You and your employees spend just as much time, if not more, with each other as you spend with friends and family. You can’t force your employees to be close on a personal level, but you can take steps to help. Team building ideas, including different games and activities, will help your employees grow closer, while letting them know you care about them, so they’ll be more engaged.
For small businesses, the closer you and your team are on a personal and professional level, the more motivated everyone will be. Everyone will look forward to coming to work every day and will know that they can talk freely about their concerns and ideas. Your staff will know that they can rely on each other in challenging situations.
Try these 10 team building ideas to help foster close relationships among your team.
1. Circle of Questions
To start Circle of Questions, have one group of your employees stand in a small circle, facing outward. Have the other group stand in a larger circle facing the first group.
Have the people in the inner circle ask the person standing across from them a question, that you have determined beforehand. Give the outer circle 30 seconds to answer, then have the outer circle ask the inner circle the same question.
After each group has answered the question, have the inner circle move clockwise one spot and have the outer circle more counterclockwise one spot. Start the question-asking process again, asking a more difficult question each round.
Sample questions include:
Where would you like to be right now?
Who do you admire most?
Who has influenced you the most?
What does success look like to you?
2. Two Truths and a Lie
Have each of your employees introduce themselves with three statements – two of the statements are true, and one is a lie. After an employee has introduced themselves, have everyone else discuss which statement was a lie.
3. Show and Tell
Show and Tell usually ends in elementary school, but set aside a few minutes every week to bring it to your office.
Pick a different employee to present each week. They can bring in something that’s important to them, present a topic that interests them, or present something that they have been working on for the company. Make sure to leave time at the end for questions.
Your employees will not only be able to share their passions with their coworkers, but they’ll also grow more comfortable giving presentations and fielding questions.
4. Mad Libs Mission Statement
Turn your mission statement into a Mad Libs game. Remove key words and create a worksheet where the removed words are shown as blank lines with instructions on whether each word should be a noun, verb, adverb, or adjective.
Split your employees into small teams and have them supply the correct type of word for each blank, without knowing that the words came from your mission statement. After everyone has filled in the blanks, take turns reading the mission statement with the new words.
Now that everyone knows that the words came from the mission statement, have each team choose new words. You might end up with a new mission statement that truly embodies your company’s vision and culture.
5. The Perfect Square
Have your employees sit down in a circle and put on blindfolds. Take a long rope with the ends tied together and place it in each employee’s hands, so everyone is holding it. Instruct your employees to form a perfect square with the rope without removing their blindfolds or speaking to one another. When everyone thinks they’re done, have them remove their blindfolds to see how well they did. Repeat the exercise, but this time everyone is allowed to speak.
This activity focuses on communication skills and leadership styles – you’ll notice who takes charge and who prefers to be given directions.
6. Penny of the Year
Gather enough pennies so that you have one for each employee. Make sure that the year on each penny is not older than your youngest employee. Have each employee take a penny at random and share something significant that happened to them during the year on their penny.
7. Office Jeopardy
Write 20 to 30 questions about your company. Divide your staff into small teams and give them the answers to the questions you wrote. The winning team is the team that can supply the most questions.
8. Lego Building
Build something small out of Legos and hide it from your employees. Divide your employees into teams of 3 to 6. Give each team the same number of blocks you used to create your sculpture – make sure they are the same colors as yours.
Place your sculpture in a place that’s the same distance from all groups, but where the groups can’t see it from they’re workstations. Allow one member from each team to look at the sculpture for as long as they like to try to memorize it. They then go back to their team and instruct the team how to build the sculpture. The winning team is the first team to create an exact replica of your sculpture.
9. Starburst Game
Fill a bowl with Starbursts and pass it around the group. Ask each person to grab three Starbursts. Make sure to tell your employees not to be picky about the colors. After everyone has chosen their Starbursts, ask them to answer a question for each color they grabbed:
Red – name their favorite vacation spot,
Pink – name their favorite food,
Orange – name their favorite outdoor activity, and
Yellow – name what they like most about working for your company.
10. Team Timeline
On a bulletin board, or something similar, create a blank timeline, which starts the year your oldest team member was born.
Use narrow strips of paper to write important events for the company – when you were founded, when you introduced a new product, etc. Attach each event to the timeline.
Give each employee four strips of paper and have them write four of the most important moments in their life and attach them to the timeline.
Your employees will learn what’s important to everyone and see how their experiences fit into the history of the company.