The Key Steps for a Successful Teambuilding
Teambuilding is continuing effort by a company to unify employees, regardless of position and rank, as one solid unit. Though the usual components are leisure activities, the end goal is not just to seek fun. Companies should bear in mind that every activity thrown into a teambuilding program should address employee’s needs and therefore entail careful thought and consideration.
Here are three practical steps to ensure a successful program :
Prior to implementation, everyone involved should fully understand the purpose and context of the teambuilding program. It should be explained how their involvement would benefit them, their co-workers and the company itself. Expectations, goals and need states should be made clear, and all activities should be laid out in detail, to help participants feel comfortable about the program.
Announcement should be made in a formal manner to show the company’s sincerity towards employee development. Bringing it up in jokingly by saying employees are dysfunctional thus the need for teambuilding could put the company in a bad light. This could create an impression of lack of trust, and they are not being treated as professionals.
For organizers, it is best to meet with participants while planning the program to get an idea of their needs, success barriers and challenges, and how they think these can be addressed. This way, the totality of the program works towards helping them overcome these barriers, and eventually be successful as a collective.
2. Sequencing of Activities
Once the need states have been established, organizers should come up with a structured laydown of proposed activities and set realistic expectations from the participants after the program. The structure varies depending on the end goal of the program – whether for the short term or long term. Short-term programs are usually aimed at fostering a harmonious relationship among employees, and often centers on fun activities to encourage interaction and collaboration.
Nonetheless, if the objective is deeper than this (e.g for a innovation workshop) a more structured process should be in place. It is recommended to employ a teambuilding consultant especially if a company is still in its infancy stage. The most common sequencing approach adapted for long-term programs is Tuckman’s Forming Storming Norming Performing Four-stage Model. Basically, this approach explains that when a company develops employees’ ability and maturity, better professional relationships will be established, and superiors change their style of leadership. Employees will be more productive, while bosses will be more considerate and appreciative of their team’s collective efforts. A company that would like to adapt this model, however should note that it is sometimes necessary to shift from one stage to another, that is why proper sequencing of activities is important.
3. Processing and Reflection
We have said that teambuilding affords everyone ample time for thinking, working, laughter or fun. That is, of course, necessary to boost employees’ morale and take out communication barriers among them. Companies should note, though, that fun is not supposed to be the be all and end all of the program. It is more to implement actual improvements within the company, whether immediately or in progression. A good program should be able to teach employees new skills or help them to develop a new project or give significant insights on a particular topic. At the end of the day, they should be going home not just in high spirits, but more importantly, with additional knowledge.
It is also important to allot time for evaluation post program. The facilitator should ask members what they think of the activities or the program as a whole, as well as the things they have learned, and suggestions for improvement. All of these should be taken into account in future runs of the program.