7 Super Team Bonding Activities that Build Employee Morale

Let’s face it – employee morale can be a bit like a roller coaster ride. Everything is going smoothly but suddenly the company is sold or another polar vortex hits your community causing moods to dip tremendously – just like the lowest point of a coaster. But with so many elements out of our control (i.e. a merger or the weather) the only thing within our control is our attitude toward all of this.

If you are the team leader, here are seven simple team bonding activities that can really help keep your employees focused and happy, even in times of peril:

Recognize special events. Every employee has a birthday and a work anniversary. In addition, they might have an anniversary, birth of a child or grandchild, their wedding or those of their children to celebrate. As a leader, rejoice with them, with cake, coffee and cards.

Reward your employees for a job well done. People want feel appreciated and have their achievements recognised.  Here are five ways to make them feel thus:

  • Tell them they are doing a great job.
  • Write them a note and send it to them via snail mail.
  • Hold a party if your monthly goals are obtained.
  • Give them gift cards.
  • Hold a meeting and publicly recognize them.

Promote the use of an idea board. Whatever the company size or structure, you can help with team building by having a large idea board. This board can have a question, statement, idea or challenge on the top and employees can come by and write text or share photos on it. It allows the idea to brew and because no one knows who provided which idea, the team members will have more courage to share and take risks.

Encourage lunch and work breaks. One might think that lunch at the desk and working through tiredness leads to better results for the team. But the reality is when everyone takes a lunch and one or two breaks during the day, they are more productive when they return to the work at hand. Go out to lunch with the team. Take a walk. Get some coffee. Meditate.

Make the workspace comfortable. The workspace should be more like a living room and less like a cubicle. Lighting that is good but not glaring, chairs that are comfortable, temperatures that are neither too hot nor too cold, and having the right technology that works best for the employee, will all help with workplace productivity.

Smile. Make a concerted effort to smile more, talk about fun things and be humorous. These things go a long way to promoting team building.

Have Fun! Off-site team building exercises can help employee morale tremendously. Participating in fun and energising team building activities can not only turbo-charge morale, but also teach respect, and build trust.

Credits to who wrote this piece about team building, and Fun Team Building from where we found it.Click here to read the original.

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Jambar Successful Completes the Inaugural Nordea Challenge

Jambar Team Building successfully runs its popular interactive Wild Goat’s Challenge in Resorts World Sentosa with Nordea, Singapore.

 On 13th February 2014, the Nordea team successfully completed the Wild Goat’s Challenge on the sunny island of Sentosa, Singapore. The Wild Goat’s Challenge – one of Jambar’s most coveted interactive games on offer, requires participants to answer a series of questions and tasks given through a tablet that they must complete within a time period.

Although small in numbers, the Nordea team more than made up for it when they arrived with an open-mind, an eagerness to have fun and willingness to strengthen company bonds.

It was really fantastic to see that throughout the initial icebreaker game of  Untangle the Nordea team seemed already to be at ease and very comfortable around one another. Although they were unable to successfully complete the game, it did not dampen their spirits and in fact the team continued to share inside jokes about some sticky situations they were putting themselves in during the game.

Following the game of Untangle, the teams were split in to two teams. The teams were then given the safety and game briefing by Jambar’s Kristle Ng. The teams were based around Beach Station for the first few minutes answering questions such as: what is the most recycled material in the world? Or, how many litres of blood does the average adult have?

Following this, teams were asked to make their way to Resorts World Sentosa via monorail during which they continued to perform challenges such as juggling water bottles. Upon arriving at Resorts World teams were actively trying to complete challenges and questions around the area, such as two members of the group performing a handstand whilst someone else takes a picture.

One of the highlights of this event was the acting scene which teams participated in towards the end of the game. The scene which teams performed was a clip from the 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee” where teams enacted a robbery scene. What made this challenge so interesting is that participants were forced to integrate their own props and personality into the given script.

At this point, time became the major aspect of the game where teams were forced to strategise in order to answer and complete as many of the remaining challenges and questions, and to ensure they returned to the finish point in the time stipulated by organizers during the briefing.

After both teams successfully completed the Wild Goat’s Challenge, teams were then asked to present some of the self-portraits and haiku poems that they had created during the challenge. These presentations provided lots of laughter and a real sense of cohesiveness between all team members involved. Following this Kristle delivered the debriefing to the Nordea team who then followed up the team building event with a company dinner at Quayside Isle.

