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6 Team-Building Ideas to Increase Employee Engagement

/ 11.3.18


iStock-881068442The concept behind team-building is fantastic. The idea is to get employees outside their normal activities, get them mingling with coworkers they don't normally interact with, and have fun while fostering teamwork. They give the workplace a nice employee engagement boost.


Unfortunately, many team-building activities have the opposite effect. They can feel forced and unorganized, leaving employees to watch the clock and wonder why the event was scheduled in the first place.


The secret is being thoughtful about who is on the team and what you’re trying to accomplish. You need to put some time and care into team-building exercises. The more personalize the activity to the participants, the more they'll enjoy and appreciate the effort.


Carefully consider the personalities on your team. What are their likes and dislikes? Are they active, or would they better appreciate a mental exercise? Pair that knowledge with the goals you want to accomplish with the activity. Do you want your team to improve on alignment, relationship building, problem solving, or member appreciation?


These are six of our favorites, but they may not be the perfect fit for your team. If not, we have 44 more team-building activities to consider in this ebook:


FREE EBOOK! 50 Team Building Ideas to Engage Employees


1. Creative Happy Hours

Sometimes the best way to improve the workplace is to get away from it. Moving off-site provides a more relaxing environment and provides a clear separation from work. If your team members enjoy a casual beer of cocktail, happy hours are perfect. They're near the end of the day, so everyone can relax and mingle without worrying about returning to the office.


Any happy hour is useful, but you can up the ante by taking your team on a brewery tour, a wine-tasting class, or a cocktail-creation course. 


2. Social Scavenger Hunt

A well-planned scavenger hunt is packed with varied challenges that will rely on different team member strengths, which is a great way to recognize individual talents. Incorporating riddles and other challenges encourages your team to whet their problem-solving skills and align over common goals. Incorporate social media by requiring teams to take photos and Tweet them with a hashtag for the event. 


3. Chili Cook-Off

What brings people together more than food? Everyone has a go-to chili recipe that they swear by, and it's time to determine which is the tastiest once and for all. Encourage employees to bring in a crockpot with their finest chili and have employees vote anonymously on which they enjoyed the most. This allows employees to show off interests and skills outside the workplace and brings everyone together for a delicious meal. 


If you have a larger office, spread the event over several weeks, having three or four employees bring in their dish each time.


4. Game Night

Bring out the games! This is a fun way to build relationships with team members. Some games take problem solving and creativity, while others can just be a fun way to get to know your coworkers better. Some of our favorites are Apples to Apples, Codenames, Taboo, and Machi Koro. 

If your team isn't into competition, consider a cooperative game in which the players work together to defeat the game itself. Games like Pandemic and Forbidden Island engage the mind and necessitate cooperation, building bonds that can carry over into everyday work.


5. Plan a Charity Event

Why not do some good while you're bonding? This one works best if your team or company has a cause that closely aligns with their work or with them personally. For example, an all-women marketing team might find solidarity supporting The Malala Fund, or a company in the restaurant industry might align toward a cause ending hunger. 


Planning a fundraising event is a win-win, bringing teams together while doing some good for your organization or team’s favorite philanthropy. This is also an excellent opportunity to build teamwork across different functions.


6. Book Club

If you need a low-cost option that won't eat up most of the day, consider starting a book club. Have interested employees select a book, read portions of it each week, then meet to discuss. It's a great way for them to learn and develop while talking about topics unrelated to daily work. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • “Fierce Conversations,” by Susan Scott.
  • “Predictably Irrational,” by Dan Ariely
  • “The Halo Effect,” by Phil Rosenzweig
  • “Social Gravity” by Jason Lauritsen
  • “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
  • “Built to Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Looking for more ideas? Don't let this happen to you:


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No worries; we all have different ideas of a good time. Check out more team building activities for work below!


Free ebook! 50 Team Building Ideas to Engage Employees



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