Team-Building: Outings and Projects to Encourage Harmony Among the Team

Team-building exercises allow you to get everyone in the team involved in light-hearted activities that build rapport and the members’ abilities to work together. They also allow for a little good-natured competition in many cases, keeping the competitive spirit alive. Team-building exercises also allow for a light-hearted way to overcome struggles within your team.

When team-building exercises cross your mind, you may have a lot of questions. Don’t think about it too much; team-building exercises can be just about any type of game or activity where small groups “battle” each other to win.

Quite frankly, almost any game can be turned into a team-building exercise. A game of charades can get people laughing and talking, and let’s be honest: sometimes a little laughing and hilarity can really lighten the mood around the office! Other ideas include bingo, Pictionary, and hangman. While they may seem like children’s games, they are simple ways to bring smiles and cooperation among team members.

If games strike your fancy, small rewards make it all the better for the participants. Prizes don’t have to be huge, nor are they always necessary (let’s face it, winning is a prize in itself!). Lunch on the house for the winning team or an early departure on a Friday are two examples of prizes that may boost the competition a bit more.

Outings can also prove effective. Many companies offer team-building retreats or activities, ranging from obstacle courses to planned events. A golf scramble may suit the interests of most of your team, or a visit to an arcade-style venue may pique the curiosity of your workers.

Team-building exercises bring a fun way to boost creativity and cooperation, while giving a “non-work” feel to a definitely work-related project.

Boundaries: What They Are in a Work Environment

Setting personal boundaries is important for everyday life; setting professional boundaries is pivotal to being an efficient and fair manager. A boundary is a way to know where your tasks end and another’s begin. Professional boundaries are a way of letting those you supervise know how and when to do things. Boundaries are often the oil for the work machine: they help keep a smooth operation.

Boundaries allow you to decipher some of the more sensitive situations within a work environment in a fair manner. The boundaries also protect you from using emotion during work procedures. Interpersonal boundaries are those used between two or more coworkers in a setting. They include attitude and tone.

When discussing or creating boundaries, always start in an open discussion with all involved. Having a defined list of boundaries can create a more efficient workplace and is an ideal start to a comfortable working relationship with those involved.

It’s important to thoroughly understand your job description when creating boundaries; this includes knowing who assigns you tasks, whom you report to, who you supervise, and which tasks need done and when. It is nearly impossible to correctly delegate tasks to those under you when you don’t thoroughly know your own responsibilities.

As a manager, having clearly defined boundaries can allow you to more thoroughly handle the tougher parts of your job. For example, it is important that your employees or subordinates know the proper manner and times to get a hold of you. It’s important for you to delegate tasks in a fair and efficient manner.

When boundaries are properly created, your entire team knows what to do and how to do it, resulting in a smooth operation that is a direct result of your management strategy. If work boundaries are something new for your company or team, have an open discussion and take suggestions and listen to differences. Overall, create boundaries that are functional, fair and efficient to ensure the success of your team and your company.

How Personal Is Too Personal? Tips for Remaining Professional with Work Relationships

Humans are a social species. We enjoy spending time together and interacting. It’s not uncommon for us to make friends at work, even with those in higher- or lower-ranking positions. However, personal relationships can sometimes get in the way of work, especially if you have become personal with someone who works directly beneath you.

If you are a supervisor, manager or another position which directly oversees the work of others, the most important factor is knowing your job description and being able to follow through with it completely. If your job description is confusing or isn’t thorough, ask for clarification from your manager or supervisor. If you happen to own your own business, write a description for yourself and let it be known.  Your job description should answer – directly or indirectly – whom it is you report to and get assignments from, and who you oversee.

Ask your supervisor what the employee-management relationship guidelines are per the company. This will let you know how far a personal friendship can go in the workplace without crossing any lines or making others feel bad.

When you’re working, it’s easy to become friends with someone in your department. However, problems can sometimes arise when you take the working relationship into a personal relationship. For example, It may be a common thing for the guys from work to go grab a beer every Thursday. As a manager, this can become a tricky situation. Hanging out with some employees and not others can quickly become seen as unfair, and it is in some senses. Once you’ve developed a personal relationship with certain employees and not others, it may become more difficult to keep a tight-knit and friendly working environment, especially if certain parties begin to feel you are biased when delegating tasks or disciplining.

Does your company have a policy or guidelines for relationships in your office?

The Company Picnic: Rethinking Employee Appreciation

Keeping your employees happy is an excellent way to boost morale and keep hard-working employees on board. The idea of the company picnic is tried and true, but what else is there? How do you show appreciation to employees without going overboard? Here are some additional tips on letting your employees know how much you appreciate them without breaking the budget or failing in your attempts.

A company picnic is a way to get everyone together and let families enjoy the generosity of a company. Whether you have it catered or make it a potluck, it’s an easy and often affordable way to give employees a little something extra.

Other ideas follow this line of thought. Take it one step further by making it a memorable event. Make it a family-friendly carnival day, have door prizes or include games. Prizes may include gift cards for restaurants or entertainment, a paid-day off voucher, gift baskets and more. Fun is the name of the game, and oftentimes you don’t have to spend large sums of money for these types of events.

If a full day or evening isn’t in the cards, consider a nice, catered lunch for your staff one day during the month or quarter. Have a little something for everyone to choose from. Again, catering isn’t always an exorbitant fee; choose something budget-friendly that is healthy and fun for everybody.

Want to take it even further? If there is an amusement park or other fun, exciting destination in or close to your town, consider contacting the venue and ask about a corporate discount for one day. Largely discounted tickets can save the company money while still providing a less-expensive day of fun for your employees and their families.

The idea isn’t to break the bank with these types of events, but rather to encourage a family-like feel among your employees while giving them some much-needed fun time to associate with work. Everyone likes a little positive reinforcement and, if you’ve got the perfect staff that is going above and beyond, remind them with a little relaxation and fun. It may cost the company some money upfront, but a boost in morale is priceless.

Human Resources Professionals: How to Stay on Your Toes

The HR Department of any company is an integral part of the company’s success. As such, HR professionals have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. And while the “Ability to Think on Your Feet” may not be part of your written job description, it’s among the most important aspects of any HR professional’s position.

So what does staying on your toes mean, and how do you do it? It’s not as hard as you may think. Here are a few tips for keeping up to date on what’s going on in the world of HR and the company you work for:

  1. Get a grasp on general business fundamentals and practices, particularly those in the field of the company you work for. While you may be in the HR department, you should know the ins and outs of the company and industry you work in. You need to know how it works, from the bottom to the top, in order to do your job more effectively.
  2. Become an HR specialist instead of a generalist. Unfortunately, HR generalist candidates far outweigh the number of HR generalist roles. A specialist, on the other hand, has a uniquely different set of skills to help set her apart from the pack.
    1. If you wish to remain an HR generalist, make sure you know how to sell yourself and what you are going to bring to the table.
  3. Be the ultimate role model for your company. As an HR professional, chances are you’ll be training and hiring staff, and implementing company procedures. Be the company culture you wish to see from the staff working in the company.
  4. Keep on top of everything happening in the world of HR. HR is ever-changing; new ideas begin to manifest into everyday practices while old ideas are shoved under the rug. As an HR professional, you need to be up to date on the new standards.
  5. Invest your time in your company and industry. This kind of goes along with #1, but is a little deeper. Stay on top of industry trends while keeping your eye on what’s going on in the company. You’re not going to be able to effectively sell your company if the information you have is a couple years old.

Human Resources is so pivotal in the success of a company because the department has so many tasks and profiles integrated into one group. As an HR professional, you’ll see your position, respect and company grow exponentially when you’re able to stay on your toes.