Planning team building activities everyone hates is surprisingly easy. To ensure your event sinks faster than the Titanic, you only must plan something corny. And you’ve probably had to take part in these cringe-worthy events. You know, telling two truths and a lie, trust falls, extreme competitive activities, or sitting cross-legged in team meditation. Let’s face it — nobody likes these “team-breaking” exercises.
So, how can you avoid planning team building activities everyone hates? What unique, creative, and team-bonding activities will create a buzz of excitement in the office? How can you ensure your next team building event is a success? This article answers these questions and provides solutions to the biggest challenges of team building.
But before discussing team building events that most employees dislike, it’s vital to know one thing — team building has a ton of benefits for your organization.
The Benefits of Team Activities
When done well, there are many benefits of team bonding activities. These include increased employee engagement, effective collaboration, teamwork, creativity, and innovation. Usually, the benefits of team building exercises happen to organizations without realizing it. All that’s required is to organize regular events with a specific purpose in mind.
However, is there evidence that organizing regular, effective team building events can help large and small companies? Here are some facts about the benefits to employees of team building exercises.
- Strengthen problem-solving skills: Research shows that working together in a team is more effective than individually. For example, one study found that working in groups of three to five was better at solving complex problems than working individually.
- Team building increases creativity: Studies find those team members who share experiences together are more creative and perform better. In addition, diversity in team exercises also increases creativity, cooperation, and understanding. All are essential to boost team spirit and improve employee relationships.
- Team building improves entire team outcomes: Team members function better when they learn teamwork and participate in team activities. The results of over 60 studies found that team building has a “positive moderate effect across all team outcomes.”
So, the question is: if team building activities are so effective, why do so many employees dislike them? There are several reasons why.
Why Team Building Activities Fail
The reasons why some employees hate team building activities are usually two things: a lack of planning and organizing the wrong activities. Even though they have the best intentions, some leaders make fundamental team building mistakes when planning building events.
According to members of the Forbes Coaches Council, some well-intended team building elements can ruin their effectiveness. These include activities that force uncomfortable situations, show a lack of goals, or foster unhealthy competition. In addition, some team leaders confuse teamwork with socializing.
One of the real challenges of running team building events is to help everyone get out of their comfort zone without the activity becoming embarrassing.
Organizing events with proven team-building success is the key to turning around the situation. It is rarely the case that employees hate team building events per se. Instead, they usually dislike events that make them feel awkward, embarrassed, or confused.
Related reading: How to plan team building activities everyone will love.
How Can You Tell if No One Likes Your Team Building Activities?
Suppose you have just announced the latest team building event. How can you know it’s an activity that most team members will hate? A few clues show you must change your team building strategy. For example, do you hear the following comments:
- “Oh, not again; the last time we did this was a disaster.”
- “This activity feels too forced.”
- “I really do not feel comfortable doing this.”
- “This is a waste of time.”
- “I could be doing better things than this.”
Hearing these comments or seeing awkward facial expressions doesn’t mean your employees are not interested in participating in fun games and creative activities. Instead, it means your team building isn’t working. So, you must change tactics and come up with a new strategy.
The Top Five “Team Building” Events Most Employees Hate
There are several classic team building activities everyone hates that you must stay clear of. So, what are the events that no one wants to participate in? Here are five bad team building activities to avoid:
- Trust falls — Not only is this awkward, but it can be dangerous.
- Team meditation — Sitting in a circle with your eyes closed and humming isn’t boosting communication or encouraging bonding.
- Competitive activities — Some employees may love competition. Still, many people shy away from trying to beat their opponent at all costs.
- Extreme activities — It is good that team building activities get everyone out of their comfort zone. However, they shouldn’t put anyone at risk. So, forget kayaking, rock climbing, paintball, and obstacle courses.
- Camping — Not only is organizing a camping retreat a logistic nightmare, but many employees hate the idea of being trapped outdoors with no bathroom, comfy bed, and home comforts.
Of course, there are more than these five team building activities that everyone hates. But these are examples of what you should avoid when planning your next team bonding event.
How to Avoid Team Building Activities Everyone Hates
Careful planning, coming up with creative activities and getting everyone involved in the planning stage are important aspects of team building to prevent the event from becoming a disaster. The good news is that it’s possible to organize events that even the most skeptical team member will look forward to.
Of course, if you are stuck for ideas, then you can contact our team of experienced facilitators. Full Tilt has many years of experience organizing team building events and retreats that engage everyone. We can even develop bespoke events tailored to your team’s individual needs.
Here are five tips for building strong teams and a positive team climate when organizing corporate events.
1. Know the dynamics of your team
The first step in organizing a successful team building activity is to know individual team members. This will help you customize the experience so that everyone feels included. After all, the main goal of any team building exercise is to help employees work together better, not alienate anyone.
To ensure no one dislikes the activity, no one should feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Therefore, identify the personality types of your staff members and plan an activity that appeals to everyone. Remember that every team is different. For example, one group of employees may enjoy an outdoor bonding activity, but others may prefer to work inside with a problem-solving activity.
2. Plan team building events with a clear objective
Coming up with the right activity that no one hates requires having objectives in mind. A clear goal gives everyone focus, and it gives you something by which to measure its success. Some goals to have for your next corporate event include the following:
- Improving communication skills
- Learning how to listen actively
- Strengthening collaboration and trust
- Teaching teamwork and effective leadership
- Developing company culture
- Problem-solving and resolving conflicts
3. Ensure diversity in team building events
You can make team building events more enjoyable by encouraging diversity. Typically, colleagues from the same team tend to drift toward the same team members. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and may not find team activities interesting.
Mixing up the teams and having them work with different people helps keep things fresh and fun.
You could pre-assign teams before the event so employees from different departments can work together. Or you could allow everyone people to pick their own team members. Then make it clear that teams must include people who usually don’t work together.
4. Include health competition in team building activities
Healthy competition is excellent for making team bonding events enjoyable. Teams are naturally competitive, and they can get into the right team-building mood with the right motivation. Therefore, organize events that have incentives to do well.
Here are some examples of competitive team building activities that employees rarely dislike:
- Cardboard Boat Building: This is an exciting team competition where teams compete to build the best boat from cardboard and then race against each other.
- End Hunger Games: Teams must compete against each other to build structures from food cans and non-perishable items. All the items get donated to local charities or food banks.
- The Domino Effect: Healthy competition is the hallmark of this fun event. Teams must come up with the most innovative and inspiring machine. This team activity teaches planning, budgeting, communication, and collaboration.
- Spuds of Thunder: One of the most popular outdoor team building events to develop creativity, strategic planning, and innovation. It’s one of the best events for breaking down silos.
5. Include downtime for socializing
To plan a memorable team building event, ensure to include downtime. This is vital if you organize a weekend retreat or a one-day indoor event. Some of the best team bonding occurs when employees have time to hang out. This way, you prevent the event from feeling forced — something about team building activities most employees hate.
Full Tilt Organizes Team Bonding Activities Everyone Loves
Do you want to plan an amazing team building experience that your employees will love? If so, Full Tilt Team Development is here to help. We have many years of experience organizing effective and fun activities. We avoid team building events that put pressure on people to get involved. They never make your employees feel the events are forced, cheesy, boring, or awkward.
Please check out our wide variety of team building events that are guaranteed to please. You can also contact our team of seasoned facilitators to discuss your needs, company goals, and budget. Call us at 310-400-6285 or contact us using this online form.