We put so much emphasis on hiring the right people for the job, but we often overlook two important components of any new employee’s success once they’re in the role: collaboration and communication.
Eighty-six percent of employees pinpoint a lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the key causes of workplace failures. Fortunately, such failures are not inevitable. There are some easy ways you can course-correct when your team or department is on the road to ruin. All you need are the right team-building activities.
Sure, the mention of team-building activities can elicit some eye rolling from employees, but when done well, these activities can actually be highly effective and a lot of fun. You don’t even have to use the standard “two truths and a lie” or “hello, my name is” formats!
Instead, try some of these more engaging team-building activities to break down barriers between employees and departments and encourage better communication among staff members:
1. Common Ground
We’re all so busy working within our own departments and roles that it’s easy to forget how much we have in common with one another. This game does a brilliant job bringing those commonalities to the forefront.
To play this game, have your department or departments break into multiple teams. Then, challenge each team to identify as many commonalities among team members as they can in a set period of time. These commonalities can be things like shared hobbies, favorite foods, birthplaces, pet preferences, and so on. Whichever team comes up with the most commonalities wins.
This game can be especially powerful if you have departments that haven’t been communicating well or new hires who don’t yet feel like part of the team.
2. Three Shining Work Moments
A big part of effective collaboration is understanding that everyone brings value to a team. Three Shining Work Moments gives everyone a chance to make some not-so-humble brags and express their value.
During this activity, each person will stand up and announce three moments they’re proud of. If they’re experienced employees, these moments should be from their current jobs. If they’re new, they should share three shining moments from their previous roles.
This activity will help people understand what each team member brings to the team and create an atmosphere of respect. It will also make collaboration easier, as each team member will know the others’ skills a little better.
3. The Shrinking Vessel
If you want to really get people out of their comfort zones, The Shrinking Vessel is the ticket.
Gather up your group and stick them in a taped-off area on the floor. Then, have two people hold a piece of rope or string and encircle the group. Next, have the rope squad slowly shrink the area the group has to stand in. This will force your group to rearrange themselves in a way that allows everyone to fit. Not only will this game encourage everyone to get up close and personal, it will also force the team to work together to solve a problem in real time.
More Team Building Activities
If none of the above activities sound like the right fit for your team, don’t give up! There are plenty others available, and you can even tweak existing ones or create your own.
If you need some more help promoting communication and collaboration among your team members, check out this visual on team-building activities from Fundera. After a few sessions of these games, your team will be engaged, entertained, and most importantly, ready to collaborate.
Meredith Wood is editor-in-chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness, and more.