Corporate team building programs in India have suddenly gained a lot of popularity. However, they are also usually very cliched and not as engaging when groups are larger than 50 participants.
If you are organizing a team building program for your employees, you should know that your personal brand/reputation is at stake! So how do you make sure you avoid hearing the following at the end of the day:
- Oh that program was boring
- We could have had more fun just ordering Dominos!
- Iska point kya tha?
- Yaar yeh HR bhi na… when will this end so I could go home!
If the program doesn’t engage people, you are the one employees will blame! Here are three very important things you must do to ensure a kickass program:
- Choose the Facilitator, not the Activities
It doesn’t matter whether you know the joke, but how you tell the joke. The same team building activity will have a completely different outcome depending on who the facilitator is, their energy levels, the power of their presence, awareness about the direction in which the audience intends to go towards, the ability to ask powerful questions and offer impactful insights, etc. In sum, it does NOT matter what is done, but WHO does the program!
The team building facilitator needs to be drive the group towards being more energetic. It’s extremely important to watch their videos where they are speaking to the crowd… that will be a good indicator of the engagement you can expect in the program.
- Take suggestions from the team, and go over the detailed flow of the event with the facilitator
Very often, those organizing the team building programs ignore the participants’ inputs in deciding what to do, how long, where, and the purpose. Even something as simple as deciding how much of the program should involve physical activity in the outdoor VS more reflective/deep work indoors, is ignored. The program brings X and the participants want/expect Y. Disaster!
Secondly, you also need to have a proper visual flow of every 15 minutes of the day. What will happen, how the participants will engage in the activity, how will the transition happen, etc. You need a walkthrough from the facilitator rather than just trusting them to handle everything. Even if you are new to this area of work, you can still give feedback on how the flow is sounding and whether you feel it fits in the objective.
- Step away from the cliched. What looks amazing doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be engaging.
Just because something is trending doesn’t mean it’s the best option. People want to organise the same cliched things just because they have heard about it or seen it somewhere. For example, the activity “drum circle” or “treasure hunt” may be fun, but they don’t engage a large crowd. So the ones who have fun are the ones who keep vocalising it… while the 30-40% who were bored remain quiet. So the organising teams feel that the event was successful. Same thing applies to activities that require a large team (over 8 people) to construct or build something (like an F1 car, or anything using some material). Only 4-5 people take the lead and the rest have nothing to do except to just watch.
Similarly, people talk about Fire Walk and Glass Walk… but they are extremely boring for the large majority. Once the first few people do it, every one knows “yeh toh koi bhi kar sakta hai.” This video from a corporate team building in India shows how people are finding this ordinary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMfuHoBkTBE
The team building facilitator you choose, needs to be creative in designing new/innovative activities suited to the specific objective you have in mind for your own team. The activity MUST change depending on the objective, the size of the crowd, the exact venue, and other factors.