Danger! Team building ahead

At some point during the year (and in some companies twice a year), a business will organise a corporate “team building” awayday.  Depending on the size of the company and the market that they operate within, the content of the day will vary as will the size and scale.   In my experience there are a few common denominators; annual awards, presentation reviewing the past years success, vision of the organisation’s future and then…. The bit that most people enjoy, the networking with colleagues, the party and…… the alcohol.  But this is the part where the dream becomes a metaphorical nightmare.  

In a recent client meeting the subject of corporate away days/team building events came up.  The general feeling was that a team building day was required as the morale within the company was perceived to be low.  There was an opportunity to get the company together, share the vison of the future and reward loyal and hardworking staff with a “fun day”.  It had been suggested that both males and females do a gender specific event that both groups would enjoy individually.  After both separate events the company would put on a free bar for everyone to re-convene – Sound familiar?   

 “Only 11% of workers believe that team-building away-days boost their confidence at work, while a mere 14% agree that such activities enhance communication with managers and other staff. Those of you who have great relationships with your colleagues and enjoy socializing outside the office are in the minority – fewer than one-in-five people feel that out-of-office bonding actually improves their working relationships” (hr.toolbox.com).

People are creatures of habit we like the status quo!  I would argue that in a lot of instances when a company is performing at the level expected or overachieving, the morale within the business is high.  Personnel are clicking and working as a tight knit operation!  The processes and procedures are well oiled, and change is far from the agenda, but communication is still key.  Explaining why the company has performed well and how that can be maintained is essential.

Conversely when a company is not performing this is an ideal platform to affect change.  Irrelevant of the size of the company it can be used as a call to arms if done properly.  Allow the staff to help shape decision making (as they may have more of an idea of the broken parts).  Let the journey be inclusive and appreciate what is working and how that can be replicated in other parts of the organisation.  Most importantly, however, bring people together and build harmony as there will be many fighting against you – the last thing a company needs are people fighting internally!

In summary perhaps the reason that people dislike corporate away days is because lines become blurred.  Boosting confidence becomes marred by criticism.  Communication becomes stilted between managers and staff, possibly, because vast quantities of alcohol is introduced not to mention working relationships becoming strained.  If you were to have clearly defined objectives, and these are communicated clearly, throughout the whole event, a more positive harmonious, successful and collegiate environment must ensue.

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Joe Savidge
Articles: 11


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