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Team building activities are designed to teach employees how to work together more effectively. Employees that work together to find solutions or reach goals learn to be more productive. Popular ideas range from trivia and board games in the break room to lavish weekend retreats. While these activities have the potential to build motivation and increase competition among employees, you need a well-thought-out plan. The same approach doesn't work for every company, or even for every member of a team.

Business managers and CEOs often make mistakes that end up causing the opposite reaction to what they have in mind. Consider the following common mistakes when planning team building activities for your business.

Not Recognizing the Differences in Team Members’ Capabilities

Employers often plan activities or events with the hope that each employee’s strengths and weaknesses will emerge. You should already know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses before planning the event.

A team is made up of individuals, each with a unique set of capabilities. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that everybody is equal. You won’t get the results you want from your event.

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Failing To Set Goals

What do you want to accomplish from your event? Do you want to improve a certain skill or resolve a conflict that is affecting the entire team? Maybe you just want to improve their overall communication skills. Whatever you want to accomplish, it should include every member of the team. Work together to create a list of goals and determine an acceptable outcome. It's impossible to hit a target that you can't see.

Not Asking for Input from the Members

Don’t spring an event on your employees and expect them to show excitement and support. Ask every member for their input on what they would like and any limiting factors that might get in their way. Some people have physical and/or mental disabilities that prevent them from participating in certain types of activities.

Asking your team members for their input could introduce you to some new ideas. It’s also a good chance for you to learn more about the individuals and their interests. Playing a role in coming up with team building activities can help build excitement and make them more engaged.

Never force members to participate in team building activities. Making these events mandatory will only lead to resentment and create more areas of conflict. If you’re dealing with large groups, it might be impossible to find common areas of interest among everyone. It isn’t fair or reasonable to make those who don’t want to participate do so as part of their job requirements.

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Focusing on Competition Instead of Cooperation

The goal of team building should be about uniting and creating bonds. It should never be about building competition. The result of a competitive event is that you have winners and losers. Competition may continue in the workplace long after the event ends.

You should also focus on giving participation gifts – not rewards to the winners. Put everyone on an equal standing. Team members should get the feeling of satisfaction from helping to complete the activity through cooperation. Instead of handing out trophies or ribbons to first-place winners, consider giving every member a gift that lets them know you appreciate their efforts. It’s not about who made it to the top of the mountain first; it’s about their working together to get every team member to the top.

Ignoring the Need for Teamwork Among Remote Workers

Pre-pandemic, few businesses had any reason for thinking about teamwork among remote workers. Now, many companies that transitioned to working from home over the past couple of years are continuing the practice at least to some degree. An estimated 25% of all professional jobs will continue to work remotely by the end of 2022, with even more businesses including remote work in their practice through 2023.

With more employees working remotely than ever, it’s even more important to find ways to help them connect. Working across the miles means there are fewer opportunities to socialize. You can use virtual team building activities to help virtual workers feel more connected.

As we continue to move beyond the limitations of Covid, a hybrid model of work has also developed. These companies limit the time employees spend in the office by allowing some tasks to be performed at home.

If you have employees working remotely either part-time or full-time, make sure you find ways to build relationships. The benefits will extend not only to the work they perform in-office but also virtually. You can create more unity among your employees by planning special events where they engage in more hands-on activities. This will allow them to get to know one another on a more personal and professional level than they can achieve remotely. While virtual team building games are useful, nothing replaces the face-to-face activities that they can perform in person.

Trying To Do It Yourself

One of the biggest mistakes employers make is in trying to plan team building events on their own. If you opt for a company that offers an out-of-the-box team building plan, you’re setting yourself and your employees up for failure.

There is no single solution that is right for every company or for every employee. It requires research and an understanding of situations that exist within your organization. Getting the details right is a lot more difficult than you might think. You need to not only avoid these common mistakes but also develop a strategy that works for your situation.

Develop a Strategy with EVOKE

Planning an event or which team building activities to do is challenging. You must consider the personalities and special needs of every member of your team. It takes time, experience, and understanding. Trying to manage it on your own can result in your making one of the biggest mistakes companies make.

EVOKE takes care of all the small details that make any event special. We focus on delivering a memorable experience to your clients or employees. We start by doing the research to understand what your business and your employees are all about. Contact us to help you plan the perfect team building event on any scale.

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