Maintaining employee motivation
A corporate event is a great way to motivate your workforce. It gets them out of the office and seems like you have given them an extra day's holiday. It allows them to interact with other staff from different departments so when you get them back to the office, they feel more integrated when dealing with others in your organisation. So managers began to wake up to the idea that corporate events could be used for team building.
But you need to choose these 'dual purpose' events carefully. Some are pure entertainment like casino nights or giant scalextric but there are many options that can be used build or strengthen your team.
Usually, when you announce a team building day, staff will groan. If not out loud, they will do it internally. Thay will probably grumble to each other and dread the arrival of a team building day. This is where corporate entertainment events come in. The term has much more enjoyable connotations than does team building. The latter conjures up images of being outside in the cold and wet whilst standing on barrels or milk crates to get your team across an imaginary shark infested pool or crocodile infested swamp. Or maybe people think of abseiling from a height or having to sqeeze through a cave.
Why? Because the original team building was as unsophisticated as that! It was often designed to appeal to macho young middle managers who enjoyed heading out into the wilds of Scotland for a weekend to get cold and wet, starting as individuals but somehow coming back as a team.
And you know what? It wasn't really that effective and it certainly wasn't inclusive.
So team building moved on and the wiser team building companies evolved away from the high ropes - low ropes - milk crates - tyres events and began to devise better methods. One of the first things was to realise that they needed to have viable indoor alternatives. They then cottoned on to the idea of being inclusive. So they developed events that were more fun and that didn't need you to like getting wet or muddy.
Some can be very simple, for example Archery. A couple of hours of corporate archery can develop a feeling of teamwork. How? Make it a competition. Whilst people develop their skills in a practice, the more accomplished team members will want to pass on tips to the others so that their team will win. During the competition, they will also be more encouraging for the same reasons.
A more complex idea is that of the corporate treasure hunt. OK, this is mainly an outside event and thus subject to the weather but a corporate hunt will probably take place in a town ... and your staff will be well used to dealing with bad weather in the urban environment. During the treasure hunt, your teams will be required to actively find the answers to the treasure hunt clues by observation, some of the clues will be cryptic and some will be easier thus making the event inclusive, a major factor in motivation. They will need to communicate with each other to work our the correct answers. There will also be photo tasks (e.g. take a photograph of two of your team in a bath) which will require them to discuss and negotiate with other people plus a treasure hunt shopping list which will test and develop their ingenuity and negotiating skills too.
Or for a purely indoor event, you could have a themed day or half day, such as an espionage day. With spy themed corporate events, team building is easy, provided the all-important ingredient of competition is present. Teams will need to communicate, think laterally, negotiate and use their initiative to win. each team member will support the others to achieve the final goal. All skills that are essential to both individuals and teams in the workplace.
So if you are a wise manager, you should select a corporate event with an element of competition for an effective team building event. Then your staff will not realise it is really a team building day and enjoy themselves whilst learning - in otherwords the perfect environment in which to make progress.