When it comes to creating the kind of dynamic, thrusting team you assume you need to drive your business forward, it is clear that there are going to need to be occasions where you get all of that great talent you’ve hired together away from the office, and give them something to do that will hopefully cause them all to bond and build the kind of lovely, productive relationships we want between our staff. As business owners and managers, we believe this is not only a good thing to do to help us foster a good company culture, but also just something nice to do for our staff. After all, we’re paying for them to all go and do something fun, right?
There’s Fun, and There’s ‘Fun’
While corporate team building events are, as far as we can tell, wonderful occasions we offer to our staff where they get to have great fun and build lasting, happy memories with their co=workers, there do seem to be some people who just don’t appreciate them! Slyly listen in on any post work pub conversation where one of the assembled friends has an upcoming team building event, and you are far more likely to hear ‘they’re making us go bowling! Like we’re 12!’ than ‘I so can’t wait for the work wine tasting night – it’s going to be so classy!’.
The reason there is this dissonance is not because staff are a bunch of ingrates who would look a free night at the bowling alley in the mouth, but because work team building events take them away from their normal plans and often involve some cheesy activity they would rather not do, but they feel they have to go because it is work. You don’t want this kind of mood hanging over your event, so you have to make it good, or at the very least, not terrible.
If You Must Have Competitive Activity, Make It Something Most People Like
There is no rule that says you all have to do some competitive thing together to bond or interact with each other, except possibly in books about management from the 80’s. The typical corporate night out fare of bowling or go karting with some awful leisure centre food afterwards is exactly what makes people assume all team building events will suck. However, if you do think it is valuable for your specific team to do something competitive, do something they are likely to already like doing, like a pub quiz or playing video games. You can actually hire a gaming party on wheels where you can all beat each other up, race each other and shoot each other in a high tech, cool looking environment, where of course there can also be drinks.
Or Just Do Something Normal
Have you noticed how far more ‘team bonding’ goes on at the Christmas party than anywhere else? Having a normal meal out or night out in a bar tends to be all you really need to do to get people talking and having fun together, and is also the kind of thing most people would do out of choice in the evening anyway (though not always with people from work!). There is a lot to be said for just taking people out somewhere good and letting the team building just happen!
Classic work nights out only really serve to make your staff resent having to give up an evening. Instead, choose events with activities they’ll actually like, or just take them out for a nice dinner and drinks!