Nordea Playing The Wild Goats Challenge in Resorts World Sentosa

Team Building, or Team Bonding?

What is the long term value of team building? To answer this question, we first have to understand what truly constitutes a ‘team building’ activity. Countless articles and blogs have made mention of the difference between ‘team bonding’ and ‘team building’ activities, and have concluded that ‘team bonding’ and ‘team building’ are two ends of a continuum, where the range of activity options available fall into the gap between.

The problem we have is that any company that offers a ‘team bonding’ session will call it a ‘team building’ activity, instead of just calling it what it is.

It is essential to note that both ends of the spectrum have their merits. However both also have completely different outcomes associated with them. The client must ultimately select the correct type of activity depending on their required outcomes. For example, there is no point taking a team paintballing if there are issues within the team that need some type of intervention to help them overcome the problems. Any competitive fun events will only have two possible outcomes in this scenario – either the rifts deepen or a band aid is placed over a much bigger wound. Both fail to achieve desired outcome that you really want, which is to close the divide.

Going back to the original question, the value of ‘team building’ is far more considerable than a ‘team bonding’ activity. Ultimately, if a company is saying that it is simply something ‘they have to do’, there will not be much that can be done as culturally they are not buying into the benefits of developing their teams and this will be reflected in their work place. Some of these companies see their annual ‘team building’ session as a way of ticking a box to show they care about their employees.

It is refreshing when HR departments have a real ‘people focus.’ They understand that developing their people helps develop their business. So how do we change the situation? People have to realise that ‘team bonding’ is a separate entity distinct from ‘team building.’ Until that happens, we are pretty much stuck with everything being lumped under the one umbrella.

To conclude: can you spot the difference between the types of activities below?

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Credits to Teambuilding Solutions for this amazing article. Click here to read the original.


Three Tips to Create the Best Team

In life, we often find ourselves having to work with other people in teams. Sometimes, we enjoy working in our teams, and sometimes we do not. This is usually tied to the success of the team— the better it does, the more we like it. Otherwise, it becomes loathsome. In the case of our best and favourite teams, we tend to be able to conjure reason after reason explaining their success. In the case of our less successful ones, we tend to relegate them to the domains of chance and nature. Rarely do we think that it could or would have been different from what had been. However, objectively, there are no logical reasons to explain why a team is good or bad. In truth, a team is only successful insofar as its members decide to make it so. In fact, it is possible to create a successful team, or turn an unsuccessful one around, and here are some tips to show you how:

Firstly, create a shared vision or common goal to work towards. A team does better if its members all have a common goal to work towards. Members would naturally align themselves towards it, and in working towards it, they will make compromises more readily, leading to fewer disputes, and, in general, greater productivity.

To do this, the leader must first understand what each individual wants to achieve. These individual objectives can be simple, such as wanting to earn higher wages, but can also be more complicated, such as wanting to work in an environment where everyone is motivated and puts the company before individual desires.

Once this has been done, a mutual aim can be established. First, by understanding what it is that the company ultimately wishes to achieve, such as higher sales or revenue. Following this, the leader needs to show his members how their individual aims dovetail with this ultimate goal, and how they will benefit by working towards it. After all, to quote Friedman, ‘The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests.’

Basically, once the goal is in place and members believe that working towards it will be to their own advantage, things will fall into place. However, any action or policy implemented must be relatable to the goal, and if it cannot be related to the goal, it should be re-evaluated.

Second, promote the formation of strong emotional ties between team members. This should be self-explanatory: people work better and are more likely to co-operate with one another and allow concessions if they are close to and trust one another; also, they will be more forgiving of others’ faults and mistakes. Not only will this prevent conflicts from arising in the midst of a project, emotionally bonded teams are able to weather through adversities without the team disintegrating unlike teams where members are emotionally distant from one another, and are thus far more resilient.

Achieving this is simple, yet cost effective. Organising occasional team building activities, holding meetings where after-action reviews are done, the possibilities are endless. However, the key is to ensure that every member feels appreciated and possesses a sense of purpose. Most importantly, not just feeling, but knowing that he belongs. No one wants to feel left out or useless, as though he is there just to make up for numbers.

Lastly, and most importantly, focus on each member’s strengths and see how they can complement others’ weaknesses. At first glance this may not sound possible considering how teams are oftentimes made up of anything but hand-picked individuals who have gone through a rigorous selection process. However, once we realise that individuals who excel at everything are tough to come by, and comprise but a minuscule fraction of the human race, it becomes rather more practical to focus on developing an individual’s strengths than to make any attempt at mitigating existing weaknesses. Besides, a person is likely to improve faster if doing something he is better at and therefore has a propensity to enjoy doing.

