21/01/11

By Timmon Whitehead

Team-Building Events are not only great tools to help build and develop relationships between colleagues, but they are also extremely valuable when it comes to increasing employee motivation, rewarding staff, and can also be used to reinforce a particular message. Team Events provide staff with a great opportunity to spend time with colleagues in a relaxed, and fun (albeit well structured) environment. In this kind of situation staff are able to let their hair down and forget (at least for a while) the day to day pressures of their working environment whilst taking part in an event which, if required, can also address any specific points.
Here are some essential tips to have to hand when planning a team-building event:

Make sure that the event is going to deliver exactly what you want it to.

It may seem obvious, but taking a little time at the outset of your planning to decide exactly what you want to achieve will save a lot of time, and ultimately lead to a successful event which will result in a sound investment.

Are you bringing together new people for the first time, or are you working to help existing team members feel more motivated? Maybe you would like the event to develop communication or leadership within your team? Is your aim to have a have a fun creative session and reward staff for work well done or perhaps combinations of these? Ask yourself exactly what you want to get from a team-building event and choose the activity accordingly.

Now, consider the resources you have to work with; your budget and your available time may be limiting factors in this decision. Also, consider the amount of space you may need and whether the event will suit the size of your team. Above all, don’t forget to ask your staff for any suggestions that they may have, they will be all the more committed to making the event a success.

Consider the style of your team. Involve your people.
For example, if your team’s role is to be creative, choose something that will challenge their ability to conjure up ideas or express themselves; or if your team offers a mixture of roles and skills, choose an event with something to suit everyone, so that all members of the team can come away feeling valued. Ask for suggestions before hand to get a good gauge of events that will motivate your staff and that they will enjoy.

Above all you want your team to be enthusiastic about the event. You will need to pick an event that will appeal to and be a good fit with the members of your team, but will also help them to do their job better and help them work more effectively towards the common goals of the team once they are back at work.

Research and make your best choice.

Once you have a shortlist of ideas, shop around, talk to people, and research team building companies. Then look at the different options of activities on offer to help you find the right one for you and your team. If you’re looking to book an activity through a team building company but have a modest budget, ensure that your choice offers good value for money overall so you don’t compromise on the results. If you are planning on running a team building event in house, check that you have the expertise, resources, and space to do so, and that this possible cheaper option will tick all the boxes and deliver on your aims. With Team Building events people are generally really excited about the day and this will make planning the event a pleasure.

Once you are sure that you have considered all the options, make your choice and set the date. Be sure to tell staff as soon as possible so that they have something nice to look forward to!

Create a team to work with you to deliver the event.
When you are putting a team together to help you with any kind of event (whether you are delivering in-house or via a team building company), it is crucial that people involved in the organization side of things are flexible, willing to get stuck in, well-prepared and know exactly what is expected of them. At the event itself, these people will be an extension of you. So when it comes to choosing your in-house team, get them involved in the planning stages so that they have the big picture from the start and have been allowed to give their input and ideas at the early stages. If you have chosen to use a team building company and have chosen well, you should be able to count on the day itself running exceptionally smoothly, staff having a great time, peace of mind when it comes to planning and attention to detail, and someone available on hand at all times for support, to answer any questions and provide any necessary props and equipment .

Consider every single detail. And rehearse!
If you are doing the event yourself, putting together a time-scaled itinerary or event plan is a great way to help reveal any potential pitfalls and highlight any timings you may just have overlooked. Also by running through the event yourself before, you can double check the timings in advance. This event plan can then be used to keep track throughout the event itself. Being in control of the time will help you in delivering on your set aims to the fullest. Also make lists of all the supplies that you may need for the event, and talk through the logistics and timings with your team so that everyone knows what they need to do and where to find any equipment that may be required. It is vital that everything has been considered and addressed well ahead of the event date and that everyone involved knows exactly what is going on.

If you have chosen a team building company to manage the event for you, this should all be part of the package! You should expect an exceptional activity, great customer service, and a positive event experience from start to finish.

Always get feedback.
Get as much feedback as you can from your employees after the event. This will be extremely valuable when planning future events, enabling you to save money on the bits that didn’t work as well, and investing in those bits that people got the most out of. Events can be a very effective way to communicate a particular message, reward and motivate staff, so it is important for you to get feedback and evaluate the success of the event in achieving your aims.

Timmon Whitehead (timmon@white-rhino.co.uk)
Timmon Whitehead is the Managing Director of White Rhino, a team-building and hospitality company based in Surrey. An ex-Logistics Officer for the Royal Air Force, he established White Rhino with an interest to provide event solutions. White Rhino offers audiovisual services as well as team-building and hospitality, and through his experience in the Armed Forces, Tim is an expert in motivation and team-work.