Planning a Team-Building Event? Here’s What You Need to Know

August 31, 2015 Blog 0 Comments

Team-building events are a fun way to increase communication, boost morale and strengthen bonds between team members or employees, but they have to be executed with careful planning and forethought if you want to maximize their effectiveness.

If you’re new to the process of planning a team-building event, there are many details to consider, and it can be tempting to feel overwhelmed during the planning phase. Below are six handy tips that will give you what you need to know to put on a successful event.

  1. Identify the key areas of struggle that your team-building event needs to address.

Whether it’s to foster community, work on communication or problem solving skills or just introduce new members or employees, the most important first step you can take is to pinpoint the areas of struggle within your team (e.g., interpersonal conflicts, poor communication, lack of productivity, low morale, etc.), and then research various team-building activities that would best address those struggles.

  1. Settle on a team-building activity.

There are a wide variety of team-building activities available to remedy or improve practically every aspect of team dynamics, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding one that will address the specific challenges of your team. That being said, there are some important points to consider before making your final decision:

  • Try to stay away from activities that may be too physically demanding. Some people may have health issues that would prevent them from participating in any type of athletically inclined event. Do your best to select activities that allow for the broadest range of physical abilities possible, so that everyone can maximize their participation in the event.
  • Select an activity that strikes a good balance between lighthearted and serious. Events that are a little too zany or comical, or events that are too strenuous, can both detract from the main message that the event was designed to bring across.
  1. Decide on a venue.

There are plenty of venues available for team-building. For best results, conduct your team-building event off-site, as this will help people unplug from their normal environment and gain a fresh perspective. Here are some good suggestions:

  • Recreational centers such as bowling alleys, miniature golf, etc., are worth considering, because they’re not too physically demanding, and they can provide great fun between team-building sessions.
  • Escape room attractions such as Houdini’s Room Escape in Cincinnati are a great choice, because they incorporate the venue into the actual team-building activity. With an escape room venue, teams are tasked with the challenge of escaping a themed and locked room within a set time frame. This will employ their problem-solving and communication skills in a fun and creative way.Plus, there’s plenty of space to spread out in the adjoining meeting rooms.
  • Any type of nature-oriented venue can provide a peaceful atmosphere, which can help people decompress and be better able to focus on team-building sessions.
  1. Cater the event.

Let’s be honest: Any event without food is an epic fail. If you want to get the most out of your people, you’ve gotta feed them. This doesn’t mean that you have to break out the truffles and caviar, but you do need to make sure that you have plenty of quality food and beverages on hand to satisfy any rumbling stomachs; after all, it’s hard to be enthusiastic about any activity when you’re hungry.

When choosing a caterer, be sure to set up a time to meet with the chef and sample their food, and take note of how the food is presented as well. Try to select things that will accommodate a diverse group of people. Ask for references, and be sure to work out all the fine details such as taxes (are they included in the quote?), as well as per-person cost (will it go up or down if the guest count changes?).

  1. Determine a date and send out invitations.

Communication is critical when it comes to planning your team-building event, and time is of the essence. Make sure to send out invitations that include the date, time and location of the team-building event, plus a brief description of what it’s all about. Include directions to the venue as well, or a link to the venue location on Google Maps.

There are several different online invitation services available (e.g., Evite, Facebook, Pingg, Google Calendar, etc.) that make the invitation process a cinch. Try to send out your invitations no later than three weeks in advance. Just be sure to double-check your event details for accuracy before sending them out, and if there are any changes of plans, notify the team as quickly as you can.

  1. Follow-up is vital.

All too often a team-building event becomes a stand-alone occurrence, instead of being treated as an inaugural event on a continual path to success. Once the event has taken place, schedule some follow-up meetings to review lessons learned, re-calibrate goals and monitor the team’s progress.