Facilitating a strong company culture is one essential key to curating and maintaining a happy workforce with low turnover rates. Research shows that employees who enjoy the peers they work with find higher levels of job satisfaction, and are more likely to stay in their positions, than those who don’t. Organizations can encourage strong interpersonal relationships and collaborative attitudes among staff members by using fun activities and programs to build bridges within an existing team and between departments.
There are a wide range of tried-and-tested exercises already out there, from quick-and-easy games, to weekend intensives, to monthly charitable actions your team can take together. Whatever course you take, and whatever the size of your organization, it is imperative to provide your employees with a space to bond.
Whether you’re looking to try an established activity or create your own exercises, take inspiration from our list of ideas below.
Everyone loves to play games. These fast-and-easy team building games can fit into larger events which center company bonding, or may be used as weekly in-office activities.
- The Human Knot – This game encourages players to think strategically and work together to solve a collective problem.
Ask your team to stand in a tight circle, then have each person reach into the center and take the hand of another employee not standing directly to either side. Then ask your team to reform a circle without letting go of each other’s hands. They will need to actively communicate and think cooperatively to untangle the knot — ideally through fits of laughter.
- Game of Possibilities – This fun exercise can be played in small groups or pairs, and it facilitates creative thinking and original innovation.
Give an object to one person in the small group. If playing in a larger group, you may choose to give each player their own object. One at a time, ask each player to demonstrate a use for said object, which is not its original use, to the group. They should not use words, and the demonstration is encouraged to be wacky and fun. The other players in the group must guess what the use is. For a competitive twist, charade rules may be used and two teams can gather points against each other for correct guesses.
- Two Truths and a Lie – This game, which you probably played at summer camp, is a great ice breaker which allows space for both introverts and extroverts to share, and is a fun way for your employees to get to know one another.
Ask each person in your team to come up with two true personal facts or experiences, and one equally plausible lie. They will each share all three in front of the group. The rest of the team will then vote on which piece they believe to be the lie. Those who guess the lies correctly get a point, and the player with the most points at the end wins.
- Blind Draw – This game requires teammates to communicate clearly and precisely, and understand how interpretation changes the results of a group project.
This can be done with a big group, however the exercise must be done in pairs. Have two players sit back-to-back. Give one a simple image, and one a blank piece of paper and a drawing utensil. The person drawing must not see the image. The image-holder must then describe the picture to the drawer, without saying what it is. They may use descriptions of shape, line, texture, etc. but cannot name the objects in the image themselves, or describe what they are doing. The drawer must follow the description as closely as they can, until they feel satisfied that the image is complete. It’s always fun to see what the drawer comes up with and how the images match. This is a great game that can help refine communication.
Events and Getaways
Some team-building experiences take more time than a quick game. For tight-knit teams, a long fun-filled weekend may be the ticket to successful bonding and relationship building.
- Backpacking Trip – If your team is outdoorsy, a weekend hiking adventure may be the perfect team-bonding intensive.
Whether you’re trekking out into true wilderness or camping in a familiar local forest, the adversity of making a home in the outdoors requires your team to work together, think creatively, and look out for one another while they’re on the trail. Depending on how long you’re on the go, you can pepper in short games and activities along the way to boost interactions.
- Meditation Retreat – As the wellness craze makes its way into corporate culture, teams can develop important tools for interpersonal communication and problem-solving by engaging in meditative practices with their coworkers.
For a chill team — or maybe one that needs to chill out — group meditation is a great way to release stress and teach your employees the value of stillness, mindfulness, and active listening. There are multiple options for this type of activity. Some retreat centers offer special packages for corporate parties, and others will come to the office and guide your team in in-situ exercises.
- Company Picnic – This one may be a cliche, but the opportunity for employees to socialize with their team members in a casual setting is truly invaluable. Encourage employees to bring family members, games of their own, and dishes to share for a fun as casual time which celebrates your organization and its team.
A happy employee means a healthy company. Follow our list of suggestions, branch out, or use them to inspire your own for team bonding activities which are sure to build bridges and form strong bonds in your company.
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