Team-building activities get employees away from the office and into an atmosphere where they engage in group activities that foster trust, cooperation and personal growth. The best team-builders start everyone off on the same foot no matter what their position in the company, and give everyone a chance to shine.
The team-building exercises that follow are designed to keep everyone fully engaged as they work toward a common goal. In the case of the competitive activities, team members also have a common "enemy," which raises the stakes even higher.
Ballroom Dance Lesson--With a Twist
Depart from the typical team-building fitness activity by inviting a dance coach in for a ballroom dancing demonstration and workshop. Keep the dances simple enough for non-dancers to participate without embarrassment. Halfway through, level the playing field by having participants switch roles, so that the women lead and the men follow. The coach can bring a male and female assistant to ensure that everyone has a partner. End the event with a dance-off that lets your employees show off their new skills. Contact a company like Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Worcester if this is something you're interested in.
Adopt a Charity
Let your team-building event do double-duty as a community service. List some local charitable organizations that need volunteers, and have your employees vote on one to adopt. Launch the project with a team volunteer day. On this day, employees work together to benefit the charity, whether onsite or by holding a fundraiser or outreach event. Following the project launch, encourage your employees to continue volunteering, individually and in groups.
Plan a scavenger hunt in a place employees will enjoy exploring. A vibrant downtown area or a zoo or other local attraction works well. Divide the group into small teams, making sure each team is made up of people who typically have little contact. Make the hunt challenging enough to be engaging, but not so difficult that teams can't complete it in two or three hours.
Choose a construction project employees can race each other to successfully complete. Examples include contests to see which team can create the highest tower, build the platform that supports the most weight, or construct a structure that's most effective in protecting an egg dropped from a high place. Supply the materials, and let the teams decide how to use them. Give plenty of time for practice, because each failure offers an opportunity for creative problem-solving.
Team-building exercises should be fun and competitive, but not so cutthroat as to put introverted employees at a disadvantage. Following the exercises with lunch or dinner meal helps cement the sense of camaraderie by giving the employees the opportunity to share their successes and challenges over a shared meal.