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What is team building, and why should you try it?

a photo of an effective team in a restaurant, including cooks and servers working together

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Success often comes down to building an efficient and happy team. While everyone understands the importance of having a cohesive workforce, not all employers know the true answer to, “What is team building?” To fully understand this concept, you need to carefully think about your workplace’s culture and employees’ needs. Taking the time to fully explore effective team building strategies may result in a more positive work environment as well as improved revenue margins.

What is Team Building?

In the restaurant, grocery, and retail industries, your team has a huge impact on your company’s success. Even simple communication errors and misunderstandings can sometimes cause major problems. If you want your business to operate smoothly, you need employees who communicate well, respect each other, and genuinely enjoy working together. This is where team building comes in. Team building is simply any process that helps unite all your individual employees into a cohesive and effective group. Rather than just a single day of exercises, team building should be an ongoing process that teaches your employees how to work together and respect each other’s strengths.

Some common examples of team building include:

  • Ice breakers
  • Company meals
  • Puzzles and brain teaser activities
  • Discussion topics
  • Group projects
  • Employee games
  • Social events

Explore the Benefits of Team Building

Statistically, team building is effective in all industries, but it’s particularly helpful when there are at least 10 people in the group, such as teams of waiters or cashiers. Teams with a strong focus on group bonding have much higher performance rankings at work, and individual members tend to have better mental health.

There are several reasons why team building can help workers and their managers reach common goals. First of all, it improves communication. An activity like asking employees to share items from their bucket list allows coworkers to better understand each other and learn how to effectively convey ideas to each other. Encouraging this kind of conversation might seem trivial to workers at first, but it could have a big impact. Team members may be more excited to work on cooperative tasks, like cleaning or taking inventory, that require delegation and teamwork.

Improved Attitude and Employee Morale

Furthermore, these coworkers will be less likely to have disagreements caused by misunderstandings or passive-aggressive behavior. By getting to know their coworkers, employees can better trust each other and identify strengths. Even simple activities like an employee happy hour can help them to cooperate better and improve workplace functioning. The strengthened social bonds often boost morale, resulting in a workplace where your team is happy to show up each day. In customer-facing positions like baristas or salespeople, this improved mood also means happier customers and more sales for you.

Team building activities like an escape room or board game session also tend to focus on skills like cognitive functioning and logical thinking. This can help to enhance group problem-solving abilities. Employees learn effective processes for handling real workplace issues such as a disgruntled customer or a missing ingredient in the kitchen. When you incorporate positive feedback and employee appreciation into your team building, you can improve your team’s confidence and give them more incentive to work.

What to Know Before You Try

Team building can be an excellent way of improving team communication and work ethic. However, there are some potential downsides you should be aware of. For many businesses, the main drawback is simply cost. Doing things like hosting a big party or giving away fancy prizes can be expensive. In addition to upfront costs, you need to think about lost work time. Team building exercises should take place during the workday because no employee will appreciate a mandatory bonding activity during their free time. Furthermore, you or another manager will need to take time to plan the event. This can result in lost time that may require employees working overtime or you closing the restaurant or store for part of the day.

However, it’s important to think of such measures as an investment that will ultimately save money in improved efficiency. If budget is a huge priority for you, don’t let potential costs keep you from team building. There are all sorts of cheap and fast ways to build trust and boost your team’s performance. The most effective exercises will simply encourage employees to talk with each other. You don’t need flashy karaoke machines, gourmet food, or luxurious outings — even if they are a lot of fun.

How to Plan Effective Team Building

Now that you know more about what team building is and what you can hope to accomplish, it’s time to take a look at planning your next group session. There is no “one size fits all” team-building activity. Instead, you need to carefully plan something that addresses your company’s unique needs. Ideal team-building sessions for your business will help employees learn about each other, enhance trust, boost team morale, encourage thinking skills, and celebrate employees’ individual strengths. You’ll need to factor in:

  • Team members’ ages
  • The size of your team
  • Employee personalities
  • Individual staff preferences
  • Team members’ educational backgrounds
  • Your workplace culture
  • Your specific team building goals

Looking for more ideas on how to have fun and effective team building? Check out our list of great options. TimeForge is here to help you take team engagement and efficiency to the next level. We provide tools for employee scheduling, human resources, and more all in a single platform. With built-in communication tools, our software also encourages conversation among team members and departments. Get in touch with us today if you would like to learn more about TimeForge.

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