Team management is a challenge in any field, but in technology this venture is even harder when companies have to retain people, faced with a demand from IT professionals for new challenges and opportunities and, of course, better salaries.
Thus, retaining employees becomes paramount and companies invest in actions that engage teams and strengthen their ties, using retention strategies which may include, for example, team building activities. In addition to bringing all employees together, this type of action helps to create and develop a corporate culture and is especially relevant when it comes to increasing productivity and, at the same time, overcoming communication barriers that may arise in teams. By the way, we have already published an article with 9 reasons why team building is important.
At KWAN, we are advocates of team building activities and we are increasingly committed to the well-being of our employees, promoting activities in this area.
Therefore, in this article we share with you 15 suggestions for team building activities that you can use in your organization, winning over the team and strengthening the bonds between everyone, among other benefits.
15 Team Building Activities That Will Improve Your Retention Strategy
Solving a puzzle to escape from a room: that’s the premise of this team building activity. To participate in an “Escape Room”, a minimum number of players is required, depending on the size of the rooms. The goal is to solve a puzzle made by the organizers in less than 60 minutes, which can be games, riddles, puzzles, or even finding objects, using only the intelligence of the participants. This activity aims to strengthen cooperation among everyone, showing that the contribution of each element is vital for the success of all.
Tip: There are several “Escape Room” facilities in Portugal prepared for group events, which can be an excellent solution for organizations that do not have facilities capable of hosting this type of actions. However, for remote teams, there are also sites that offer virtual escape rooms.
Two Truths and One Lie
When new people join the team, team building activities help with integration, especially because it can be difficult to get into organizations where relationships are already well defined… or when there is no relationship at all. The game “Two truths and one lie” is easy to play and helps to improve the relationship between everyone: each employee writes two truths and one lie about himself/herself or about his/her life on a piece of paper, and then hands it to a person in charge of reading all these facts. The other employees will try to figure out which of the facts is true or not by asking their colleague questions. In addition to a lot of laughs, the game will allow each member of the team to learn a little more about their colleagues.
For this team building activity, all you need are napkins and pens to test your team(s)’ problem-solving skills, forcing them to think and make “out of the box” decisions. Divide your team into groups of two or four (who have never worked together before) and present them with a problem or question whose answer is still open. Then give each group a napkin and a pen. The idea is that the team presents one (or more!) solution(s) to that challenge on one side of the napkin, and the solutions presented are reviewed by a “committee” that will decide which one is the best.
Tip: Opt for plain napkins and gel pens.
Do you remember that childhood game where you couldn’t smile at all while facing someone else? Our team building activity suggestion is exactly that! Fifteen minutes is all it takes: gather small groups of up to six in a circle. Then invite them to face each other as long as possible without smiling. The person who can keep the most serious face for as long as possible wins.
It may sound like child’s play, but this dynamic is particularly useful for reducing the stress levels of teams by reducing tensions between group members through laughter.
Sort by Date
Communication is the soul of any team. And that is put to the test in this team building activity. Divide your employees into teams of up to twelve and ask them to line up in order of date of birth (day and month). This must happen without the participants speaking to each other, but they can use gestures or signs. The team that puts its elements in order in the shortest time wins.
This game, in addition to creating a moment of joy, will also help improve communication and interpretation among employees, and improve their leadership skills.
Teamwork requires listening and collaborating with others to achieve a goal. This dynamic demands just that, especially to kick off a day of team building activities. Put the participants in a circle and ask one of them to start a story using three sentences, but not ending the last one. For example: “John was very happy. He had gone to the mall for dinner with a friend. But he didn’t imagine that suddenly…”. It’ll be up to the next member of the group to finish the sentence and say three more sentences, leaving the last one unfinished, and so on. The game ends when all the elements of the circle participate with their sentences and the story is coherent.
This activity allows all employees to listen to each other, creating better collaboration, and improving communication skills.
Another activity that your team can do is a game that builds trust among all members. In an open space, split all employees into pairs: one of the elements should blindfold the eyes and the other should be the guide, giving directions to the blindfolded one to follow a predefined route. There are several variations of this game, from setting “traps” along the way (which can be balloons or other objects) to the rule that the blindfolded employee cannot speak. However, the goal is the same: to get to the end of the course in the shortest time possible.
This team building activity helps to promote trust among all team members, because as one of the team members is somewhat “incapacitated”, they have to put their trust in their partner so that both of them can accomplish the task.
Tip: This is an excellent team building exercise for those team members who are not very open to collaborating with each other.
A team’s good results depend, to a large extent, on the planning of its work. And one team building activity that can further enhance that need is the marshmallow challenge. Divide employees into teams of varying numbers and give them 40 spaghetti sticks, a meter of tape, a meter of string, and, of course, a marshmallow. The goal is to build the tallest tower within the time set, and the marshmallow must stay on top and not fall down.
