How NOT to do Corporate Team Building

As we mentioned in this post, when implemented well, corporate team building should foster better communication and more meaningful relationships among employees at all levels, increasing engagement and productivity in the workplace.

It goes without saying that the safety and morale of all persons involved should be top priorities when designing your team-building exercises. But you’d be surprised to find out (as we were) that oftentimes that’s not the case. We’ve compiled a short list of 5 corporate team building “don’ts” to consider when planning your next event. You’re welcome. 😉

  1. Take your employees paintballing.

Last year, NPR reported on a company that took employees on a paintball outing. According to the report, “a lot of people pointed their guns right at their supervisors.”

Moral of the story: don’t take your employees out for a game of paintball. If you do, make sure they really like you and won’t be likely to leave you welted and out of work for weeks.

  1. Require workers to show up after hours and don’t pay them for it.

How would you feel if your boss pulled you away from your family for a night or even a weekend for a team-building event? If you’re looking to boost morale, mandating employee outings is not likely to be your best strategy. If you require workers to show up after hours, at least give them incentive for doing so.

  1. Pitt your teams against each other in a contest and let the winners abuse the losers, as reported in the second story on this page.

In some cases, a little competition can go a long way in terms of motivation. But competition that results in people feeling bad about themselves will only do more harm, especially if your employees are disengaged already.

  1. Play “trust-building” games that put people in harm’s way.

Remember the classic “fall” game where you’re standing in front of a peer, they ask you if you trust them, and you say “yes,” right before falling into their outstretched arms? Only, they didn’t catch you, either because of proportional size differences, or because they wanted to see you fall and humiliate yourself.

It happens more than you might think, and when it comes to the safety of your workforce, exercises like this are simply not worth the risk. There are many other ways to build trust and foster communication that don’t involve personal injury.

  1. Engage in “purging” exercises in an attempt to foster “better communication,” as illustrated in story #2 on this page and in story #8 on this page.

Good communication is positive and uplifting; it encourages and motivates people by pointing out their strengths and the best ways to use them in order to maximize success.

Now that we’ve covered how not to do corporate team building, how exactly do you “do” corporate team building so as to yield positive results and foster relational productivity? We provide a few suggestions in this post.

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