Why Should You Care About Team Building? Here’s 5 Crucial Reasons

Jesse Sussman - Marketing Associate

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A group gets ready to take on a team building scavenger hunt.

Why Should You Care About Team Building?

Wikipedia defines team building as the following:

“Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks. It is distinct from team training, which is designed to improve efficiency rather than interpersonal relations.”

As Wikipedia implies, the main purpose of team building is to improve interpersonal relations among coworkers, both for their own personal well-being and for the productivity of their company.

Sure, team building sounds great in theory, but how can you be so sure that your team will truly benefit from it?

We get it — if your team is going to leave the office, you want to make sure it’s well worth your time. 

In this article we’ve gathered some of the most enlightening statistics, studies, and articles that prove how and why team building can supercharge your team’s bottom line by maximizing employee retention, productivity, and happiness.

Cited in this post are findings and writing by the Harvard Business Review, MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, Gallup, Forbes, and the Kenexa Research Institute.

A team celebrates success.

1. Team Building Boosts Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is one of the most crucial elements of successful companies. It demonstrates how much employees care about the company’s mission, and how hard they’re willing to work to ensure the company succeeds. Yet Gallup has found that most American companies have shockingly low levels of employee engagement.

An alarming 70% of American workers are not showing up to work committed to delivering their best performance, and this has serious implications for the bottom line of individual companies and the U.S. economy as a whole.”

The above quote from a recent Gallup article is telling, but the implications of those statistics are even more frightening — Gallup has calculated that disengaged employees are costing the US economy 500 billion dollars per year.

How much are disengaged employees affecting your company’s bottom line? 

It’s an interesting question that we think is directly correlated to the success of your company. 

According to Gallup, there are three types of employees in every organization. The first step to improving employee engagement is to identify which type is most prominent in your company.

1) Engaged employees 

  • These employees feel connected to their work and the team. They’re passionate, loyal, and often are the most successful workers, promoting innovation and creating new solutions to old problems. The best companies have the most engaged employees.

2) Disengaged employees

  • Gallup refers to these folks as “checked-out”. They’re physically in the office, but not really there. They’re exerting minimal effort and are getting paid for it. These employees aren’t contributing anywhere near their personal and organizational potential, and this has serious consequences.

3) Actively disengaged employees

  • The most dangerous type of employee. Actively disengaged employees are not only disengaged, but they demonstrate their unhappiness to undermine the accomplishments of their engaged coworkers. They’re “sinking the ship” by poisoning the company culture and bringing down the team’s success, profits, and happiness.

Employees that are not engaged and actively disengaged could be costing your company a lot of money and lost productivity every year. 

Among other reasons, team building is a great way to boost employee engagement, morale, and show employees you care about their well being. While these are great reasons on their own, there are also huge financial incentives for team building. For example, see the infographic below.

2. Teams With Highly Engaged Employees Earn 2x the Annual Net Income of Companies with Low Engagement Levels

As we mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits of team building is increasing employee engagement.

A recent study by the Kenexa Research Institute found that companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the net annual income of companies whose employees lag behind on engagement.

We found in a study of 64 organizations, companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organizations whose employees aren’t engaged.” 

The researchers also found that 50% of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace can be credited to social interaction outside of the workplace.

Officevibe writer Jeff Fermin had this to say about the results of the study:

“There are 2.5x more revenues for companies with engaged employees vs their competitors with low engagement among their employees. So if you’re looking for a unique way to beat out your competitor; try making your office a funner place to be at. You don’t necessarily have to force making your company awesome, but just make a whole lot of small changes that will make it a better place to be at. Something like rearranging the desks or having an office party can be all the difference to enhancing your culture.”

3. Team Building Can Help You Attract & Retain Top Talent

Forbes recently wrote an article describing how mega companies like Uber, Facebook, and Salesforce are using team building to their advantage. One of the most insightful parts of the article came from a quote by team building expert Jenny Gottstein, who says the following:

Interestingly, we’re seeing companies use their strong corporate culture as a bargaining chip to recruit the best and brightest talent. When applying for jobs, millennial employees are not only assessing their salary and benefits, but also whether or not they relate to the working environment, and enjoy rolling up their sleeves next to their peers. As a result of this culture shift, team-building is being used as a marketing and recruitment tool. Often we will produce games for prospective employees or interns of large companies as way to show off the perks of the company’s working environment.”

4. Team Building Improves Communication

MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory recently conducted a study to observe the differences between top performing teams and average ones. The results were groundbreaking, and most corporate teams can benefit from applying what MIT discovered.

The focal point of the study was communication patterns between employees. The question MIT set out to answer was, “Are communication patterns alone enough to determine a team’s success?

After selecting a diverse set of workplaces across multiple industries—which included innovation teams, backroom operations teams, and customer-facing teams in banks, among others—MIT equipped all employees in the study with electronic badges that recorded extensive data on each employee’s communication: body language, tone of voice, whom they talked to and how often, and more.

But after analyzing the data from all the teams, MIT discovered something amazing:

“With remarkable consistency, the data confirmed that communication indeed plays a critical role in building successful teams. In fact, we’ve found patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success. Not only that, but patterns of communication are as significant as all the other factors—individual intelligence, personality, skill, and the substance of discussions—combined.”

MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory also discovered the style of communication was more indicative of a high-performing team than the actual content of their conversations.

“The key to high performance lay not in the content of a team’s discussions but in the manner in which it was communicating… We’ve found patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success. Not only that, but they are as significant as all the other factors—individual intelligence, personality, skill, and the substance of discussions—combined.

In other words, MIT found that communication patterns were enough to determine the best teams from the average ones.

After conducting the study, MIT also found that the amount of in-person interaction among co-workers had a huge impact on their performance. 

“We now know that 35% of the variation in a team’s performance can be accounted for simply by the number of face-to-face exchanges among team members.”

As a result, team building is one of the best ways to facilitate communication among employees, which could directly affect the success of your team. 

5. Forbes: “Team Building Is The Best Investment You’ll Make”

Forbes recently declared that team building is the most important investment you can make for your team:

“Team building has a bad rap. In most companies when a supervisor says, ‘We’re going to do some team building!’ employees start re-running old episodes of The Office. It’s one thing to see it on TV, but getting a real-life taste of your manager mimicking Steve Carell’s insanely-awkward-try-hard leadership style just isn’t as funny.

Despite its reputation for being, well, lame, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz.”

Brian Scudamore, the author of the aforementioned article, also warns to be careful that “activities that overtly aim to draw in leadership lessons or practical takeaways are less powerful.”

In other words, Scudamore thinks you should focus less on what you want your employees to take away from the experience, and more on just having a really good time outside of the office.
  

“The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office. Activities that overtly aim to draw in leadership lessons or practical takeaways are less powerful. Spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal allows bonding to happen more organically and far more effectively.”

The Bottom Line – Team Building Has Massive Benefits

By investing in team building, you’ll help drastically improve your engagement among your employees, develop trust, calm conflicts, reduce stress, boost morale, and facilitate better teamwork in the office. You’ll also see 10x returns in employee loyalty, innovation and work ethic.

In short, team-building activities are a win/win for everybody. Your team feels appreciated, they enjoy a refreshing experience outside of the workplace, they get more comfortable with each other, and their engagement levels rise which increases workplace efficiency and benefits your company’s bottom line. 

Ready to get started? Team Building with Museum Hack

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Each corporate tour is different and customized based on your needs. Just want something fun for your group? We can do that. Heavy on the team building activities? No problem! You can reach us at [email protected] or call +1-800-210-9676 and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

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