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October 11, 2006

Time to take teambuilding seriously

Jack Morton Worldwide?s recent survey into internal communications found that just 33% of employees are satisfied with how their companies engage with them? now do the maths yourself! That leaves a huge percentage of the workforce that is dissatisfied. Turn the tables for a second and imagine that was clients and not staff, and you can feel your blood pressure rising almost instantly. So why are so many companies failing their staff, when they are your most potent weapon in creating that all-important key element of differentiation for your company in the modern, over-crowded marketplace?

The survey goes on to state that employees want live experiences, with 86% agreeing that this medium is the most engaging, 83% wanting to be engaged on a personal level and 76% wanting to be related to through personal interest/concerns. This is an irrefutably strong case for building events into your overall marketing strategy.

?Good internal events make people get up, talk to each other, think and create together,? says Simon Lethbridge, experience director at Jack Morton. ?They should not only be an enjoyable experience, but one where it is possible for those participating to learn more about their colleagues, as well as the key messages of the experience."

Breaking down barriers
The words teambuilding and motivation may strike fear into the heart of many a staff member, but they play a key role in producing a successful internal event. Events like this break down barriers by putting a junior member of staff and the chief executive on an equal footing to combat any given challenge. Forcing people to work together to meet the challenge means they build a rapport and personal understanding, even intimacy, that only experience can foster.

According to event management company Bluehat UK, teambuilding is necessary because in work situations people adopt styles and personas that fit the role that they play, and through teambuilding you can see how different people work in situations that take them outside of the workplace. By investing in teambuilding, staff feel valued and gain motivation from having contact with their colleagues in a fun-based situation.

Essentially, it is more cost effective to make existing teams work better rather than continually recruit and replace people that leave due to dysfunctional team performance.

Sandy Taylor, head of organisation development & change management at T-Mobile, agrees: ?In an ideal world you wouldn?t need to use teambuilding events as they wouldn't be necessary. Why, because teams are a made up of people who work together to achieve results and common goals. As such, it is the fundamental role of the team leader to provide clarity around common purpose, vision and strategy, as well as agreement around role and contribution.

Why do we need teambuilding?
?However, in reality, well-designed events can be vital morale-boosting tools that can help improve team effectiveness by giving members the opportunity to work together in an informal, creative and fun environment. Also, it sometimes helps to take time out and focus on re-energising the team away from the 'noise' of 'business as usual' and reflect not only what the team is doing, but also on how it needs to be done.?

Taylor continues: ?Teambuilding events can allow companies to develop a sense of clarity around how teams are working, what is being done and with what support. Only by taking a step back to look at these processes can companies develop more effective and efficient team practices.?

The most popular types of event are those that reflect the human experience ? they may involve curiosity, courage and should always include humour. ?Great teambuilding is ultimately about one thing ? enabling passion,? says Lethbridge. ?Enable passion and you kindle belief and spark memory. People tend to remember walking on fire rather than keynote speakers. But if you combine firewalking with a speaker who can put fire in your belly, then you have an integrated message and experience that will make a difference now and in years to come.?

In the short term, teambuilding events are a great way to kick start the overall event experience and to reinforce theming. In the longer term, they make participants more receptive to messaging and are a great leveller ? opening up communication between all tiers of staff. They also make for hugely memorable, big 'fun' moments ? the kind that makes for longer lasting memories and partnerships.

By raising motivation and understanding, the performance of the team should improve, which has long-term financial benefits for the company. Better performing teams affect the bottom line through less wastage, attrition and more focus on the task in hand.

Related articles
Survey reveals motivational power of events (Jack Morton Stats)

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