What have you done to show your employees that you care? When it comes time to reap the rewards of your department’s hard work, do you share the rewards and kudos with your employees? Everyone likes to be rewarded for their hard work, and your employees are no different. Yes, you’re already paying them to work for you, but sometimes it’s necessary to go a bit above and beyond for the sake of their morale.
When you take the time to organize a fun activity for your staff, you’re showing them just how much you care. It is important to note that if all you organize is some half-baked petting zoo in the parking lot or an outing that your employees have absolutely no interest in, it seems that you don’t care very much at all. Team building can be great way of encouraging your employees to stay engaged with their work. Just be sure that the “fun” activity that you’ve planned will go over well with your staff. The last thing you want is for your kind gesture to be a big waste of time for everyone involved.
Now, as important as team building is, I would encourage you to try and do it yourself instead of seeking “expert” help. The point of going on a archaeological dig or a bike ride with your employees is to make you all closer together, to get this group of people to do something together besides work. When you bring in facilitators to play trust games or whatever, you may be sending a message that you don’t intend to. The message is that this is activity is still about work. Instead of enjoying a lazy float down a local river one sunny afternoon, your employees are going through “Active Communication” or “Calamity to Collaboration” or some other canned, corporate nonsense. Instead of getting to enjoy each other’s company in a non-work setting, your employees are enduring the awkward exercises that your facilitator is pushing them through.
A great way to get the most out of a team building office party or outing is to get your employees involved in the planning and facilitation of the event. Instead of being “the boss,” you get to be that guy or gal who sits back with a smile and makes it all happen. Including your employees in the planning process will also allow them to choose an activity that is closer aligned with the interests of your staff. I’d also recommend appointing some well liked employees to lead whatever activities you end up deciding on. This way, you can just be another participant enjoying the afternoon off of work instead of the boss who’s trying to get his employees to like him.