Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tips to plan an effective and memorable team building event

Team building events outside of the office can help strengthen the bonds between coworkers in ways that can’t be done inside the four walls of a building.

Those left back in the office may look at your outing as an excuse to have fun and get out of the office for a day or two. The folks on the trip may see it that way, too.

Before you take a group on an adventurous outing, thoroughly plan ahead and follow up back at the office to make sure your team building goals are achieved and the day doesn’t turn into just another fun day out.

TrainingZONE, an organizational learning and development community from the UK, recently published an article on the topic and came up with a few points to help employees transfer their experience back to the office. Here are some of the best tips:

Develop clear and simple outcomes. Don’t make it complicated and try to achieve too many things in one day. People will only take away about three messages, according to the author, so keep your message simple.

Involve the team in planning. Take a quick survey of what worked and failed on the last outing and determine what they would like to get out of this trip. Managers should still have control and set clear parameters for the outing, but employees can help come up with new ideas.

Plan with the trainers. Bring the trainers into the planning process early to ensure they know your goals and budget. They may have suggestions on how to achieve team building goals more effectively and for less money.

Create a memorable event. Remember that your goal is for employees to bring what they learned back to the office and implement it into their daily activities. Plan on follow up activities in the office to drive the team building message home.

Make the event relevant and be consistent. No matter what the activity, make sure it stays relevant to the real world at work. “If the connection to work is lost altogether the event becomes fairly meaningless ‘play.’” Also remember to keep the event consistent with your company values and make it fit with your company culture.

A little bit of planning ahead can go a long way to help employees retain what they learned at the team building event. In ever step of the planning process remember that your goal is to have employees implement the lessons they learned at the event back in the office. Without proper planning and follow up, your goal may be lost and buried under the day everyone had outside.

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