The Unicorn HRO Blog

5 Ways to Stop Undermining Team Building in 2016

Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2016 by Unicorn HRO

The new year is a perfect time to review your current team building strategies and ensure that you are choosing the best techniques. Below are 5 of the most common mistakes that should be avoided, as they undermine the team building effort.

1. Lack of Clear Objective
There are a large variety of team building strategies available, and many organizations make the mistake of choosing the strategy before they have determined what it is that they want to achieve. For example, offering their employees team activities that focus on advanced conflict resolution techniques will not be suitable for teams who have not yet mastered basic communication skills. Team leaders should carefully analyze the needs of their team to identify the weaknesses and to determine what areas need improving. Once there are clear learning objectives in place, team leaders should work with their HR department to choose the most appropriate training activities.

2. Team Building versus Social Activities
Many organizations are missing the mark when it comes to understanding what real team building is about. There has been a trend over the past several years in which organizations are using social activities such as extreme sports, office parties, and networking events, in the hope that team building will occur naturally. Although these events can offer other benefits such as improving team morale, for the purpose of team building, activities should be structured, have clear objectives and learning outcomes, and use trained facilitators. Team building events should provide opportunities for teamwork, development of effective communication skills, group-work, brainstorming, and problem solving..

3. Failing to Prioritize
The foundation of success in any organization is a good team of employees that work well together to achieve departmental goals .. As such, team building should be prioritized. Team leaders should ensure that there is careful planning and time allocated to allow structured team building exercises to take place. Employees should be provided with protected time during the day to attend team building events. This includes ensuring all emails, phones, and work related activities are placed on hold to prevent distractions during the event. For more effective and long-term benefits, short team building activities can be built into weekly departmental meetings. This helps teams to continue to practice and develop team building skills on a regular basis.

4. Concern About Cost
A common mistake is to shelve corporate and team building events when the budget does not appear to allow for it. Often, organizations overestimate the cost associated with these activities, or spend the majority of their budget on venue and refreshments. If the budget cannot extend for a venue with catering, there are many excellent options for on-site training such as outsourcing to corporate training companies. These companies can cater to the specific needs of the organization and can run team building activities on-site using the space available. They also provide trained expert facilitators who can achieve excellent results. Investing in professional training programs should be the area in which companies should invest their budget.

5. Lack of Coherence
Organizations can do a great job in choosing the most appropriate team building activities and often see positive outcomes from them. However, these outcomes will be short lived in organizations which continue to reward competitive and individualistic behavior in the workplace. Team leaders should encourage healthy competition but also reward teamwork on a daily basis. This helps employers to build on the learning outcomes from structured training activities and ensures their employees newly developed skills are not lost.

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