Team Building activities can help to build rapport among team members and across the organization, making it easier to communicate, collaborate, and get work done. Because of increased worker visibility, these activities also help to create an organization where there is a greater chance for employees to move within the organization, ultimately increasing employee engagement and retention. The data surrounding the need for more collaboration and teamwork strongly supports this.

Queens University of Charlotte found about 75 percent of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important,” yet only 18 percent of employees get evaluated on those elements in their performance reviews. They also found that 39 percent of surveyed employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough. And some 86 percent of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures, a Fierce, Inc. survey found.

The same study also found 49 percent of millennials support social tools for workplace collaboration and would even be willing to pay out of pocket for social collaboration tools to improve productivity.

Mercer found 33 percent of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal and Gust found 37 percent of employees say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying at a job.

Here are some examples of how companies better promote teambuilding and collaboration in their companies through fun activities for everyone involved.

  • “Things were getting especially stressful for my leadership team,” says Tina Fair, General Manager of Skinceuticals, the science-backed skincare brand of L’Oreal, the world’s leading beauty company. “And, ‘battling it out’ was exactly what they needed.” So, for its next offsite meeting, Fair reserved a boxing ring at a Manhattan gym, and the team engaged in some fun, friendly sparring. “My team is located all over the country. Getting together at these offsites is huge,” says Fair. “These tone-setting activities are critical for us to continue to collaborate and support each other. And boxing renewed our team spirit and fighting mode. I absolutely love my team!”
  • Meissner-Jacquet, a San Diego, California-based commercial real estate firm, treated all of its workers to a day of team building at the San Diego Zoo. After cocktails and a gourmet lunch, they had a trivia quiz, followed by the main event—a Scavenger Hunt. Chief Spiritual Officer and HR Business Partner Angela Robertson formed five teams so that each team had people from different departments. The main task: Visit and bring back photographs of the animals. The challenge: It was an extremely hot day and most animals took to the shade, out of view from humans. “They (teams) really had to get creative,” says Robertson. One team went to the giftshop and took pictures of the stuffed animals. “They broke the rules. But, everyone had a lot of fun. It was nice to get out of the office and work with people you don’t get to normally and not have to follow rules exactly,” adds Robertson. “And our newest employee had her best ever first week on the job.”
  • On occasion, the leadership team at AdventHealth in Orlando, Florida, would go out as a group to do volunteer work. “We painted one of the habitats at our zoo in Sanford, and returned later to help out with their big Easter egg hunt,” said Laura Gerow. “Then we had lunch and roamed the zoo.” Gerow set up a 2-day, overnight team building excursion at Camp Wewa in Apopka where her son was the Director. “We had so much fun, I very much encourage teams to do this at local camps.” The company also set up a Christmas event featuring a scenic boat ride in Winter Park, then to the Morse museum followed by lunch at the Hidden Gardens restaurant. About 90 percent of the people said they had never done any of that before. “Great day. I believe this has brought the leadership team so much closer. As far as my little team of executive assistants we have a lot of fun up here. We laugh a lot and have potlucks, and do volunteer work two or three times a year. Everyone helps when you are in need.”

Team Building activities don’t have to be mundane. When we add elements of fun to them, the memories of the activities last longer and the positive results—greater employee collaboration, increased loyalty and retention are usually more profound for all stakeholders.

This article is co-authored by Bob Nelson, Ph.D. & Mario Tamayo