While HR continues to invest in team building exercises, a new study has shown that many programs miss the mark when it comes to improving engagement, workplace relationships, communication and motivation.
In a survey conducted by RedBalloon for Corporate, the workplace consultancy firm found that more than 50% of employees reacted negatively when told of an upcoming team building event.
Matt Geraghty, RedBalloon general manager for corporate, said that team building events do suffer from a range of stereotypes, “and the phrase alone carries a stigma that can provoke a cynical reaction from workers”.
Interestingly, the study found that while 72% of respondents rated their current or previous experiences of team building exercises as average or very poor, 82% said they would be eager to participate in different activities.
When asked to provide insights into the problems with traditional team building exercises, survey participants cited: ‘Badly organised or facilitated’, ‘No clear purpose or intent behind the event’, ‘Cliché format’, ‘Not during work hours’ and ‘Managers not participating’.
Geraghty said the benefits of team building exercises are well documented, and added: “If organisations can be seen to be investing in the workplace environment and making a concerted effort to foster positive morale in the business, workers will be more likely to give their discretionary effort every day.”
The top motivator for employee’s participating in events was ‘bonding with colleagues and getting to know each other better’, followed closely by ‘desire to get out of the office’, and ‘food, beverages and entertainment’.
Geraghty added that the research highlighted some simple lessons for HR, namely that employees are indeed enthusiastic about such events, but are tired of the traditional format.
As a result of the findings, RedBalloon compiled a list of their tips to get the most out of any team building experience:
- Set goals, be organised and manage expectations
- Do your research and set a budget
- Communicate a sense of excitement
- Get out of the office
- Get help and consider bringing in the experts
- Consult - know your people and what they like
- Challenge people
- Avoid clichés
- Consider a theme to make it memorable
- Have fun!
As a result of its survey, RedBalloon has created a competition for businesses to gain recognition for their 2011 success. Reward Your Team allows organisations to share their story, with winners receiving $1500 towards a RedBalloon team building event. Enter at http://competition.redballoon.com.au/rewardyourteam/ - entries open 1 Nov – 6 Dec.
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