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Three Components for Successful Modern Team Building

September 15, 2020

By: Keather Snyder

Businesses are about people working in a collection of teams to deliver on your company’s promise.  Your people make up the soul of your company.  Team building unifies people, making them an unstoppable force. Companies with robust team building programs perform better and have a brighter future than those that do not. Organizations “with a soul” outperform the S&P 400 in terms of higher employee engagement and retention, better customer service, long-term profitability, and more than 8x return vs. S&P 400 10-year returns. (Josh Bersin, Simply Irresistible: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, April 2014)

So, how do you create such a plan? And how do you do so when our teammates aren’t all in one physical space? Before we get into how, let’s talk about why it’s important to do this.

Main Benefits of Team Building

Before we get into the components you need for a world-class, modern team building program, let’s look at what one can do for your company. If your organization gets team building right, here’s what you can expect:

  • a people-first culture that attracts top talent
  • an engaged workforce invested in the firm’s success for the long haul
  • a tight-knit group that operates at peak efficiency

Keep in mind that by 2025 Millennials will make up an estimated 75% of the worldwide workforce (Source: Forbes). This will influence many companies’ future corporate cultures and affect communication and collaboration. When considering whether investing in a team building program is essential, consider that 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal (Source: The Economist), while 37% say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying with an employer (Source: Gusto).

Need more convincing? When those things are in place, you’ll:

  • spend less on recruiting
  • have less employee turnover
  • deal with less internal conflict
  • achieve goals faster
  • serve customers better
  • improve your bottom line

Ready to get started on modernizing your team building program?  Let’s go.

Team Building Program Must-Haves

There are three main things that you must include in your team building program:

  • activities to bond
  • opportunities to learn
  • an open forum to solve problems

Together, these elements will foster a team that trusts each other, cares about one another, and works like a well-oiled machine.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these must-haves.

Activities to Bond

Extremely connected teams show a 21% increase in profitability. Staff who feel supported want to give their best and contribute to their company’s success. (Source: Gallup)

We’re all busy, but don’t discount the occasional non-work specific activities. These give your team the chance to get to know each other as people, not just colleagues. If you’re working virtually, consider a Lunch-and-Learn, a book club, or an after-work virtual Happy Hour with trivia, break out group challenges and of course -- prizes are must.

These activities build camaraderie. Interactive experiences create memories that build connections and give way to legendary stories that get shared across teams for years. These outside of work experiences are also another way for people to get to know each other and see a different side of people, and that helps build empathy for one another. And, as the connection deepens, trust follows. When that trust is in place, team members will rely on each other, support each other when needed, feel happier, be less likely to burnout, and achieve results.

A side benefit of these activities is how you show up as a leader for your team. They get to see a different side of you too.  Watching you struggle solving a problem or not getting out of an escape room so easily makes you appear a lot more human than you may in the weekly Sales Huddle. In addition, these activities may shed light on talents among your team you haven’t discovered yet. They can expose natural strengths and tendencies that may not stand out in the daily work environment.

Opportunities to Learn

Events that let your employees blow off steam absolutely have their place. But, so do activities that help your business and your employees’ professional development. As you fill your team building program calendar, be sure to include opportunities for your team to level-up together. Team members can encourage one another, practice new skills amongst themselves, and hold each other accountable.

Learning experiences in a team environment create an opportunity to mix up groups and build collaboration across teams who may not work together daily or only communicate through email.  At The Omnia Group, we conduct a monthly learning lab with a variety of topics. We invite guest speakers from industry leaders and clients who give us great insights on their implementations, and we watch videos together on topics such as building empathy and active listening. We also encourage people to get together in smaller groups to focus on joint learning that involves building their technical skills around Microsoft Office products and collaboration tools.

When you make professional development a priority, your organization’s collective knowledge pool deepens, and you are giving people the opportunity to come together and share experiences they wouldn’t necessarily have in just a daily work atmosphere. Systems and processes will inevitably improve. And you’ll see those results in dollars and cents. You’ll also have a team that’s grateful for the investment you’ve made in them. That engagement bolsters the soul of your organization and your bottom line too.

Open Forum to Solve Problems and Innovate

Even the most well-meaning people and skilled professionals experience problems with one another from time to time. Your team building program should provide an open forum to address these issues as they arise. Common concerns that may need to be worked out include ineffective communication, broken processes, production bottlenecks and team conflicts. These issues left unaddressed build stress that leads to low morale or even worse -- burnout and turnover.

80% of US employees feel stressed due to ineffective company communication. (Source: Dynamic Signal) CareerBuilder sites that 61% of workers experience burnout, and as many as 31% of workers admit to suffering from extreme stress. A company sharing duties, responsibilities, and openly problem solving can help to distribute the workload more evenly to boost productivity while relieving stress on employees.

Create “safe” forums where teams can come together to openly communicate and share where they are experiencing breakdowns. Consider taking your teams through learning programs that cover how to give and receive feedback in ways that lessen defensiveness and create openness to hear all sides.  Although you can structure your forum in many ways, it is crucial that it is a safe, cooperative place for all team members. The emphasis of your discussions should be on what’s happening -- not who may be to blame. Depending on the nature and depth of the problem, it may be worth bringing in a guest expert to facilitate a productive, relationship-oriented solution.  These kinds of sessions, when conducted productively, not only help build team collaboration but core problems get addressed and innovations can arise. Some of the best ideas can come from these sessions -- new product ideas, process modernizations, and client delivery improvements that take your organization to a whole new level.

How Omnia Can Help

Each team member has a distinct personality. They bring different strengths, values, and worldviews to the table. Behavioral assessments unlock that valuable intel so you can craft a team building program that’s tailored specifically to your group. Your program will be enormously successful because it captures and honors the unique makeup of your team.

Businesses with effective communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover, says a ClearCompany report. Our assessments and behavioral insights can strengthen your company’s communication strategy and company culture, resulting in happier employees who openly communicate, become more productive and profitable, and reduce the likelihood of turnover.

Omnia offers a signature behavioral assessment that gets you the information you need in a snap. It’s fast and simple for employees to take part, and you’ll receive instant, easy-to-digest results. If you want even more insight, we can also supply a deeper analysis. This, by the way, is another great activity you can use to build collaboration, develop empathy and open communication across your team.  In other words -- this is a great team building activity and very easy to do virtually.

Final Thoughts

Strong teams are the cornerstone, the soul, of a thriving business, but they don’t happen overnight.  Your employees want to be a part of a healthy, thriving team. To get the benefits of a unified group, you’ll need to create and implement a custom team building program. To give that program the best chance of being successful in today’s modern business world, you must base it on a deep understanding of your employees.

97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team affects the outcome of a task or project (Source: Mckinsey), so imagine what the right insights into your team could do!

Get your program started the right way from the get-go. Contact us today!

Keather Snyder

Chief Revenue Officer at The Omnia Group, a leader in helping organizations improve and optimize their talent selection, development and company culture. Keather is a results-oriented leader with a track record of guiding organizations in cultivating the employee experience, engaging clients and executing sales plans to exceed business targets. Prior to joining Omnia, Keather was with Bersin by Deloitte leading their worldwide sales and client success team. There, she was a prominent speaker and workshop facilitator presenting on the “Future of Work” and Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends research. She continues to speak at conferences, universities and client events globally. Keather is also hugely passionate about developing our future generation of employees and dedicates personal time to mentoring school age and early career professionals. For more information, email info@omniagroup.com or call 800.525.7117.

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