Your business is more than just your livelihood. You give so much of yourself to it, but ultimately, the success of your business depends not just on you, but also on your employees. Finding good people is a challenge, and so once you have them, you want them to stay. More importantly, you want them to be able to work together and to do it well. Team building exercises are designed specifically to help with those tasks. They help to foster a sense of community that employees find attractive and encourage them to pull together as a team. Here are some free team building activities to inspire employee engagement.
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a classic game that everyone has played. There are many variations on how to play it. Here is one. Have each player prepare three statements about themselves, two of which should be true and the third a lie. In turns, each player will share their statements about themselves while the other players guess which one is the lie. A variation on this game is “Two Truths and a Wish.” Have players prepare two true statements about themselves and a third statement that’s not true, yet they wish were true. This is a great way to learn more about your teammates.
Divide participants up into teams. Each team should be given a variety of materials to use such as boxes, egg cartons, paper, tape, glue, scissors, etc. They should also be given a single egg. Each team is supposed to work together to develop a container in which an egg will not break if the container is dropped.
Each team is given a wide variety of objects and together must determine the criteria under which to group them into families. Later they must share their methods for classification in a public presentation.
This is another classic game and a big favorite, too. Write up a list of items and make several copies. Each team should be given a copy of the list. The first team to find all of the items and get them back to the starting point wins. To make the game more interesting, make sure some of the items are challenging to acquire and then at the end of the day, have each team share stories of the lengths they had to go to acquire the challenging items.
Scavenger hunts can even be worked into the onboarding process to help engage and retain your employees. Check out our blog post on New Hire Scavenger Hunts and download a Free Onboarding Scavenger Hunt Template on our Free HR Resources page.
Watch Where You Step
Use tape to create a large shape (square, circle, rectangle) on the floor. Inside this shape lay a bunch of paper plates and squeaky dog toys. Divide everyone up into teams of two. Blindfold one member of each team. The two blindfolded players must make it to one side of the area or the other with only verbal directions from their teammate standing outside. If a player steps on a paper plate (landmine) then he must remain frozen until the other player steps on a squeaky toy. If they both step on paper plates, they are “out.” When both team members successfully cross or get “out” then it is another team’s turn.
What’s on Your Desk
Each person must bring an item from his or her desk. Set a timer. Before the timer goes off, each team
member should have created a logo for their product, marketing plan, slogan and whatever else you can think of. Everyone, then, takes turns sharing their presentation with the group. At the end, the group can vote on who was the best.
The Common Book
Keep a large binder or notebook available in a common area. Have pens, pencils, markers, stickers and other decorative items near the book. Members of the team should feel free to put thoughts, observations, memories of things happening in history and in the company. Once the book is filled, it can be placed where others can view it and a new book can be started. If you think it would be helpful, add prompts at the top of each page.
Have your employees lineup in order of birthdays, considering only the month and day. However, they’re not allowed to speak or write anything, only communicate nonverbally. This is an easy game that will encourage clear communication and listening to one another. To add an extra element of challenge, give them a time limit.
Divide the group into teams. Each team should elect a captain. The premise is that the group is on an arctic expedition, but they’ve been hit by a blizzard. The group must erect some sort of shelter in order to survive. However, the crew members are all snowblind and cannot build the shelter without the captain. The captain is suffering from frostbite and cannot offer physical assistance but can only give verbal directions. Use construction materials to create the shelter.
Find the picture book “Zoom” by Istvan Banyai. It should be easy as it has been published in over a dozen countries. The pictures in the book create a narrative. Give each participant one picture from the book. They may study their picture carefully but may not show it to anyone else. They may speak to their fellow participants and even offer descriptions of what is happening in their picture. The object of the game is for participants to get the pictures in the proper sequence without showing their pictures to one another. Banyai also created a sequel for Zoom, called Re-Zoom.
This Is Better Than That
Turning Over A New Leaf
Lay a large sheet on the floor and have everyone stand on this sheet. This activity may be easier if everyone takes off their shoes. The object of the game is to turn the sheet over without anyone stepping off of the sheet and without picking anyone up.
Team building exercises are a great way to help employees get to know each other and learn how to work together. It is also a great way to see who the leaders in your group are. Use these free team building activities help you develop employee engagement.