Today’s post was written by my friends at SocialMonsters.org
Every business has its own culture. As part of HR, you’re tasked with the resolution of conflicts within the company and other potentially stressful employee problems. But if you create a close knit team you can snuff out employee conflicts before they happen and create a culture of happy individuals. In fact, happiness has been linked to more productive and creative teams. But which team building adventures would be the best for your company? Here are some tips for you to follow as you plan.
What kind of people are in your business? Don’t pick an activity that alienates a portion of employees. Assess the group you work with. While there isn’t any one activity that will appeal to everyone, there are activities that can lead to tension with the the group. For instance, a rugged hike in the mountains might work for employees at an athletic club, but not for everyone who works in retail.
Don’t choose for them. Instead, involve employees in the decision. Of course, team building activities aren’t mandatory. You can’t force someone to participate, though if an employee actively refuses, you know who’s invested in the company’s culture and who isn’t. Make a list of potential activities that get employees out of the workplace. Try to keep it sober, however, as many employees may visit bars after work at least once a week. Make sure the activities you suggest breaks the norm. If you work at a sporting goods store, maybe an afternoon skeet shooting at the local country club would get people fired up. If you need supplies that your business doesn’t provide, Cabela’s has all you need for a day at the range. Other ideas include barbecues, laser tag, or even paintball competitions at a certified course. However, that last one can leave some bruises.
Michelle Madhok, the founder of SheFinds Media, which publishes on multiple websites, was faced with a division problem between departments within her small company. The editorial staff was quite introverted while the marketing staff was extroverted. The conflict wasn’t over a tangible instance or object. Instead, Madhok said, via Entrepreneur.com, “There [was] a conflict over personality style.” Madhok first planned a blind taste test, which created trust between the two groups. Then they wrote down their professional and personal fears on clay pots, which they then smashed as a symbolic gesture. At the end, everyone put on white jump suits and were encouraged to throw paint all over each other, which promoted a feeling of unity where there had been none.
Boundary Bay Brewery, a small micro brewery in Bellingham, Washington, holds an annual employee exclusive festival. A large campsite is rented near the Cascades, bands are at hand for live music as are barbecues for food. All employees are allowed a plus one, which helps employees learn about each others’ personal lives. Camp Boundary, as this festival is called, is a chance for employees to build memories outside of the workplace and enjoy each other’s company as friends, rather than co-workers.