The beginning of the year is a great time to get everyone at the company on the same page. Companies often add new employees to the ranks within the first month. New goals have been outlined and the company vision going forward has been set.

Now is the time to get people excited about 2015. But with employees scattered among different offices and priorities shifting constantly in a fast-moving business climate, it can be tough for employees to even get to know one another, much less move in the same direction.

In addition to all-company meetings, many organizations want to incorporate team-building activities into the schedule. These can be a great way for people to learn more about their co-workers, establish rapport and have fun. However, some team building activities are more effective than others. The best have a particular mission attached to them.

Here are some team building activities you might want to look into and the specific objectives they accomplish:

Obstacle Course

Build an obstacle course either in a large room or outdoor field. Each member of the team will take turns going through the course blindfolded, with the rest of the team members guiding verbally. When going through, prepare to feel confused and bump into things. When guiding, expect to feel frustrated that your message isn’t always getting across.

What the activity accomplishes: Building effective communication skills, learning to overcome challenges.

Lego Tower

Break off into several teams. Each team has a certain number of legos and the goal is to make the largest tower possible. Or reach a certain height in the fastest amount of time. Or making the most cost efficient tower. Whatever the end goal, the group likely will need to reconfigure or even start over numerous times.

What the activity accomplishes: Becoming a better listener, learning to delegate responsibility, thinking outside of the box.

Speech Writing

The group is assigned to develop and deliver a speech about a specific topic and each person is tasked with writing a specific portion and delivering that portion to the other attendees. The objective is, despite different writing and delivery styles, to make the speech come across as fluid as possible.

What the activity accomplishes: Fostering collaboration, enhancing both oral and written communication.

Video Biography

People are broken off into pairs and given a video camera. They are required to produce a one-minute video about the other person, and then everyone sits down and watches the videos together. The activity doesn’t have to involve competition, but it can.

What the activity accomplishes: Learning about team members more in-depth, building creativity, storytelling.

Sometimes, you aren’t necessarily looking to do these team-building activities in the strictest sense of the word, but are looking for events to get the team together for a fun excursion. Again, have an idea of why you want to do these activities, other than just for “having fun.”

Community Service

Community service projects are very popular at companies. They provide a great way to reach out to the local community while also getting team members inspired and working together. Research has shown employees, especially millennials, place an emphasis on a company’s do-good image, so these types of projects can also retain talented employees.

What the activity accomplishes: Making a difference, networking, providing a good name to your firm.

Bowling

We have reservations about this since sports aren’t always a great team-building activity. Some people can’t or choose not to partake, and less-skilled individuals who do end up participating often feel self-conscious. But bowling is often an exception since the majority of people can’t knock down pins to save their life. People can cheer one another on, and the bad bowlers can laugh it off. Plus, there is plenty of time to get to know each other between rounds.

What the activity accomplishes: Friendly competition, getting to know each other better.

Cooking Class/Competition

A cooking class maintains the balance of fun but low-key. This activity can involve traveling offsite or having a culinary instructor come to the workplace or visit an employee’s home. The instructor facilitates the class but the participants (preferably in groups) create the dish from scratch. Also, you could consider having a cooking showcase in lieu of a class. At the end, people have the opportunity to try one another’s dishes and, if it involves competition, vote for the winner.

What the activity accomplishes: Learning to try new things, building collaboration skills, promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Have more good ideas for effective team building activities? Feel free to drop us a line.

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