Our community looks at workplace bonding

This month we decided to see what The Chartered Governance Institute and Core communities think about how their organisations approach team building. The majority of organisations do not offer a formal programme with only 46% of our responders stating that this is something their company has avaliable.

Responders regularly said that it was an informal arrangement that was dependent on line managers. One said: “My organisation does not offer a team building ‘programme’ as such but it does provide regular training to senior leaders, which includes training on leading a high-performing team, management and communication, and teamwork generally. My organisation provides budget for team lunches and off-sites but these are convened at the discretion of the team head”. Another claimed “It is left up to the individual teams to arrange themselves, which in turn means it is leader dependant and therefore some do and some don’t”.

When asked about the kind of activities their organisations offer, the majority stated (55%) that meals out were offered, 45% said that drinks were on offer, 43% went on away days and 22% said that no activities were offered at all. One responder shared the range of activities their organisation offers, saying that they have: “A variety of events to include baking for a coffee morning in aid of charity, donations for Christmas raffle for charity, bingo, murder mystery train event, quiz, ghost walk, tree planting, lunches, drinks, teams in organised running events, Christmas tree decoration competition”.

87% of responders felt that team building was beneficial for getting to know team members better, 71% thought that it developed trust and 58% thought that it made staff more aligned with company goals.

The majority of our responders felt that team building encouraged productivity. One person said: “Team building activities and training on leading and managing teams, encourage the right kind of behaviour and management approach, which, in turn, lead to collaborative working with the right behaviours and attitude and these in turn lead to increased efficiency and therefore greater productivity. However, it is the culture and attitudes of employees that actually lead to greater productivity”. Another said: “It’s a difficult thing to measure in itself. However, a number of studies have linked positive performance with strong team bonds. In that respect I believe that team building activities, formal and informal, do contribute to a positive morale which ultimately feeds through to the bottom line”.

Some responders seemed unkeen on the idea of team building with one saying: “We have recently undergone significant change as a company, and I fear someone will suggest some team building at some point”. Another said: “I’m very cynical about attempts at team building. It always feels very forced and unnatural”. Rather worryingly one said that: “I have never experienced any team building to have a lasting or beneficial effect, for the participants or the company. I have seen staff so terrified of participating in the team building exercises that they made themselves ill!” and another claimed that “the last one I was involved in, nearly everyone ended up in tears and most were either fired or resigned over the next year”. 

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