Hosting your first team building event

11th October 2021

If you are arranging or hosting a corporate team building event for the very first time, this article is a must read.

After nearly a decade of working in events, you’d be surprised how many times I have worked with clients who have never organised a team building event, yet have been tasked with this challenge and just don’t know where to start.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so here are my top tips for what you need to think about before making enquiries with any external suppliers or venues, as you may well be asked about these points before they can assist you in creating your event.

 

Key Focus(es)

You may have a few different elements to the team day, but you most likely have a key focus that the event or activity has been arranged for. The words ‘team building’ are thrown around as though this is a key element, but think about if you need your employees to focus on communication, getting to know each other, conflict resolution, working together with other departments, competitive elements or if you simply want to reward your employees by allowing them to bond through a fun experience led activity. The chances are that you will find an event or activity that ticks all of the boxes, however your activity provider may ask which element the tasks are to focus on.

 

Formal Elements

Many businesses decide to host a conference in the morning and then have a more fun team building activity in the afternoon to reward their employees for their hard work. Decide if you would like for your day to include a more formal meeting element to discuss the focuses of the day and then allow them to take part in their team building activity.
Alternatively, you can allow your employees to begin with the team building activity and then a formal debrief to discuss what skills and elements they learned. You may want them to see how they could apply these skills to their every day working life and how they could improve their working relationships.

 

Food & Drink

It can be a wise idea to include a sociable food and drink service to the day, and your employees may group together and bond without even realising they’re doing it. This can be between the formal meeting and the team building activity, or perhaps after the main activity has taken place, as they will have a lot to discuss.

Finger buffets, BBQs and informal roaming food options (pizza, fish & chips, burgers, etc.) can be great choices for your employees to mingle whilst enjoying. They can also be seen as a reward in themselves.
If appropriate, you may wish to include a variety of different drinks including an alcoholic drink if allowed. Again, this can be seen as a reward and you employees may bond over that beer or glass of wine.

 

Icebreakers and Energisers

There are some great icebreaker activities available, which allows for your employees to let go of their inhibitions and do something a little away from the ordinary, in order to bond with those around them. You may wish to arrange employees into groups of people who they would not normally interact with at work and then bond over a logic puzzle, a physical challenge or perhaps a get-to-know-you activity such as ‘two truths and a lie’.

Energisers are a great way of bringing in short burst of energetic activities either to wake your employees up a little during a formal element to the day or to warm up ready for the upcoming team building activity. This is usually something quite physical, such as a dance challenge or even something noisy like a musical activity or Haka.
Icebreakers tend to be 10-15 minutes long and typically take place at the beginning to get the employees into the right frame of mind for the day ahead. Energisers can be a similar length of time or a little shorter, just to break up the day a little and allow employees a chance for their brain to have a rest, before going back to focussing on the meeting or activity ahead.

 

Team Building Activities

There are so many different types of activities out there and companies who specialise in providing these for corporate clients, so the options are almost endless. Because of this, budget tends to be a large influencing factor on what is appropriate for your event.
You may decide to host your own team building activities as part of your event. You can find many different ideas online, however these are likely to take a little more time and energy to prepare in advance. Also, to run an activity which is to focus on communication or conflict resolution may be a little tricky to facilitate internally, whereas external providers can run these activities without any worries.

For externally run team building challenges, depending on the key focuses (as decided above), you should be able to find an array of different options and suppliers online. See our team building category on Party Pages to find your local activity providers.
External activity providers can always facilitate an event to ensure that all attendees take part in whichever way you see fit. It might be that you have more senior managers in amongst the lower tiered staff members, or you may wish to organise teams so that they bond with those who they wouldn’t usually work with on a day-to-day basis. Be aware of who is attending your event and try to choose an activity that can include everyone.

An element of competition is sometimes a good way to engage your employees in the activity and a prize for the winning person or team is usually must. Alternative you might wish to keep your group together and work towards one main goal. Small prizes or certificates for outstanding performers and/or a wooden spoon award as a joke for ultimate activity fail or silliest suggestion could be a way to add humour to the activity.

 

Venue

You might wish to host your team building event at your own workplace to avoid disruption to the workday or to help keep costs down, however going offsite for a team building day can also be beneficial. See our venues supplier category on the Party Pages homepage to find suitable offsite venues in your area.
Depending on the activity provider that you choose, you may find that they have a base somewhere local, recommended venues or perhaps might have a purpose-built venue for that specific activity.

 

Debrief & Feedback

Potentially one of the most valuable parts of the day for you as the organiser, you may wish to arrange a formal debrief and/or feedback session.
This is a great way for you to circle back to any formal elements of the day to see what was learned and how this relates to the key focuses of the team building activity.

If this was your first Team Building Event, the feedback will be invaluable to you so that you know what did or didn’t work well for your group. You will then be able to improve on your next event, taking these comments into consideration. If everything went well and all elements of the day were enjoyed by everyone, it will be good for you to know and pass this on to the next event organiser.

 

Well, there you have it. There will be other questions and areas to think about when you do come to planning and booking a team building event, but having read the above, you have already done more research and thinking than the majority of event organisers that I have dealt with in the past!
Speak to some of our local Team Building experts in our supplier category on the Party Pages directory and begin your planning, or Ask Party Pages if we can help.

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