There’s a real trend developing where not only are forward thinking companies offering full experiences to teams that more resemble a fun day out or even a full on vacation, but team building events companies are starting to create experiences so good, such as the escape rooms, that people are choosing to book them for their own parties outside of the workplace. Unfortunately, there are also many companies stuck in the past with staid, ‘stand in the conference room messing about with a piece of string’ type team building, which many employees come to dread as a waste of time, and not particularly useful to energize a tired, and hard-working workforce.
Here are this month’s selections for the best and worst team building our team came across on the web.
The Best: UKFast – Ski Resort Experience
At first when you encounter the coverage of the great experiences UKFast is offering their team in The Guardian you get the impression they’re just offering an insanely exciting trip to their staff with outdoor adventure in the mountains and plenty of beer. However, they also take the opportunity, while having fun a lot of the time, to sit down and brainstorm, discuss code and develop their technical skills in the unique environment.
However, it’s far from being a simple adventure holiday for the employees of the hosting and cloud provider. “We talked about the latest coding techniques and solved conundrums overlooking the mountains rather than sitting in a square box,” says Jones. “We had a chef up there and beers were kept cold in holes. It made staff feel valued.”
We’ve discussed previously the importance younger staff are starting to place on work friendships, and opportunities to develop and enjoy their time with a company, so it’s important that modern team building doesn’t just reflect the needs of the company to assess teams and develop functional skills, but that it’s also fun too.
[Feature Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpxoFooj-kw]
The Worst: IATF – Making Shapes From String
I’m not sure this one needs much commentary. We’re all for budget team building activities, as we know not all companies can stretch to ski resorts and partying as their main methods for motivating teams, however I think the purpose needs to be clear to all those involved.
Not only do the participants here look rather miserable, and there isn’t any kind of fun atmosphere or vibe, but they seem to solve the ‘puzzles’ rather quickly and without a whole lot of discussion, bonding or other interaction. Heck, some of the ‘tasks’ even require minimal communication, closed eyes and other things that separate people from normal human interaction instead of fostering it.
It’s even filmed like it belongs in a different era of team building, with a grainy retro look, but sadly it was uploaded in 2012 and these poor people were subjected to these ‘fun games’ just a few years ago.
In fairness these games are useful sometimes, in the hands of a skilled assessor, as part of an assessment day, perhaps for potential new hires, although even then it really depends on the nature of the role you’re recruiting for. But I’ll definitely grant it’s more practical to put 100 potential hires through this kind of thing, than it is to send them skiing, if you only plan to hire ten of them.