Every successful business needs a strong, cohesive team behind it. Having a group of employees who not only get along, but also collaborate efficiently is crucial to your project's performance—and your organization's long-term growth.
To achieve this, you’ll want to involve your team in morale building activities that create a lasting bond between coworkers. To find out more, we asked a panel of Forbes Coaches Council members to share some effective team bonding activities your company can implement. Here are eleven things they recommend doing with your team.
1. Active Listening
Active listening means that an organization isn't just soliciting feedback to “hear” responses, as if to say, "Hi, we asked for your opinion and you spoke!" Instead, successful organizations build opportunities and vehicles for employees to have an exchange where they are listening to understand, grow and evolve. The results are increased morale and team collaboration. - Kristin Johnson, Logos Consulting Group
One very important activity that I feel is a must is a monthly lunch-and-learn where teams can openly share successes, pitfalls and failures. This builds team unity at the core. - Christopher Fairbank, Dare to be Different Leadership Strategist and Motivational Speaker
3. Team Spots
I would recommend organizations to create a sports team, such as softball, volleyball or dodge-ball, in order to improve team bonding. Casual fun in sports emphasizes bonding through positive sportsmanship, having each other's back and communication. - Tangela Huggins, Grean Light Go Inc
4. Corporate Social Giving
I recommend corporate social giving, which allows employees and teams to use some of their time to get involved with local charities. This adds a sense of contribution and allows a deeper bond than just “work.” - Gavin Ryan, NEKSA
5. Vision Board Events
I run wildly successful vision board events as team building activities. They show how important a person’s individual and personal life is to their professional growth. - Miranda VonFricken, Miranda VonFricken Coaching
6. Family Events
I recommend getting entire families involved in organization activities. In our engineering and consulting firm, we held family events, such as picnics and even weekend outings, rather than holiday parties for just the adults. These events allowed our staff to see their co-workers in a different light and resulted in many strong social ties between families. This, in turn, created a “strong team atmosphere” that enhanced the culture at the office, provided better solutions for our clients and contributed to the bottom line. - Richard Ellison, PATH2HappiSuccess
7. Consistent Team Meetings
Have consistent and constant management routines, such as daily huddles, bi-weekly meetings, monthly all call, quarterly planning, etc. Organize this in a SAFe—also known as scaled agile framework—format and align it with your annual planning cycle. - John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises
8. Check-In On Thoughts, Both Before and After a Meeting
It is important to get each team member's voice in the room before you start the content of a meeting. You can frame the check-in activity to align with the meeting, such as: "What is one thing you are doing this week that supports this project moving forward?" or it could be an open-ended check-in, like "Share one thing that is going on for you as you enter this meeting today." As team members offer their responses, everyone learns new things about each other. Equally so, check-out activities can give you a sense of how people are leaving the meeting. A check-out can be a minimum of one word or a statement that the person describes how they are feeling leaving the meeting. It's also powerful feedback. Both check-ins and check-outs have been my go-to activity, one that strengthens group bonds and gives leaders valuable information on the health and well-being of their people and projects. - Wendy Fraser, Fraser Consulting, LLC
9. Find Activities That Best Suit Your Team
Team bonding activities are hollow if the leadership isn't grounded in a commitment to treating every team member justly. Every organization must identify what suits its people. - Robert Conley, Bedrock Leadership
10. Community Service Projects
Organizations should get involved with a community service project, preferably one that relates in some way to their company. This unites employees in a shared cause, thereby increasing morale and bonding, and also helps leverage the organization's reputation within the community. - Sylvia LeRahl, Membership Fix
11. Share, Then Listen
Because we all need contrast to get something at a deeper level, this exercise is in two parts. Have one team member face another team member standing up. For 30 seconds, one team member shares as many superficial details about their life as they can. For example, I have a dog, I have two eyes, etc. Then the other team member repeats as many details as they remember. Then both people share how they felt about that experience. Obviously, everyone gets a turn. After that part, we move onto the more in-depth exercise. For one minute, one team member will share a personal experience story. Then the other team member relates that story. And vice-versa. When I give this exercise in workshops, I get amazed by how people relate to emotional content, never details. We bond over our emotional content. - Anne Beaulieu, Walking Inside Resources Inc.