Team Building – Why Bother?

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Well here I am. A 25 – year veteran of the teambuilding industry still discussing/championing the rationale for investing in team development programs and events

Sometimes I feel like a hamster in one of those exercise wheels (I could use the workouts).

So why should an organization spend money on these team endeavours? It costs money, usually time away from work is involved, and it is difficult to measure results. Those are the usual arguments that are presented. Others include: “we did it last year and it wasn’t great”, “I had to spend time with others I don’t normally”, and “we do this, and nothing changes back at work”.

So, with these attitudes and arguments why would anyone invest their time and $$ into teambuilding?

The Construction Industry Federation, based in Dublin, Ireland does a superb job of establishing the case for investing in team building in their September 2018 newsletter, https://ciftraining.ie/2018/03/the-benefits-of-teamwork-in-the-workplace/ , citing benefits like; establishes strong relationships, improves communication skills, improves morale and promotes innovation. The historical challenge has always been “How do we measure success?”

Rise People, a Canadian HR and Training Firm identifies at least five metrics used as indicators for the effectiveness of teambuilding. In most cases it is recommended to conduct a pre and post event survey on these metrics. https://risepeople.com/blog/5-metrics-team-member-performance/

The premise that social play positively contributes to improved performance is being put to the test at the time of writing by a school just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. The experiment is in its early stages but already improvements in attention and performance, not to mention attitude towards school in general have improved. https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/doubling-recess-alternative-schedule-gives-bruderheim-students-more-wiggle-time It’s not a stretch to apply these practices to the adult workplace.

Informally asking my clients why they continually invest in a team-based event has garnered a variety of responses; “a nice departure from regular office interactions – we get to know each other in a different light”, “we need to remind ourselves that we need each other’s support”, we only get together once a year so its good to have fun together and reconnect”, “not everybody plays golf so we need something that everyone can do”.

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