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Planning a Team Building Event

If you believe that your team needs to appreciate and understand more about each other to perform more effectively, then planning a team building event may prove highly beneficial.

You may just wish to provide the team with some time away from the business to develop their creative side to consider new ways of working. Whatever the reason, we have listed below some simple tips on setting up an internal or external team event that you may find helpful:

Ensure you are clear on what you wish to achieve: Consider what you wish to achieve from the team building day, the suggested time frame, and available budget.

1. Identify three potential suppliers or internal sources of support

Spend time undertaking some research to find the most suitable team building company. Ask your colleagues if they have experienced using a good supplier and approach them along with a potential new supplier. This will enable you to contrast and compare their approaches as well as costs.

2. Ensure you provide the supplier with a clear brief

The following information would help a potential supplier match your needs to their proposal:

  • A clear objective (SMART) of what you what to achieve through the team building event
  • A history / background to the team and where they are currently in terms of their effectiveness as a team
  • Number of people in the team and their requirements:
    • Confirmation that all team members will be present
    • Consider if you wish to invite other members traditionally outside of the team but who contribute to the team’s efforts, e.g. a contractor
    • Physical abilities/constraints
    • Individual preferences and dislikes for team building events
  • The style of event you wish to create. For example:
    • Balance of learning versus fun element
    • What fun means to you and the team (good idea to ask them first)
    • Practical in-door/outdoor activities
    • Encouragement of discussion through the use of an appropriate diagnostic tool such as Belbin’s Team Roles or Myers Briggs Type Indicator
    • Intertwine a social event with may be an overnight stay

3. Specific date or period of time in which you wish to run the event/s

Consider the amount of time you wish to dedicate to this activity. Sometimes, it is better to run short sessions on a frequent basis rather than a couple of full days.

4. The budget you have available to support this team building event

If small, see if you can negotiate with your preferred potential supplier/s, even if it means arranging the event on a day you hadn’t previously considered.

5. Ensure you gain team member feedback

At the end of the team building event, ensure you or your facilitator asks each team member for some feedback on the event itself and identify at least one action point that they will take on-board as a direct result of the team building event. You may wish to gain some initial collective feedback first and then ask team members to record their individual thoughts and reflections on paper afterwards.

6. Ensure you analyse the results and provide feedback

Once you have run the team event, feedback to your manager how effective you believe the team building event was in meeting your specific objectives and how much the facilitator and venue contributed to that.

This will help demonstrate to your manager that you have utilised the organisation’s funds well i.e. return on investment and you are developing your team’s performance well. If you have already set clear performance targets, it will be relatively easy to then measure your success.

7. Provide follow up

Ensure there is follow up to the team building event at regular intervals and that the learning from the event is built into the team processes and team culture. Provide any requests for support that team members may have highlighted at the team building event and re-appraise how the team member is getting on.

About the Author

Kim Larkins, MCIPD is Company Founder of KSL Training. Kim has 30 years training and HR management experience in the Retail, Hospitality and Pharmaceutical industry.


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