Do your employees roll their eyes when “team-building” activities are mentioned? If so, you’re doing them wrong! Team-building activities should be fun, foster camaraderie, establish group norms, and boost employee morale and job satisfaction.
To build stronger teams, better understand team dynamics, and have fun at the same time, try these easy team-building exercises. Each exercise is designed to address slightly different learning experiences. Choose the activity that best suits your team’s goals.
For more help with effective workplace programs, training, and strategies to produce positive change, consider a partnership with a Professional Employer Organization, such as Resourcing Edge. Our HR professionals can show you different ways to take care of your team while supporting your company’s long-term goals. We also offer in-person and webinar training and a library of online courses for your managers and staff. Contact Resourcing Edge today for a free consultation on empowering your business.
7 Fun Team-Building Activities and Games
1. Volunteer Together
A great way to encourage teamwork and boost employee engagement, job satisfaction, and morale is to participate in a charitable event. Not only will you be doing good and spreading the message that your company cares, but your team will be learning and growing together. Even for introverted types, this group activity is something they can get excited about. It’s easy to find fun volunteering activities in your area. Visit volunteer.gov to find opportunities by state or ask employees what charitable causes they already support that would benefit from a group effort
Companies may also want to think about offering paid time off for volunteering, separate from employee benefits provided as regular vacation or Paid Time Off. Learn more about crafting PTO policies for your company.
2. Solve a Work Issue
If you want to make your team-building activity fun and productive, ask everyone to write down an issue at work they are dealing with. Put all the slips of paper into a bowl and begin selecting the problems at random. The group can now brainstorm solutions and learn more about their coworkers. It’s a great way to get everyone to help each other achieve the common goal of improving the workplace.
3. Take a Cooking Class
Activities involving food are always a favorite. But instead of having employees cook alone at home for a traditional potluck, bring the culinary experience to the office. There may be classes available at a local restaurant, or there are companies you can hire that specialize in corporate cooking events.
For example, a chef models how to whip up a crowd pleaser and employees all get a chance to work together to produce something yummy. Learning how to prepare a nice in-office meal or dessert, while also throwing in a teamwork element, is a popular and effective way to get everyone enjoying company time together.
4. Play Trivia/Office Jeopardy
For this activity, write down five questions for six categories that relate to your business. For example, “What year was the company founded?” and “What is the company’s most popular product/service?” Clues should be approved by the human resources director. Name someone to host, à la Alex Trebek.
You can make your Jeopardy board in PowerPoint or with large sticky notes. The questions will start out easy (100 points) and get progressively more difficult until the last 500-point question. Don’t forget to include two Daily Doubles. The Final Jeopardy category and question will be predetermined. Teams will have 30 seconds to answer while audience members hum the jeopardy theme song. The team with the most points at the end is declared the winner.
Vary the questions and throw in some humor and pop culture. You can use the Jeopardy clue format where you must answer in the form of a question or simplify things but using the traditional question-and-answer format. Snacks and prizes are up to you.
While this team-building game takes some time to create, it’s worth the effort. Participants will get to work together while learning more about the company and feeling proud of their accomplishments.
5. Say Your N.A.M.E.
This is a great activity for groups who don’t know each other very well. Pass out a pen and paper for each person; then ask participants to write down his or her first name. Give the group 5 minutes to think of interesting facts about themselves that correspond to the letters in their name. Then, go around the group as each participant introduces his or her name as an acronym.
For example, Gabriel might say, “Hi, I’m Gabriel. G is for Game of Thrones because I’m obsessed. A is for architecture, what I studied in college. B is for basketball, my favorite sport. R is for ring because I recently got married. E is for Entenmann’s donuts, my favorite snack. And L is for Lima, where I taught English for a year.”
6. Get Puzzled
Consider playing this game if competition among individuals is hindering team efforts or individuals are asking questions they can solve on their own. All you need are some children’s puzzles, preferably with 50 pieces or less. Consider making your own puzzles if you want the completed puzzles to carry a specific message, especially if you are using it as part of a larger focus. No two puzzles should be the same.
In preparation for the activity, empty the puzzle pieces for each puzzle into separate bags, one for each team of 3-6 people. Then, remove 2-3 pieces from each bag and place those pieces in other bags, each piece in a different bag.
Divide the group into teams of 3-6 people and give each team a bag of puzzle pieces. Do not tell anyone that you have tampered with the puzzles. Tell the participants that the goal is to put the puzzles together in less than 5 minutes. Turn on a timer and let the games begin.
The teams will soon begin to realize that they don’t have everything they need to complete the puzzle and will need to find the missing pieces from the other groups. If they ask for help, simply say, “You have your objective. All of the pieces necessary to accomplish your goal are out.”
This is a great activity to challenge the assumption that everything is a competition. Are teams treating the game as a race? Or are they cooperating? Make sure you don’t say anything that might encourage competition, like “This team is almost done.”
After the activity, you can ask the group why they assumed it was a competition, how they felt when another team asked for help, if this reminds them of any work situations, and what implications it might have for the workplace.
7. Take a Board Game Break
One easy team-building option is hosting a board game event. Some fast, work-safe games include Scattergories, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Sushi Go Party!, Taboo, and Roll for the Galaxy. You can also ask your team for suggestions. You can either hold your board game party during work hours or as a voluntary after-work happy hour.
Get Help Growing and Managing Your Team
For help growing and managing your team, contact Resourcing Edge. Our HR professionals can protect you from employment-related risk, optimize your benefits, and guide you through management and regulatory complexity. Learn more about the benefits of outsourcing HR functions to a Professional Employer Organization.
Contact Resourcing Edge today for expert HR support and guidance.