Do you want to know how to facilitate team building activities?
When it comes to conducting experiential learning sessions in your workplace, you probably have a lot of questions in mind. Perhaps, one of them can be:
“Is it mandatory to hire an HR trainer or event planner?”
The answer is “no”.
Here is why.
As a leader, you can conduct such sessions yourself if you have the right activity ideas and some patience.
In this article, you will see how you can facilitate team building activities in your workplace.
So, let’s get started!
How to Facilitate Team Building Activities in Your Workplace?
Below are the steps that will help you successfully conduct team building sessions in your office or remotely.
#1. Think About Your Purpose
First of all, you should have clarity on your purpose or objective. So, ask yourself “why do I want to conduct an activity in the first place?”.
Now, your answer can be anything like this:
- “I want my teams to learn something, for example, how to communicate effectively.”
- “I want to leave a positive message to my staff, for example, how to respect the viewpoints of others.”
- “I want to establish a new policy or agenda in my workplace, for example, promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
You get the idea, right?
Once you are clear with your purpose, you are good to go!
#2. Decide ‘When’ and ‘Where’
This is a tricky part that most people often overlook. As a leader, you should know ‘when’ and ‘where’ you will conduct the exercise.
When to Conduct it?
Most leaders want to conduct activities during non-work hours or off days. However, this is something employees typically hate to do! Likewise, employees love to do such exercises during work hours, which is something leaders don’t want.
For this reason, this decision completely belongs to you because only you know your staff better. If you are still confused, you can discuss this with your staff and schedule a time that works for both parties.
Where to Conduct it?
The second thing is to decide where you want to conduct the activity – indoors, outdoors, or online.
For this, you must know how many participants will be there. Also, you need to keep an eye on the space available to accommodate all the participants.
- Do you prefer indoors or want to go outdoors?
- Or do you want to conduct the activity remotely?
Just think about it and make the decision according to your convenience.
#3. Choose a Suitable Team Building Activity
This is one of the most important steps. The success of your team building session depends on the quality of the activity you choose. So, you should choose a suitable exercise wisely.
Basically, the following things will help you decide if the activity is right for you and your staff.
Functionality: See if the activity can serve your purpose, and how easy/hard it is for you to understand or execute.
Time Required: See if you are okay with the time required for running the activity.
Materials Required: See if you can prepare any materials that the activity requires.
Number of Participants: See what is the maximum/minimum number of individuals who can participate in the activity.
Classic vs Unique Activities: Which One to Choose?
Some of the classic activities are Escape Rooms, Scavenger Hunts, Two Truths and a Lie, etc. You can find lots of them on this blog or anywhere on the internet.
Since these conventional exercises have been in use for years, most employees already know their idea. This makes them very predictable and boring.
Unique activities are newly designed ones that can be surprising for both you and your staff. If you already know some unique exercises that your employees have no clue about, that would be great!
(Note: Just in case you need some unique team building activities, you can find the link to our e-book at the bottom of this article. Right now, you can keep reading the article.)
#4. Prepare Yourself in Advance
Once you have chosen a suitable exercise, it’s time to prepare yourself for the session.
How to Prepare for an Indoor or Outdoor Exercise?
- Understand the idea and play instructions of the exercise well. If it requires any materials or setup, you should prepare them in advance.
- Make sure that the playing area is clean and safe whether you prefer your office or any other venue.
How to Prepare for a Remote Exercise?
- If you choose to conduct the exercise remotely, you and your employees should need the essential facilities. They are computer/cell phone, internet connectivity, video conferencing software, etc.
- Moreover, if you want your remote employees to come up with any materials themselves, you should inform them in advance.
#5. Gather the Participants and Introduce the Activity
The next thing to do is to gather all the participants in the playing area (or video call if you are doing it online).
Then, you should introduce the activity to all of them. Introducing an activity doesn’t mean you should disclose all its secrets. Just explain to them its purpose and how they can play it.
Make sure that everyone understands the activity well and is comfortable with it. This will encourage their active participation.
#6. Run the Activity with a Helpful Mindset
Once all the participants clearly know what to do, it’s time to run the activity.
Remember, your duty as a facilitator is to make sure that the groups are on the right track. So, having a helpful mindset throughout the session is important.
You want your teams to follow what you instruct them. So, if they have any questions or concerns, you should clear them as quickly as possible.
Keys to Success
- Both you and your groups should treat it as a learning process. So, focus on the process rather than the results.
- Ensure cooperation and active participation of every member.
- In some exercises, winning the game can be the goal. So, don’t worry about the competition between groups as long as it is healthy.
#7. Conduct the Debrief Session
After the activity, it’s time to conduct the debriefing session.
Conducting an effective debrief session is equally important as running the exercise. The idea here is to give and take feedback. This will give your employees an opportunity to speak, review how they played the activity, and share what lessons they learned.
For this reason, you should ask them the right questions after the activity.
Tips to Ask the Right Questions
- Don’t ask the same predefined questions in every debrief session. So, customize the questions to align with your purpose.
- Ask open-ended questions instead of simple yes or no questions. For example, avoid asking a question like “do you like this exercise?”. Instead of that, you can ask something like “what surprised you the most in this exercise?”. The point is to initiate great discussions, not to get a one-word answer.
#8. Track Your Team’s Progress
A great team doesn’t happen overnight no matter how effective an exercise is. For this reason, it is important to give your teams enough time to grow.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to track how your staff is applying the lessons they learned from the activity to their actual work. Doing this regularly will help you understand how far your goals are reached.
Need Some Unique Team Building Activities?
If you need some unique activities or don’t have much time to prepare for team building sessions, you can get my new e-book:
Now that you know how to facilitate team building activities in your workplace. Well done! The next thing to do is create your plan and execute it well. Again, don’t forget that patience is the key!