Team Building Tips
Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than investing in your team members and having them leave is not investing in them and having them stay.”
Who could possibly think it’s better to have unhappy, unhealthy and unfulfilled people working in their organization and representing their legacy than investing in them and making them love their life and work? Well, it looks like a lot of founders and CEOs. A whopping 85% of people are dissatisfied, unhappy and feeling unfulfilled with their jobs in 155 countries around the world, according to the "State of the Global Workplace" report produced by Gallup.
The world is rapidly transforming. We are living in times when millennials are disrupting industries and looking for opportunities that align not only with their needs but with their life goals. When it comes to the workplace, they are looking for a community of like-minded people who prioritize purpose, skill development and personal and professional growth.
Ultimately, the goal is not only to achieve success and recognition in a profession but to achieve personal goals and dreams because, for millennials, there is a work-life cohesion. The idea of two separate lives is fading away as more people begin to prioritize their careers. But it seems that organizations don't want to acknowledge this shift, so they don’t have to innovate and adapt to this new workforce. But if you don’t adapt, you die.
How performance is managed, and specifically how people are being developed in most organizations, needs to change. Their priorities should be taken into consideration and included in internal policies and values. Many organizations still rely on annual reviews to provide feedback and pressure teams to deliver and perform more, leading to this global "norm" of unhappiness and unfulfillment that adds up to approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. This isn't to say annual reviews are not important, but rather that they can’t be the only way and time an organization has conversations with team members about their motivations, purpose, strengths and the future.
Organizations are trying to thrive and stand out, with 67% of employees not engaged with their work or workplace. And these are not the organization’s worst performers; these are team members who are indifferent to the organization, which can be even worse. They give you their time, but with no motivation and reduced emphasis on effort and quality. They may still have hope that something will change and that an opportunity to make a difference will emerge, but nothing really improves, and their dreams and purpose continue to be ignored and never leveraged for the betterment of their teams and the organization.
It’s time we change that because these disconnected, disengaged, unhappy and unfulfilled teams are a sign of global disconnection, disengagement and indifference. So, how do we make things different? We start with every one of us -- nonprofits and for-profits alike -- investing in our team’s personal and professional development, and ensure this is always happening.
Here are two powerful ways to bring personal and professional growth, happiness, empowerment and engagement to the workplace, not just with good internal policies, but with purpose:
Volunteer Time Off (VTO)
Whether your organization is nonprofit or for-profit, make time to volunteer. Today’s workers (especially millennials) want to work for companies that benefit the greater good and that provide them with constant learning and growth opportunities. We all have a personal responsibility to create social and environmental change, and VTO can be a powerful tool to direct resources into impactful initiatives and also offer a space for your team to bond, learn new skills and grow personally and professionally.
If your organization doesn’t directly give back, offering your team an opportunity to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves through their work can be transformative. It can show your commitment to the community, the environment and social responsibility, and your team will likely view their careers with greater purpose. They will champion the organization for giving them the chance to not only be a part of making this world a better place, but to be close to a cause that is near and dear to their hearts.
Experiences Around Core Values
We all know team building has gained a bad rap. When employees receive an email about an upcoming team bonding activity or event, they probably start thinking about pointless paintball sessions or start mentally rerunning old episodes of The Office, picturing their manager trying too hard to run team-building activities that are not impacting anyone.
It’s important to create opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of sporadic activities reminiscent of The Office that only aim to draw in leadership lessons or practical takeaways. Create experiences where your team can truly get to know each other, be vulnerable, feel empathy and work toward a common goal -- making bonding happen more organically and far more effectively.
Gallup found that close friendships at work can improve employee satisfaction by 50%. What's more, people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to feel engaged. But these friendships are only fostered when there is a safe space for people to be authentic.
Team bonding is one of the most important investments an organization can make. It provides an opportunity for team members to get to know and understand each other. It brings people together and, therefore, increases open and honest communication and collaboration and, most importantly, creates a sense of belonging.
We don't just invest in our teams for the "warm and fuzzy" feeling. We invest because the future of all our organizations depends on getting employee engagement right. We do it because we care about the people who are helping us achieve our mission; because we want them to grow personally and professionally; because it improves performance while creating a space for them to achieve greatness.