This activity allows everyone to work towards a common goal, working on and improving creative and problem-solving skills.
Indoor or Outdoor Leisure
Team leisure experiences are also a great team building exercise. Whether it is a bowling competition, a soccer or paddle game at the end of work, or even a thematic weekend with paintball or laser tag.
In the long run, these moments have individual and collective impacts. For the employee, it will help build and improve self-confidence, while helping to unwind after a day at the office. But for the team, the benefits are even greater, as it encourages the creation of team strategies, while fostering a better relationship with all team members.
Tip: There are several companies that organize sports weekends in various parts of the country, which can be an excellent solution for organizations that do not have facilities prepared for this purpose.
Corporate volunteering actions are also examples of easy-to-organize team building activities, bringing organizations together for the benefit of society. In this context, employees are invited to help a charitable institution or improve the lives of people living near the company, for example. And this can be done by engaging employees in charitable actions and events, such as collecting food, or helping to rehabilitate a public space.
In addition to promoting the company’s social responsibility values, corporate volunteering creates greater team unity while doing something good for the community.
The Wall of Good Memories
In good working environments, building good memories happens very naturally and this allows teams to be even more united when adversities arise.
If you want to cultivate those moments, promote this team building activity in the workplace: all you need are sheets of paper, tape (or pins), and pens. Ask participants to take 20 minutes to think about and write down the positive memories they created in that space. These can be projects, experience, learnings, etc. Then give them a new sheet of paper and ask them to draw those memories in 30 minutes. They can get together with the people they experienced those moments with to create those drawings. At the end, ask everyone to affix their memories on the wall and present them to the other employees.
This team building exercise allows you to recognize everyone’s work, recovering good memories and improving the mutual help and positive relationship among all employees. Moreover, it creates a visual support that recalls the goals that were already achieved.
The Best Moments in Life
Getting out of the comfort zone can be difficult for shy employees. This team building exercise is designed to do just that and is suitable for both small groups and large groups. Start by asking each of the participants to close their eyes for a few minutes and think about the best moments in their lives: moments alone or with their families, friends, or co-workers, from personal revelations to professional achievements, etc. Then ask them to decide in thirty seconds which of those moments they would like to relive if they had the chance. After that selection, ask team members to share those memories out loud and why they chose them. In this way, employees will get to know each other in a different way, strengthening relationships and increasing trust with each other, while being taken out of their comfort zone, sharing feelings that might otherwise never be shared.
The question “How do you see yourself in the future?” is something employers ask a lot in interviews. But have you ever asked your team members this question? This team building activity does just that. The challenge is to create a cover for the company’s institutional magazine: divide employees into teams of at least three and provide them with some elements needed to create the cover (photos, some quotes from leaders, some information about ongoing projects). Then, just let the creativity flow and, in the end, choose the best cover.
The goal is for the teams to look into the future of the company, improving their creative thinking. It also helps to improve cohesion within the team, promoting thinking big.
“In my room and in yours!”
It is not only the face-to-face team members who need team building activities: remote teams also need these exercises. And as advocates of remote work (we have even published an article with the reasons why productivity increases in the teams that choose this work model), we could not leave out those who cannot get together face-to-face. So, this is the challenge: how about having the whole team over to your house? Virtually speaking. This dynamic can be organized via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, where each week employees show their home live or through a short video, sharing why they love their home so much. This kind of dynamic can even evolve into a weekly event where each team member opens the doors of their home to the others. The goal is to build and improve relationships between remote team members, getting to know them better in a fun way.
Perhaps some of your remote team members are introverts, and the best way to involve them may be to use a dynamic that is well-known to everyone. Remember Pictionary? How about turning it into a team building exercise, using the whiteboard feature included in Zoom or Google Meet? Divide your employees into two teams, choose an online word generator and start playing. Each team must select a team member to draw something that illustrates the generated word, while everyone else tries to guess. All this in 60 seconds. The team that guesses right earns a point and gets the opportunity to draw the next word.
This dynamic encourages the participation of every team member, even those who are more introverted. Due to the characteristics of this team building activity, employees will feel more comfortable participating and contributing to the improvement of their critical thinking and peer collaboration.
15 Team Building Activities That Will Improve Your Retention Strategy – Final Remarks
If you choose to put one (or several) of these team building activities into practice, your team’s relationship will improve, and the results will come. Promote a happy corporate culture and enjoy a motivated organization every day, and you’ll see that you’re halfway through success in every task.
At KWAN, we have been an advocate of remote work from the very first moment, and we recognize that bringing teams together in more relaxed moments ensures an essential business balance for increased productivity and for the success of your organization.
If you want your tech team to benefit from these kinds of practices, but can’t spend time and money organizing them, we can be your outsourcing partner, get in touch and let’s work together!