Our Top Team Building TipsWritten by Paul Jan 29 2015
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In a previous life, long before the days of offering innovative online venue finding solutions, I worked in the glamorous world of corporate team building. Well about 5% of the time it was glamorous, the other 95% was spent in picking up broken bodies in muddy fields, or sitting on cold park benches pretending to be a spy. Sadly the dream came to end but the knowledge lives on and given the recent upturn in clients asking for venues for team building events I thought it only fair to impart some of that wisdom.
What’s the aim - If you don’t have an intended outcome then don’t book. Team building suppliers can advise different events for different targets. Want to bring multiple teams together? Want to get a large team working as one? Want some competitiveness? Want to get new staff to know each other? There’re are events for all aims. If you have a budget but don’t know what you want to achieve then your best off popping that behind the bar in your local, arguably the best team building event is a decent knees up.
Know your audience - More often than not we would find ourselves dealing with an office junior who had been tasked with booking ‘something’. Trouble with this was they would nearly always want to book something that they wanted to do rather something that the majority would prefer. You will need to take into account age, genders, cultural restrictions (i.e. alcohol based events), fitness and the general personality of the team. Good events are designed to take people out of their comfort zone in a fun & relaxed manner, just because you love a bit of karaoke it doesn’t mean that Jean from accounts will too.
Don’t try and be clever - As much as you want to break the mould & reinvent the wheel, try and reign yourself in. Trust me, I’ve learnt the hard way and I wouldn’t wish the experience of having a hundred dis-engaged, exasperated guests wondering what the hell is going on. Long story short, a client asked us to redevelop one of our existing events (a very good one in fact), theming it for their industry and totally changing the aims of it. Needless to say, despite extensive planning it bombed. Only happened to us once but that was more than enough. Team building firms invest heavily in developing new activities that deliver results so leave it to the experts.
Leave the cliches out - Trust falls, weekends camping, discussing feelings, telling ‘fun facts’ about yourself etc is for when team building needs to be represented in a sitcom, not in real life.
‘elf & safety - This is, somewhat sadly, the most serious consideration when booking team building. We live in a litigious society where many people are only too keen head straight to the courts if they feel they have been wronged or injured. That said, the negative press from these incidents can be far more damaging, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions. First and foremost is to carefully choose the activity & the supplier. Activities such as It’s a Knockout are injury prone, but that shouldn’t put you off as long as you find a good supplier who will mitigate the risks through taking proper safety measures. If you want to involve alcohol in the event i.e. wine tasting or cocktail making, then make sure people stay within their limits and that transport is either not an issue, or provided to get them home. These events aren’t suited to a country venue, miles from the nearest station if everyone is going to have to drive back afterwards. Secondly make sure the company you choose can provide all the necessary documentation; public liability insurance certificate, risk assessments, method statements, PAT test certificate etc. In an industry with lots of sub-contracting and agents it’s imperative that you get the paperwork of the final supplier, many contracts/disclaimers will stipulate that the company takes no liability for any suppliers/third parties so you need to ensure that the end supplier is kosher.
While our days of team building are over, we are always happy to advise our clients on events and pass on details of some great suppliers who we were honoured to work with, so drop us a line if you have any requirements or questions.