There is an incorrect impulse you see sometimes with HR, when they attempt to validate a team-building exercise through a complex presentation of graphs and ROI statements. The bottom line is that team-building exercises matter, and they shouldn’t need to be justified to the higher-ups just because their worth isn’t immediately and physically apparent.
What Silicon Valley has understood for some time – and which businesses in all sectors are slowly realizing – is that these team-building exercises need to be fun in order to be effective. The generation coming up has a low tolerance for anything contrived or blatantly corporate, so in order to pull off an effective team-building excursion, it needs to be genuine fun; it needs to demonstrate that the company and its corporate events can be awesome and engaging.
Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons that fun corporate events remain relevant in 2019:
They Create Trust
The old “trust fall” exercise does nothing more than show employees that any decent human being would prevent a person from falling. In order to create a workplace underpinned by genuine trust, people need to be able to see each other away from a work context, and in more of a human context. Any fun activity that requires people to learn a skill – going axe throwing, for instance – is a good way to build trust.
They Strengthen Relationships
Inter-office competition can sometimes carry with it a nasty edge, which is why it’s important to engage in low-key, low-stakes games, both as a diversion and as a means for employees to strengthen their relationships. Seeing each other in a fun context forces employees to think of each other less as competitors and more as a support system, which can only have a net positive effect on business.
A Fun Culture is an Effective Recruitment Tool
If you want to attract up-and-coming talent, you have to know how to market yourself. The old model of a rigid, button-up workplace is becoming increasingly unattractive to talented prospects. Showing that your company is capable of having fun – for fun’s sake – will go a long way toward improving your culture’s image. It can’t be forced and it can’t be manufactured, however; if you want to present a fun, human-first corporate culture, you have to live those ideals. And step one is holding unabashedly fun teambuilding exercises. Do that, and the talent will follow.
They Create Loyalty
People are loyal to their friends because they can trust them, and because they can have fun with them. The same goes in business. If you want to solidify your employees’ company loyalty, you have to demonstrate that you can do things solely for their pleasure and amusement, without the ulterior motive of ROIs.
Team-building experiences remain a relevant and effective facet of business, but as employees get younger and more sensitive to corporate manipulation, those team-building exercises have to actually be fun. No more trust falls, and no more “corporate retreats” that are really just an excuse for the C-suite to give speeches. Here are three words you rarely hear in business: just have fun.