trips. The consequences of this trend on the team building market are several. First, there is a multiplication and expansion of supply, with many agencies offering team building among other services, even without being specialized. In companies, on the other hand, the impression is created over time that they have already “tried everything,” but also that they have not yet found “the right one.” Therefore, new ideas for corporate team building that can adapt to the peculiarities of the company and the occasion of the corporate event are needed.
Choosing and designing the right team building activity is not easy. In previous articles we have explained what team building is, talked about how to organize it according to the purpose you want to achieve, and listed some team building exercises.
But many times the event manager does not have the opportunity to do everything they would like to do. In fact, there are often predetermined circumstances that restrict the choice of the activity to be carried out. Therefore, in this page we will give some ideas for organizing corporate team building suitable for particular conditions.
The variables that determine the choice of format answer the questions why, who, when, where, and what.
The corporate meeting planner/event manager cross-references the answers to the first four questions to come to a decision on the what, that is, what type of team building activity is best suited for the corporate event they are organizing.
The Corporate Team Building Event will be very different depending on the occasion in which it takes place. Indeed, both the purpose of the team building intervention, its duration, and the style in which it will be conducted will depend on it. In general we can find three categories of corporate events in which we can include a teambuilding moment:
The corporate convention or meeting is an opportunity not only to talk about goals and to develop action plans for the future. There must also be room for socializing, networking, brainstorming, and building new teamwork strategies. Too often, however, people are busy with other things or bored, and these very useful activities are neglected. Here then, a dynamic and educational activity can help achieve the goal.
A teambuilding intervention can be constituted in different ways:
An incentive trip to Italy or abroad is another occasion where team building can fit in very effectively. We have already devoted space to the difference between team building and incentive, now we will talk about when you can do team building during an incentive. In this case, the uniqueness of the location must be taken into account. It will be good to organize the event in a way that allows participants to discover the places visited, preferably in an original and unusual way. The teambuilding program can help with this. This can be a treasure hunt in the city or area visited, but also more exclusive activities such as a sailboat regatta, vintage car tours or even hot air balloon flight.
Be careful not to “overload” the program, however! Incentive tour participants often experience very intense days, so the organizer must also provide periods of free time to relax and rest their minds. Participants can then:
Thinking of a corporate party? Again, celebratory team building can be found to suit the occasion. We will discuss team building activities for Christmas and Easter in particular below, but there are certain characteristics that remain common to all celebratory events, national and corporate.
A celebratory teambuilding does not necessarily have less poignancy in terms of reflection, idea generation, and brainstorming. Quite the contrary: celebrating often means precisely turning to look back at what has been accomplished over the course of the year. But surely any celebratory event must instead observe the following characteristics:
Before organizing a company party, you should always understand what messages you want to leave behind and what atmosphere you want to create. This is especially so if external people such as customers or family members of employees are present. Family involvement is common especially if it is a Family Day. In this case, activities for children must be specially designed. All activities carried out together with the family in turn contribute to employee retention and to improving the psychological climate in the company. The activities should then interactively and creatively involve the company space, its products, logo, etc.
Choosing the right team building format does not only depend on the occasion and business need. Much also changes according to the characteristics of the participants. The meeting planner must plan the event so that it is both useful and enjoyable for everyone. Whatever their age, level in the corporate hierarchy, language they speak, or geographical origin. Here are some tips for choosing the right teambuilding format for each type of participant.
Probably the most common category of team building is that of an internal event within a single company. It thus involves people who need to develop and improve effective communication tools and methods for the purpose of achieving common business goals. However, it does not always involve people actually working together in the same team on shared projects. We proceed from maximum to minimum proximity and knowledge.
These are people who work in the same company but on different projects or in different areas, sometimes in locations far apart. In the case of a multinational company, they may even speak different languages and meet only at the annual meeting or incentive trip. What are the issues that team building will work on?
However, not only members of the corporate team or several different corporate teams can participate in the team building. The company’s most important customers can also be there, either alone or together with employees. The event will then have to be declined in a different way. In this case the purpose will be mainly:
The number of participants also discriminates in choosing among teambuilding formats. An activity suitable for a small, compact group will be different from one recommended for very high numbers. Typically, participants in the activity are divided into rival teams of similar size, so that from time to time no more than a dozen people have to work together. But what to do if there is only one team? It is possible to take advantage of the low number of participants to create:
If too low a number of event memberships can put organizers in a bind, much more so will a particularly high number. Preparing fresh pasta or conducting a scavenger hunt in a small town in 200 requires organizers to have great skill and experience. An event for a high number of participants must meet the following characteristics:
It is a group of people who work daily or frequently together, share knowledge, projects and results. The community of language and culture allows for a wide variety of formats, which can also aim to discover other cultures (e.g., learning how to prepare a popular dish such as sushi). In-house team building can aim to:
As much as we are used to thinking that English is now spoken by everyone, often even in large international groups communication is not fluent. If we know that our team building will have guests from all over the world and we suspect that not everyone can understand each other with ease, we will choose formats that:
Some team building ideas can be implemented year-round (typically, these are indoor team building), while others are seasonal (typically, these are outdoor team building activities. In addition, there are formats that are particularly suitable for festive occasions such as Christmas, Easter, Carnival, etc.). In each season, there are special issues to take into account, such as the physical capabilities of participants and weather conditions. A self-respecting event manager always has a plan B!
