First of all, let’s see why team building is important to a new business. Setting up a new business team is basically expecting people who do not know each other to work as one in order to drive profit; this can be a major challenge. For this reason, team building is essential and can not be accomplished in one sitting. It takes time for people who are strangers to reach a point where they are getting along. Organizing a team building event before splurging on a retreat for your employees is key to success.
There is a misconception that sending a group of people to an expensive retreat or event will make them magically mesh into an effective team. Team building takes time, and starting small with mini games in the workplace for example will give your team a much stronger foundation.
In the beginning, as your team get to know each other, they will form small cliques. It is important to break up those cliques when playing team building games during office hours. In fact, each team should include a representative from each clique.
Organize interesting competitions that will engage your team. Make sure the games are not boring and designed only to force them to interact. Small events that allow each team member to showcase their prowess as a team are very effective. As their boss it is a good idea to let your team get to know you better, so that you come across as approachable while still being professional.
One option for this is to organize a “Get To Know Me” session in which they each have the opportunity to ask you anything they like, including personal questions. Apart from showing them that you are approachable, this will also help them to establish camaraderie. Another great idea is to have a “Who Knows Me Best” game the following day, providing small rewards to maintain their interest.
Rather than making this a one-off event, set aside time for these games with your employees each week. This regular interaction between them and you will help them to learn more about each other and will help to get rid of any tension that may arise.
After a month or two you might like to splurge on a fun company event at a resort, beach or any other fun location. Although team building games will not be necessary by this time as they will have already bonded, it is still a good idea to include a few, as long as they are fun. You can treat this special company event as a victory party for you since getting strangers to work together and get along well is not an easy task. Congratulate and treat yourself to a cocktail and a pat on the back. You deserve it!
P.S.: Here is another great list of team building event and games (PDF format).
P.S.S: Checkout “Snakes” game which uses non-verbal communication to lead a team through this trust & team building games