Time and time again, we talk about how organizational culture is one of the top factors tied to employee happiness. And peers? They’re the number one thing people love about their job, all according to our research. So in the company’s best interest, you should do your best to build bridges within the team, department, and organization.
Team-building can range from quick in-office activities to complex half-day courses run by "game engineers" at innovative companies like The Go Game. The important thing is to make time and space for coworkers to bond.
Looking to plan your own exercise? Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered. Here are 21 ideas that can help your employees get to know each other even better:
01. Battle of the airbands
Move over karaoke. Split your team into groups of four. Have them pick a song and do their best impression of performing it with air instruments and lip-syncing. Props and costumes are encouraged.
Let your employees show off their cooking skills (or at least their skills at tracking down delicious food). Schedule an afternoon potluck once a quarter. Yum.
03. Water balloon toss
On a warm summer day, fill up a bunch of water balloons. Split your team into pairs, and have them throw balloons back and forth to each other, taking a step back with each successful exchange. Last balloon standing wins.
04. Scavenger hunt
Is there a better way to break up the workday?
05. Human knot
Have your team gather in a circle. Tell everyone to put their right hands in the air and grab onto someone’s hand across the circle. Then tell them to link left hands with someone else across the circle. See if they can untangle themselves without letting go of anyone’s hand. (link)
It was awesome in elementary school. Now, we’re all adults, and we have cooler things. Have your workers bring in a prized possession and let them tell a story.
07. Egg drop
Can any of your employees build a device that can keep a raw egg intact when it’s dropped from a few stories? (link)
08. Two truths, one lie
Take turns telling your coworkers two things about you that are true and one thing that’s false. Have them guess the lie. (link)
09. Blind retriever
Split your staff into small teams, blindfolding one person on each team. The first team that can successfully direct their blindfolded colleague to a hidden object wins. (link)
10. Community service
No matter where your office is, there are undoubtedly people in your community who are less fortunate. Pick a deserving cause, rally the troops, and give back to the community whenever time allows for it. Team building — and for a good cause.
11. Group juggle
Have your team form a circle. Throw one employee a ball. Have them say their name and then throw the ball to the next person, who says their name, and so on. Keep introducing new balls into the mix to make things interesting. (link)
12. Team lunches
Everyone needs to eat. The easiest team-building activity? Take your team out to lunch and pick up the tab.
13. Active listener
Schedule what your team thinks is a routine meeting. Deliver a boring speech filled with jargon, but sprinkle random unrelated sentences in every so often. Quiz your team to see who was listening.
14. Jigsaw puzzle pieces
Give different teams plastic bags with puzzle pieces. Unbeknownst to them, they’ll end up having to partner with other teams to complete the puzzle. (link)
15. Group timeline
Have different teams sort themselves by height, age, how long they’ve been with the company, how many states they’ve been in, etc. Quickest team wins.
16. 18 and under
Ask your employees to share their biggest accomplishment that occurred before they turned 18.
17. Pair up
Write a bunch of pairs on different pieces of paper (e.g., Thelma and Louise, salt and peppers, Mario and Luigi, etc.). Tape them to your employees’ backs. Have them walk around trying to figure out who they are — and find their complementary colleague. (link)
18. Work Jeopardy!
Come up with five questions for six categories that pertain to your business. Break the group up into teams, and select one lucky employee to play Alex Trebek.
19. No smiling
Before you start a meeting, tell your employees they’re not allowed to smile. See who can last the longest.
20. The dinner party
Take turns asking which three people (dead or alive) your employees would have dinner with and why.
21. Ask your employees about it
Not sure if any of the above activities are for your team? Why not ask them about it and go with the most voted one! A while ago, we sent out a pulse survey asking about the top 3 favorite summer activities. Now we have a beautiful hike scheduled for August as the word cloud says "Hiking". Get real-time feedback on team-building activities and major company initiatives so you have actionable data to guide the next step.
Building a strong team can’t happen without effort. Sure, you can have a team that meshes organically, but in order to cultivate a team that supports each other through and through, you’ll need to reinforce relationships with team-building activities.
"TINYpulse data gives us the data to indicate which direction we should focus our energies on"
--Cindy Larson, Director of People and Operations at Wheelhouse DMG.
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