There is sometimes a perception amongst hiring managers and other corporate decision makers that team building events are a terrible waste of time. Often, it’s an opinion shared by employees, who grumble that they’re being forced to put down tools and ‘bond’ with their team. This is especially the case in under-resourced, overburdened, inadequately trained teams, as time away from ‘getting things done’ can seem like an extra source of stress. Truthfully, it’s this type of team that needs team building events the most.

Team development is the most critical investment you can make in your employees. Better cooperation and team dynamics equals improved efficiency, better staff retention and many other benefits. It’s advantageous for the company’s culture and financial line if workers are more interested in their work, and it’s good for the employees too – everyone wins!

So, here’s why you should invest in team building events and a few of the fundamental principles you should follow.

Keep it fun (and maybe take it out of the corporate environment)

Team building events investment

Team building events that don’t seem like a day at the office are the most effective and memorable when it comes to boosting a company’s morale. Leadership teachings and practical takeaways are less effective when they are obtrusively imposed on staff. A mandatory training seminar or structured team building events inside the office are going to get a much less positive reception than an out-of-office activity. Taking everyone out of their comfort zone encourages bonding to occur in a more natural way, and gets everyone to stop thinking about work.

Try new things

As it turns out, both pleasure and learning are strongly intertwined. Your workers will be happier and more productive if you challenge them to try new things with you. Choosing a theme that is a little out of the ordinary might inspire attendees to form new kinds of bonds. Don’t throw an annual work BBQ, try something new every year!

It’s an investment, not a luxury

You don’t have to spend a fortune on extravagant excursions and activities, but you also shouldn’t cut corners. Don’t be afraid to put money into team building events. It’s important to maintain a high level of positivity in the workplace. Finding strategies to keep the enthusiasm alive is critical. Don’t think of team building events as something that are an extra or a bonus for staff, it’s really not, it’s a business investment. Teams that don’t gel well together don’t do go work. A team that knows how to work effectively together will be much more efficient, and will experience a lot less turnover. Team building events are an important part of staff investment for any company – from small to medium business right through to large global enterprises. Most importantly, they’re an ongoing investment. This is not something you do once and never do again; they should be happening on a regular basis. The biggest difficulty is mostly lies in trying to provide chances for meaningful connections and interactions outside of normal meetings and presentations.

Often, it’s a good idea to at least one or two bigger team building events a year, and find other smaller opportunities for bonding in-between. It could be as simple as a weekly team get together, to chat about everyone’s plans for the the week, or a monthly team lunch. Do what fits your team and your culture!

So, how do you know when your efforts have been successful? You’ll know that you are on the right path if your team starts to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and get a long like friends!