Organizing a team building for the corporate Summer Party? You will need to think of an outdoor activity, not too strenuous and possibly refreshing. Long walks will be to be avoided, especially in the city! One option is to take participants near water: to the sea, lake or pool. In all team-building water activities, however, some peculiarities must be taken into account that, if overlooked, can ruin the experience if not for everyone, at least for a part of the participants.
What to do if someone does not know how to swim? One must inquire about this before organizing, for example, a day of rafting. What if there are those who get seasick? A sailing regatta will be a fantastic experience for those with a strong stomach, but not for others.
In the case of sailing, one must also take into account the need for wind to set the sails: weather conditions far from ideal can detract from the enjoyment of the experience.
A cocktail-related activity can also be entirely suitable for a corporate party in summer. But even here there are contraindications: abstemious people, children, religions that prohibit alcoholic beverages.
Even in winter there are conditions that can be exploited for effective corporate team building. For example, snow! There are plenty of winter team building formats that involve the team in mountain adventures. Whereas before, a “ski week” was organized with colleagues, today the event is compacted into one or two days. This is why it is important to choose the format carefully and organize it perfectly so that the experience, however brief, appears memorable and enjoyable.
Beware of the weather report, however! For the event planner, winter is a beautiful but very dangerous season. Indeed, the event is scheduled several months in advance, when the weather forecast is not yet available. What’s more, in the mountains conditions can change even in a matter of moments.
A snowstorm can jeopardize the success and even the very realization of the event. In winter more than ever, it is crucial to have a “plan B” for organizing an indoor team building in the event of bad weather.
December is a time of holidays, but it is also the time to take stock of business achievements. At this time you can think about having fun and celebrating, while at the same time producing something that will remain as a memory of the past year and at the same time as inspiration for the next one. The most fitting Christmas team building ideas?
A Christmas team building event will be useful not only to improve team spirit, but also to relax and have a new experience. In addition, you can practice socially beneficial activities.
What are the details to be taken into account? Since this is a religious holiday, especially for international teams a thorough investigation will need to be made. Building a Christmas tree or a nativity scene may be pleasing to a Catholic, but leave the member of a different religious community completely indifferent or even displeased. In the case of an international team, therefore, it will be appropriate to look for an activity that everyone can agree on.
In addition, Christmas is a vacation season, so many employees may be missing: it will be a case of checking in advance to choose a date that suits everyone. Organizing in advance is also helpful because venues under Christmas get a lot of requests and may turn out to be all busy. Event planners also have a lot of work. Consequently–contact them in good time!
Easter, along with Christmas, is a great time to think about a social team building activity that unites the team and improves its internal and external image. But not only that! Cake design activities could also be perfect, especially for working with chocolate! For example, think about the possibility of creating chocolate eggs and giving them to a school or kindergarten!
The peculiarity of Easter? The fact that it does not happen on a fixed date. It will then be necessary to check the calendar and weather report well to adapt the event to the circumstances each year.
Another element that goes into the choice and organization of a corporate team building is the location available. It can be sought specifically for the event; but it can also already be determined, for example, if the team building fits into a more structured context. The event manager will then also choose the team building based on the location.
Meeting room or small rooms, hallways, stairways and “secret” passages: what to do if we have all these corporate spaces at our disposal? They can be exploited to have participating teams work together or apart on creative projects of various kinds. Or, in the case of particularly interesting spaces and teams from outside the company (clients on an incentive trip, families on a Family Day, meetings between multiple locations of a multinational company…), one can even organize an in-company scavenger hunt to discover the spaces with fun.
Using corporate spaces can be a great choice if the event budget is particularly low: what you save on venue rental can be used to buy nice gadgets or spend more on a delicious coffee break!
What to do if no location is available? This also happens especially in case of a low budget! If you are in a city, you can organize a scavenger hunt, possibly enriched with photo, video tools or technological ways. Or try outdoor team building exercises, which require no special space other than a forest or park.
Outdoor Training is almost the quintessential team building, because experiential training originated here. There are so many exercises that can be practiced that positively affect:
Thus, these exercises remain to this day one of the most effective types of team building ever. However, since this is an outdoor activity, characterized by a certain amount of dynamism (although sports physical training is not necessary), certain details must be taken into account:
The hotel may have been chosen for the meeting or convention, or host visitors on an incentive trip. Whatever the case may be, a hotel offers absolutely suitable spaces for team building. Some examples of activities? A detective game along the lines of CSI – Scene of the Crime, but also all the creative activities that require making a movie, taking pictures or painting a picture. And if there is a large meeting room, you can easily equip it for a puzzle contest, a quiz dedicated to the company’s themes or, after dinner, a playful wine tasting.
It may also happen that the lineup for the event or incentive trip is so tight that it leaves as the only remaining free time… dinner! The meeting planner does not despair: even restaurant time and space can be leveraged for a team experience. Obviously, the most obvious activity is a “team cooking” in which you prepare part of the meal, or even all that you will later eat together. But there are also less challenging options. Think, for example, of a murder mystery dinner! It will be an electrifying experience that will turn the communal meal into an opportunity to exercise logical and creative thinking, as well as communication and interpersonal interaction.