Team building activities serve many different purposes. They help your employees get to know each other better, learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, communicate more effectively, and solve problems creatively. Ideally, they’re also so much fun that your team members forget that they’re learning anything at all. Unfortunately, however, some team building activities are tired, cliché, or just not very enjoyable. The next time you hold a team building event, try one of the following fun and effective activities.
The main benefit of an escape room is that requires your employees to cooperate and use deductive reasoning to solve a problem. It also encourages focus under pressure as the team has to solve the puzzle within a certain amount of time. Another benefit of an escape room is that many are available online, so it can be a great opportunity for virtual team building via videoconferencing if you have remote team members.
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a good example of an icebreaker game intended to help team members get to know each other better and start forming connections. Each person in the group has to make up a plausible but false statement about himself or herself and present it along with two true statements. Once each team member has presented their facts, the other members of the group must try to identify the false statement.
This activity requires you to break up your team into equal-sized small groups. Each group is presented with a jigsaw puzzle. The puzzles are all different, but they should each have the same difficulty level. Before the activity begins, you must remove some pieces of each puzzle from the box and substitute them with pieces from other puzzles. The goal of the activity is to see which group can complete their puzzle the fastest. The twist is that different teams will have to negotiate with one another to obtain the pieces they need from the other teams. In the interest of time, you should choose jigsaw puzzles of medium difficulty, probably no more than 500 pieces each.
This is a twist on a classic children’s game. Instead of looking for specific objects, you split the group into teams and give them a series of moderately challenging tasks to complete. Give the teams a time limit within which they must report back to you. The team that completes the most tasks in the least amount of time ends up winning.
Here is an activity that develops multiple skills required in business. Divide your group into two or three teams and provide a selection of office supplies or other materials for them to choose from. Their objective will be to design and build a container that will prevent a raw egg from breaking when dropped from a significant height, whether that be from a second story window or an eight-foot tall ladder. The height is arbitrary but should be one that you can access safely and high enough that an unprotected egg typically wouldn’t survive the trip down. Once each group has constructed the egg container, you will test them in a practical setting to see if they are successful at preventing the egg from breaking. However, before you test the containers out, each group must also devise and present a 30-second presentation about their design to explain how it works and why it is unique. Both the most effective container design and the best presentation should receive recognition.
This is a game to encourage positive thinking and communication skills. Start by dividing team members into pairs. One person shares with the other a true account of a past negative experience, whether professional or personal, while the other pays close attention. The other person then discusses the bad experience focusing specifically on the positive aspects of it. Once that discussion is over, the other person gets to tell a story, and the first person has to explore the silver linings.
Team building exercises should be authentic, meaning that you should be able to explain the specific benefits they have to offer should anyone ask. Most importantly, they should be fun.