Small startups face a unique situation when they are building up their team. They want their team to work together, to know one another and trust each other. However, they may face a budget issue or simply have no idea how to put together a cohesive team. The good news is that there are tons of ways in which small startups can build their team into one that works well together.
The more non-traditional team building exercises may include ideas like going on a week-long trip to the country in order to backpack, become one with nature, and get to know each other. Or even attending a seminar in a large city about team building and getting professionals to help with this. These are both great options. However, small startups may have an issue with funding such large scale activities. Here are some more budget-friendly ideas that are great for small startups to get their team to where they need to be:
Bring in an Executive Coach
An executive coach can engage employees by guiding them through personality tests that determine things like what motivates them, whether they are early adapters or not, or how they prefer to communicate. They will guide discussion and help employees discover personality traits about themselves and others. It’s a fun process to help employees get to know one another better and understand their perspectives.
Take a Personality Test
Alternatively, if budget doesn’t allow for bringing an expert in to the office, or if your city doesn’t have any experts to join you on site, learn everyone’s personality types on your own through Meyers Briggs, Enneagram, and/or DISC assessments. There are many online tools to do this and it’s a great way for everyone to realize just what is the personality of the person that they are working with. It can make it easier for the team know how to work together and use the strengths of each person’s personality.
Get Out of the Office
Another great team building opportunity is to go offsite! It doesn’t have to take tons of planning. You can divide into smaller teams to brainstorm some offsite activities they’d like to do. Each team presents their ideas and now you have many ideas to pull from in the future. Offsites can be day trips or afternoon lunches depending on budget, schedule, and availability.
Find Common Ground
Give your team a certain amount of time to come up with 10 things that they all have in common. You can divide the team into pairs or use the team as a whole. The things that they have in common needs to be more than simply a mundane characteristic like eye color. Think more along the lines of, “We all lived in NYC at some point in time” or “All of us have kids in Elementary School.”
Conduct a Scavenger Hunt
It may seem a bit juvenile to have a scavenger hunt for working professionals, but you will find that it helps to build teamwork, break the ice, and give everyone a taste of nostalgia. Make this a short hunt that is around 30 minutes, so that you can do other activities during a team building exercise or build it into an afternoon where other smaller tasks fit into the scavenger hunt.
Play the Story Starter Game
This is a fun experience that is sure to get the laughs going. It is a great way for everyone to unwind as well as use their imaginations. Create a few note cards that people can use. For example, the first card will say “Once upon a time…”, then let one person start the story. Pass to the next person who may have a card that says, “And the evil one said…” The idea is to have some fun and not worry about being too serious. This is a fun activity that can be passed around the office during office hours while people are working. Pass the paper around and take a break to write your piece then pass again.
Play Trust Games
Think outside the classic camp “trust fall”. Try the minefield game where one person is blindfolded and the team has to get them through the ‘minefield’ of objects in a room safely. Or play a board game! I know, again, juvenile, but sometimes there is no better way to break the ice and build trust by breaking out a game like, “Code Names”, “Apples To Apples” or good old fashioned “Taboo! You’ll be sure to get lots of laughs while encouraging some healthy competition. Perhaps even up the competition by presenting the winning team with a prize. Lunch or coffee gift cards make for great prizes and may encourage teammates to bring other teammates out to coffee or lunch.
For those who need help from experts, realize that solutions for employee communication can be a great way to start your team building on the right foot. Learn what employees want in a team building experience, and go from there. Team building will only lead to transformation and innovation in the workplace!