The Science behind Team Building

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We all know by now that Team Building is important within any company, but your monthly team drinks are NOT helping anyone, most of all your team’s productivity. There has been a multitude of research over the last 10 years into this exact area and I’m going to take a deep dive into what is shows.

Communication is a must have within every team environment. Without effective communication, studies show that your team will be less successful, be less fulfilled in their work and ultimately, be less beneficial to the company. The team MUST be able to communicate effectively with each other.

What does the research say communication is within a team environment:

  1. Does everyone in your team talk and listen equally?
  2. Are they energetic? Do they face one another during conversation?
  3. Do they connect with each other? Not only with the team leader?
  4. Do they break, explore outside the team and bring information back?
  5. Are there side conversations within the team?

Within a workplace some teams thrive and surpass all expectations while others are luck-lustre and tend to have low employee retention. The Human Dynamics Lab at MIT investigated WHY this is the case. They studied over 2500 employees within an organisation and were able to pinpoint that communication was a MAJOR factor in the ability for a team to thrive or fail. But how do you improve communication in a team? Well, the study showed that unstructured activities such as Friday night drinks or long lunches do little to improve communication and relationships within the team. There are specific things that worked – having everyone go on breaks at the same time, that provides an opportunity for team members that were otherwise strangers to communicate and form bonds outside of the corporate structure. But what if your team works remotely? Other research has shown that targeted and structured activities where they have a common goal also goes a long way to improve communication within a team. This doesn’t need to be in person. It can be virtual. Communication is key. It is as significant as intelligence, personality, skill and qualifications. Does your team communicate effectively enough to benefit your company?

Another study by Saraswat and Khandelwal (2015) examined the effectiveness of team building exercises on team effectiveness. They used a control group that did not go through team building and another that did. Researchers scored them by team performance. The team building exercises had a huge positive influence on effectiveness of the team in the workplace. It is ‘Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare’ (Saraswat & Khandelwal, 2015).

 

The idea that a team can communicate and create meaningful connections is a tricky thing to navigate. So what do you do?

You need regular activities that:

  1. Foster connections between team members.
  2. Build trust and instil confidence.
  3. Teach your team to communicate.
  4. Assist your team to manage conflict.
  5. Improve collaboration under pressure and in new situations.

When you are planning your next team building events, it is imperative to consider the science behind team building. Using this information, you can structure your activities so that the team benefits from a more focused, effective approach. As your employees become closer and more engaged, you will find that they will also be more productive. It’s a win win!

But how do you organise these structured activities? Tailored Team Building can tailor make your next team building activity and make it fun! Your teams will learn how to communicate, identify each other’s strengths, they will connect with each other, and they will collaborate in order to meet a common goal, all while having a laugh and having a huge amount of fun!

It’s time to get out of the office and into your local park. Contact us to organise a Team Building activity tailored to suit your specific needs. Be it 10 people or 500 people, we can tailor a package that will build confidence, collaboration and communication within your team.

Perhaps your team is from all over Australia, or the world and it is unrealistic to meet for a team building activity. All is not lost! We also offer virtual activities that fit the brief and are equally as tailored as our other activities. Afterall, research also shows that virtual team building is beneficial if they work together to meet an objective.

 

 

 

References

Saraswat and Khandelwal (2015), Impact of Team Building Exercises on Team Effectiveness, Volume 6, Issue 3, Sep-Dec (2015), pp 89-97, Article ID: IDMHRM_06_03_010, Available at: http://www.iaeme.com/currentissue.asp?JType=

IJMHRM&VType=6&IType=3

 

Klein, Cameron & DiazGranados, Deborah & Salas, Eduardo & Le, Huy & Burke, Shawn & Lyons, Rebecca & Goodwin, Gerald. (2009). Does Team Building Work?. Small Group Research. 40. 181 – 222. 10.1177/1046496408328821.

 

Lacerenza, C. N., Marlow, S. L., Tannenbaum, S. I., & Salas, E. (2018). Team development interventions: Evidence-based approaches for improving teamwork. American Psychologist, 73(4), 517–531. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000295