There is nothing like a team outing to lift the morale of employees and encourage team spirit in the workplace. Team spirit can be defined as the feeling of oneness people have that enables them to work together harmoniously.
There are many different reasons why good companies encourage team spirit, these include:
Team spirit helps to bond people and this leads to improved communication. When people feel united, they are stronger when challenges arise. Team mates are able to share ideas and help each other solve problems.
Boosting employees’ morale and motivation
When team spirit is encouraged, management can build morale by having all employees work on common goals. Employees can then use their collective skills and strategies to tackle issues.
Learning and understanding about each other’s strengths and weaknesses
In a workplace, you are bound to have people of different personalities and with different strengths and weaknesses. With team spirit in place, all these people know that they are working towards a common goal. It encourages tolerance and the sense that everyone has a contribution to make.
It builds trust
Team spirit encourages reliance on each other and this in turn builds trust. Teammates know that they need each other and that the contribution of each member matters. Trust helps people work better together and creates a healthier work environment.
It results in more satisfied customers
Positive team spirit results in a team which knows their roles, which cares about doing a good job and which works together to attain goals. This team will serve customers better, which will improve customer satisfaction levels.
Here are 11 ideas that companies can use to encourage team spirit
Get onboarding right
Encourage team spirit from the get go by onboarding employees the right way. During onboarding, people have a chance to feel the culture and spirit of the company. Both employers and the employees have a role to play at this stage.
Employees can offer a warm welcome and show that the team spirit in the organisation is one of warmth. Through a buddy system, where employees are paired with an experienced colleague, a company can help a new hire navigate the workplace in their first days.
When onboarding is done well, the new employee is eased into the environment and guided on how to do their work as well as on how to fit in socially. Proper onboarding ensures employees are engaged from the get go, are more dedicated and stay at jobs for longer.
As we are living in the era of hybrid and virtual work, onboarding should be done for new employees working remotely too.
During onboarding team spirit can be encouraged in new employees. It can also be encouraged in old employees by giving them a chance to welcome a new team member.
Taking part in volunteering events encourages both the company and employees to give back to the community, while promoting the causes they care about most. Community service projects such as sponsoring a team of employees in a charity walk not only draw your employees together; they also allow your company to give back to your community.
Besides being a good corporate citizen, employers can feel confident knowing that participating in volunteer activities outside of the office can help employees recover from work and come back re-energized.
Employees who volunteer their time and energy to the community can improve their own leadership abilities in a way that broadens beyond what they could have learned in a seminar or workshop.
Why not ask the team for suggested charities and events, and make it a group decision? Not only will this help to encourage team spirit but it also shows how the company seeks out ideas for their employees in decision making and suggestions.
Fitness or sports activities
Management could try planning activities that encourage a healthy lifestyle as part of company team outing ideas in order to encourage team spirit within the company. There are a variety of sports activities that could get employees out of their seats and moving. Activities range from bowling to wall climbing or trekking and company-sponsored participation in charity walks or runs.
When a company promotes fitness activities, it shows how companies are committed to employee health while cultivating team spirit and employee participation. Management could set aside an hour each week from their work and leave the office to participate in activities including yoga, wall climbing, volleyball or others.
For added fun, create a prize for the best team or individual – it could be something simple like a $10 lunch voucher, or something fun like an engraved trophy.
Encouraging team spirit begins with the leadership of the organisation. This includes direct supervisors as well as higher ups such as the CEO.
Just like with workplace culture, leadership plays a role in enabling team spirit. First they have to be willing to commit resources to initiatives that build team spirit. They have to believe in its benefits.
Secondly, leadership should be able to embody the team spirit they want to flourish in the company. Employees will look to them and emulate their behaviour. To further encourage team spirit, leaders can: listen to feedback from employees, encourage open communication, and participate in group activities.
Grow as a team
Employees crave growth. They want to feel like their skills are better this year than they were the year before and that they have a future in the company. What is even better than that is if they grow together.
It can be very disheartening to see members of one’s cohort growing while one’s own career is stalled. Send employees to workshops and seminars where they can sharpen their skills and grow.
Growth can also happen in-house through knowledge swapping. An employee from one team can lead a workshop to teach people in another team. For instance, those in customer service can benefit from hearing from the finance department.
This information can be of use in both personal life and in doing their jobs. This type of swap helps people to break out of their moulds, builds team spirit and eliminates routines that can become boring.
Another fantastic idea to encourage team spirit is planning old time classic field trips once in a while. How often does anyone visit the zoo or the botanical gardens to get away from work and unwind from a tough week in the office?
