Fun & Engaging Team Building Activities for Your Next Company Retreat
As a company that plans retreats for a living, we have heard horror stories and understand why employees cringe at the words 'team building activity.' But take it from us - team building doesn’t have to be the same old, kitchy, activities like “Two Truths and a Lie” or drum circles, which tend to be received with a groan and enough eye rolls to turn the clock forward a day. Instead, let us show you how you can capitalize on more out-of-the-box ideas to really spring your employees into action.
It goes without saying, every business (big or small!) needs a great team of employees to prosper. While what constitutes a “great team” will differ from company to company, the foundation of being able to work together efficiently and effectively remains the same. Of course, this doesn’t happen without guided effort, specifically from team leaders who know how to cultivate an environment where everyone can work together at their highest levels. This is where team building comes in.
Team building can inspire a group while, at the same time, encouraging strong teamwork and collaboration. Removing the team from their work environment and providing fun activities to participate in together will allow the group to relate differently to one another and connect more effectively than from the confines of their cubicle.
Below are some team building activities that, in our experience, have had a lasting effect and managed to push participation beyond the half-hearted. Give them a try for your next corporate retreat!
Picture this: Your employees are divided into small teams and dropped off in the city centre of Lisbon, with nothing but an iPad in-hand and competitive spirit in the hearts. Teams race through the city - taking quirky (read: ridiculous) selfies in front of monuments, completing culturally-specific challenges (tile painting, anyone?), and interacting with locals with the hopes of accumulating enough points to be crowned the victors.
Everyone knows the premise of a scavenger hunt, and they are a fantastic way to get teams working together quickly. Perhaps a little less well-known, is how much more an activity of this nature can do beyond fostering a little competitive spirit. Companies with teams that trust one another and are actively engaged in creating success for the group consistently return higher revenues than competitors that lack this type of cohesion according to the American Psychological Association. If you take a closer look at how corporate scavenger hunts are designed, their intrinsic value begins to come forward:
- Setting and Achieving Goals
- Task Management and Completion
- Authority Delegation
- Problem Solving
With this in mind, it’s easy to see that while a scavenger hunt can be a fun afternoon in the sun for the group, it will also be engendering the fundamentals of corporate success in the process… win-win!
Looking for a Risk-free way to get your employees engaged on-the-go? Allow us to Clue you in. Board games are an ideal platform for shaking things up and promoting a team spirit. Even if not everyone in the group is familiar with a given game, they are usually no Trouble to pick up and can lead to cost-effective fun, fast.
There are several companies that have designed board games specifically for corporate team building, but the standard version of games such as Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly can easily get competitive spirits going. Consider these your “get out of jail free” card from plain Jane team building activities.
Other games to think about bringing to the table are:
Codenames: Players are divided into two teams and each side chooses a Spymaster. Teams must identify each other using codes without revealing an enemy agent. Furthermore, it's just as exciting to watch as is it to play!
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The team must adventure through 19th century London and identify clues that will solve a case given to them by Sherlock Holmes. Working together to decipher the evidence found will lead the team to the killer.
Articulate: The group splits into teams and each have thirty seconds to describe a word on a card without using the word. This sounds much easier than it is and the urgency of the game can create an exciting and fun atmosphere.
Mafia: Ah, a camp classic. Everyone sits in a circle with their eye closed and are assigned the role of “Mafia” (1-3), “Detective” (1-3), or “Citizen” (Remaining players). The goal here is for the Detectives to correctly identify each Mafia member before they and all the citizens are killed off.
The Resistance: The group of up to 10 players are secretly divided into the resistance and spies. A bluffing game, the resistance must figure out who the spies are before the time runs out!
It is important games are not played by the individuals against each other but, rather, by competing teams. Try adding a board game or two during your next retreat, we promise you won’t be Sorry.
A bit better than your average game of Trivial Pursuit, if you put in the extra effort it can be a great way for the team to learn more about the company, each other, and have fun doing it. Using the traditional Trivial Pursuit board and rules a manager will create custom categories and trivia questions based on the business and team members attending the retreat. General corporate knowledge should be used such as sales goals, previous events, marketing plans and future milestones.
The purpose of the game isn’t to prove who doesn’t know enough about the business, so make sure at least a few members of each team will likely know the answers to most questions with a few tough ones mixed in.
Share that inner-diva way past the bath mat with some karaoke. We get it - people can often be too abashed to sing their hearts out in front of their colleagues, but by breaking the performance into groups and adding some incentives, you’ll be hard-pressed to find guests unwilling to participate.
For example, you may choose to give out prizes based on the following criteria:
- Most Original Song Choice
- Best Costumes
- Best Dance Routine
- Best Artist Impersonations
These will get you started, and the sky is the limit. The key here will be less emphasis on singing talent and more on showmanship and daring-spirit.
Cooking classes are one of our favourite team building activities for a retreat. The options are endless - we have had groups make fresh pasta in Florence, ceviche in Cartagena, poutine in Quebec City, there are too many to list! The classes are not only fun, but also an opportunity to tie in local culture and have your group test out some new cuisine (or beverages!).
Furthermore, enjoy the cost-savings of combining the price of a meal and an activity all in one! We find it works best if you divide up into smaller teams, with each making one dish. Afterwards the group can come together to sit-down and enjoy the meals they just made. Alternatively you can make it a competition to see who can make the best dish! Either way it will be a great time, and really bring your team together.
Interested in more ideas? From go-karts in Barcelona to Whirlyball in Chicago, there are limitless options for interesting team building activities, and will typically depend on the location that you've chosen for the event. Don't hesitate to reach out and we'd be happy to suggest more.