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.

Creating a Team that Boosts the Company

Although it’s sometimes lost in today’s world of employment, the ideal staff team is one that puts a good face on the company, a team that is loyal and that helps boost the company’s reputation and bottom line. Unfortunately, too many mistakes are made in this field and the company is the one who pays for it. As an HR professional or a part of the management team, part of your job is putting together the most amazing team of staff the world has ever seen.

One of the best ways to create an out-of-this-world team is to boost morale and create a pleasing work environment. Happy employees are more likely to be loyal to your company and to shed a new, positive light on the company’s reputation. This is pivotal in increasing your bottom line, encouraging new customers or clients, and boosting productivity in the work place.

Check out these simple tips for boosting morale and creating a great team:

  1. Be the manager everyone has always dreamed of having. How?
    1. Open the doors to easy communication
    2. Be objective and fair
    3.  Wear your smile
    4.  Take interest in the personal lives of your employees
    5. Offer praise when it’s due
  2. Understand that fun should be a big part of your work environment
    1. You don’t have to create a circus or be lax on rules, but understand that a good joke is always appreciated and friendly competitions can go a long way toward productivity
  3. Offer incentives
    1. A job well done or that exceeds expectations may deserve something a little special, like a gift card or movie tickets
  4. Let your employees know you notice their hard work
    1. Offer an on-the-house dinner or lunch one day
    2. Bring in a masseuse for free chair massages
    3. Plan an employee picnic or outing

If it seems like these suggestions aren’t going to do much for your bottom line, consider this: happy employees are more productive; clients are more satisfied when dealing with a smiling rep than a hardened one; and happy employees are more willing to say great things about the company to everyone, including on social media, to new acquaintances, and to their personal groups of friends and family.

Increasing Company Morale and Employee Loyalty

As a CEO, business owner or manager, you’ve heard about boosting morale and keeping employees happy. You may think you’ve got a great grasp on it; you’re wages are competitive, you offer a great benefits package, so what else is there? Turns out, quite a lot.

Accenture, a Dublin-based investment holding company with interest in providing management consulting and outsourcing services, conducted a study in 2007 (http://newsroom.accenture.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=4485) regarding satisfaction in the current organization among middle managers. Surprisingly, 23 percent of respondents were looking for a new job; 25 percent of those said this was due to lack of advancement opportunities at their current job. In addition, 22 percent of those looking for a new position in another organization stated better working conditions at the other job. Yes, this study is several years old at this point, but it still rings true. Your employees need to be happy at work; unfortunately, great pay and good benefits aren’t going to cut it.

Show Your Employees How Much They Mean

Offer incentives or regular praise for jobs done right. Employees need to feel that their work is appreciated, or they’ll find a place that will appreciate their work. While you can get creative, simply taking the time to appreciate employees’ work will go long distances. In addition, let your employees know they’re more than just numbers; take time to try and get to know them. Mark birthdays on a calendar or other special days.

Time Off is a Must

We all love vacation time, from entry level to executive. Vacations help recharge batteries, explore passions and get much-needed time with family or friends. While vacation time may be an obvious entry on this list, it’s certainly not the only.

Partner with Local Companies for Discounts or Special Days

Speak with the owners of local restaurants, parks, retailers and attractions to inquire about getting a discount program for your employee base. If this isn’t possible, why not see if you can get a discount for one day and treat your employees to a day at the park, a company picnic or a brought-in lunch or dinner.

Get Involved

While not everyone can go on vacation at the same time, everyone wants to get out of the office every once in a while. Entrepreneur.com mentions a company that offers a few paid hours per month to participate in community service or volunteering for charitable organizations.

Conclusion

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or time implementing employee appreciation tactics. The key is to make your employees feel appreciated. You’ll boost morale and company loyalty – and that is invaluable to your bottom line.

What Drives Your Team?

Individuals are all uniquely driven. As a manager or team lead it’s imperative to understand what drives the people on your team.  Here are some of the top values your team members may be driven by, see if you can recognize your individual team players in some of the examples below.

Recognition – Recognition is the most common means of honoring someone’s value in the workplace; however, the majority of employees don’t feel recognized by their managers and team. Individuals who enjoy recognition will often post things that show someone has recognized them; i.e. a card on the wall, an award, etc. You may even find that individuals who need and enjoy recognition will also recognize others as well. Most people assume that everyone enjoys to be recognized for their accomplishments, but it isn’t always the case. Be sure not to assume that everyone on your team likes to be the center of attention and to get recognized in front of the group. For those who enjoy recognition, a simple acknowledgment of something they have done will go a long way and will significantly increase their performance and happiness on the job.

Equality/FairnessThe person who values fairness will always ensure that everyone on the team has equality. That could mean anything from equal time to share an idea, equal days off, working the same amount of time. It also could mean this person will count the favors you’ve done for others and will expect the favors to be equally shared. For example, you granted permission for a team member to leave early one day. To the person who values fairness, they’ve created a mental note that this will later be returned to them. If it isn’t, this person is likely to see this as a personal vindication.  For the fairness person, be sure they know they are as equally important as everyone else on the team.

Monetary/Gifts Money is a common motivator for many, but this goes beyond a pay increase or a scheduled bonus. A person who values gifts loves to be treated to lunch, receive  a gift on their birthday, or receive anything with perceived value. It isn’t so much the gift it intself, it’s more the thoughfulness that goes into it. This person loves the idea that you took the time and energy to do something for them. In the workplace, this may be one of the harder values to recognize; however, if you have this person on your team, they’ll be thrilled with a gift card to a restaurant, a local store, or some other favorite place to show that they are valued and an asset to your team.

3 Ways to Restore Morale After You’ve Fired an Employee

It’s inevitable. Every company has had to do it. It’s what you do afterwards that really matters to your team. It’s critical that you work to keep morale high after you’ve fired an employee – especially if the fire was unexpected by your team.

Here are 3 ways to restore morale after you’ve fired an employee.

  1. Be transparent. Be honest about the reason for firing, within guidelines of protecting the employee. Transparency is important in retaining trust and keeping morale when an employee is fired, let go, or laid off.
  2. Communicate. Whatever you do – don’t hide behind the fire. Meaning don’t act like it didn’t happen, and don’t downplay the seriousness of the event. Employees often fear for their own job security after someone is fired or let go.
  3. Educate. In order to do both #2 and #3 above you’ll need to educate your team on what’s expected of them. The more informed they are about your expectations – the more they can safely assess their own stability and performance.

After some time has passed be sure to utilize other morale building strategies such as team-builders, company events, and other rewards for employees who are doing a good job or going above and beyond their expected roles.

And always remember – reward positive behavior before reprimanding negative. It reinforces what you want to see happen within your team, over what you don’t want your employees doing.