Leave the confines of the office to visit a museum or local historical places to get employees out of their typical work environment. Recollect the history lessons in high school or learn about the city the employees live and work in.
Determine the goal of the field trip like how to enhance the relationship among the employees. Group outings help employees get to know each other better outside of the office, causing them to bond and become more interdependent at work.
Team social outing
Ideas to encourage team spirit does not have to be serious or having to learn valuable lessons all the time. Outings could be as simple as heading out after work on a Friday evening for drinks and pizza, checking out the new restaurant bar that just recently opened or heading out to catch a new released movie. Visiting local festivals and events are another option for a company team outing.
Heading out together as a team encourages employee engagement in a more relaxed atmosphere and it is also a very good time to bond with colleagues and for them to get to know each other better on a personal level.
Support each other in tough times
Despite our best wishes, life is full of ups and downs. Encouraging team spirit during the ups of lives can be fun. People can come together to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones. But team spirit can be encouraged and strengthened during the downs of life as well.
One way to encourage team spirit is by organising the team to visit a sick colleague. Based on how many people there are on the team, the team leader can plan to have a few people visit every so often. Being out of office can make employees feel out of the work loop. Having colleagues visit reminds them that they are still an important part of the team.
Other ways to support each other during tough times can be through having a fundraiser to raise money to help a colleague tackle a given issue or offering time and skills to help a teammate overcome a given situation.
Turn Seasons into Celebrations
Encourage employee engagement by taking advantage of the seasonal weather to take the team out on an outing. Consider the weather and the holidays associated with the four seasons when planning company events.
Some company team outing ideas include:
- Celebrating the start of spring by having a company hiking trip at the cliffs
- Having a relaxing day sun-tanning at the beach during summer
- Talk a long walk as a team in autumn at the botanical garden
- Embrace the cold with in winter by going ice-skating
Sometimes you do not need a fully interactive experience to bring the team together. What better way to appreciate nature’s beauty by having a picnic. It may sound boring but it is actually quite fun and enjoyable company outing for employee participation.
Make it a ‘themed’ and potluck picnic where each employee brings a dish related to the theme. Create teams and organise uncomplicated games like Charades or Pictionary; prizes could be as simple as the losing team having to clean up the place after the picnic is over.
Grab a paddle and head down the river for a great spring or summer outing. Companies could bring the team together into a different environment to give them a new perspective on how to work together. This is a great way to encourage team spirit in the company.
Companies can sign up for a camping retreat and plan activities that encourage teamwork and employee participation. Teamwork encourages productivity and building better teams strengthens the business.
Plan activities that build personal relationships and create common ground to solve problems and reach goals. Include activities like kayaking or even scavenger hunts with a prize to the winning team.
How employees can exemplify team spirit
We have discussed the benefits of team spirit and how to encourage it in the workplace but what does team spirit look like and how can employees exhibit team spirit?
One way to exhibit team spirit in the workplace is to share knowledge or to mentor those in need of it. An employee who excels in a given area can be asked to teach their team or an individual. This ability to pass on knowledge, knowing it will help colleagues up their game shows team spirit.
When employees have positive team spirit, they don’t need to be asked for help. They are willing to offer their time or skills to help each other out. This help doesn’t only have to be offered in doing work tasks. Bringing someone’s lunch while they are finishing their work is an easy way to show team spirit.
Treating everyone fairly
Everyone is seen as part of the team even though they are not a member of the department. They are also treated fairly and with respect. The point is that the person in marketing recognises the person in administration as well as the cleaning crew as integral to the company achieving its goals.
Participating in company activities
Whether it’s birthday celebrations, gift swapping or corporate retreats, when employees have team spirit they take part in company activities. They are happy to spend time with colleagues and they understand that these activities are important for team building.
Think of how during the world cup a country comes together to support its team. When a teammate is taking part in a competition, team members should support them. They might be representing the company in a competition or they could be taking part in a competition outside of work.
Post a message on the company’s socials wishing them success in what they are doing and to show that you are rooting for them.
Above are seven unique ideas to encourage team spirit that you can use today with your team. Team-building activities should bolster the work employees complete together or provide an opportunity to relax and unwind.
It does not necessarily have to be an adventurous outing, it is more of getting the team together and learning new things about each other outside of the workplace.
Always take into consideration when planning team-building activities, employers should also be sure to offer a variety of options at different times, including some that are during work hours, so that employees with different physical abilities and those with a tight after work hours do not get excluded.
Whatever the activities are, remember to encourage employee participation and most importantly have fun.