This is not a particularly trying feat. Theoretically, all one has to do is identify what an individual member’s strengths and weaknesses are, and match those strengths to weaknesses to another’s. For example, one person might be good at writing but chronically fearful of public speaking, while another is good at delivering presentations but horrible at drafting scripts. Thus, the former could draft a script for the latter who would then make the presentation. Each would therefore compensate for the other’s shortfall. However, reality is never this straightforward: it takes time to learn about people, and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Nonetheless, once a person’s strengths has been identified, all that has to be done is to develop them through training courses or other similar methods.

Ultimately, building a successful team is not an easy task. To do so requires time, patience, effort, and sometimes involves unfathomable depths of frustration and tears. However, as Jay Goldman said, “Nothing good for this world is ever attained without sacrifice. Nothing great in life is ever achieved without hard work. Nothing that we give to others, out of the goodness of our heart, is ever given without giving away a small piece of ourselves.” Building a successful team is as such; sometimes one just has to soldier on for a better tomorrow.


A Major International Swiss Bank Takes on Jambar Team Building’s Wild Goats Challenge

Jambar Team Building is proud to announce the addition of a major international Swiss bank to Jambar’s list of clients who have completed the Wild Goats Challenge.

12th February 2014 at Clarke Quay, Singapore— Fifty-six employees from a major international Swiss bank gathered at Clarke Quay to partake in the Wild Goats Challenge. Pioneered by Jambar Team Building, the Wild Goats Challenge is an interactive trivia game played on tablet computers which requires teams to complete various tasks in order to accumulate points in a competition against each other.

After the participants were brought together for a photograph, as a prelude to the day’s activities they were separated into teams to play a round of Untangle, a game where teams work together to form a circle by unravelling a knot of arms and hands.

Then given a short brief by Jambar’s Barbara Maneschi where she explained the gameplay, teams quickly found themselves scrambling all over Clarke Quay trying to complete various tasks, such as having to take photographs of objects or themselves in specific poses, while answering trivia, in order to earn as many points as they could within in an hour and a half.

One of the highlights of the game was the Acting Scene, where teams had to re-enact a scene from the 1986 film “Crocodile” Dundee.  The challenge was made more difficult by their having to create makeshift props out of the resources they had on hand, and participants had to stretch their creativity and imagination in order to satisfy the task’s requirements before they would be awarded points.

Another highlight of the game comprised a task where teams had to collaborate with their competitors in order to spell the word ‘Singapore’ using their bodies as letters, a task designed to promote co-operation over competition.

As the game reached its conclusion, the participants retired to their office to make their toilette before being ferried to TungLok Teahouse at Far East Square, where they had their taste buds tempted by a scintillating selection of exquisite Chinese dishes. Concurrently, the participants had their eyes treated to a photograph montage compiled by Jambar Team Building, and prizes were given out to all who had done exceptionally well during the course of the day.

At the conclusion of the whole event, everyone was left in high spirits. Representatives further commented: “We would be happy to recommend Jambar based on the very professional approach demonstrated and the success of the activities.” It was truly a great afternoon and evening which was enjoyed by all.


Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Successfully Completes Jambar’s Creative Putting Challenge

Jambar Team Building is pleased to congratulate the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on their successful completion of the Creative Putting Challenge.

Friday, 7th February 2014, at the Changi Airport Recreation Club— Jambar Team Building, Singapore’s premiere team building consultants, has a panoply of programmes available, all designed to satisfy a client’s team building needs. One of these is the Creative Putting Challenge. A programme where participants get to design and build their very own mini-golf course, the Creative Putting Challenge is an exciting team building game which tests the creativity of participants while facilitating the formation of bonds and establishment of rapport.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) had the opportunity to experience the Creative Putting Challenge first-hand, in a team building event which began with a short session of Untangle, an ice-breaking game where team members unravel themselves from a knot of arms and hands.

Following the game of Untangle and a preparatory brief by Jambar’s James Mclauchlan for the ensuing activities, the event continued with the commencement of the Creative Putting Challenge. Teams were given precisely two hours to design and build their mini-golf course, each modelled after world-renowned structures such as the pyramids of Giza. Cardboard and Polyvinyl chloride pipes forming the core of materials provided for them to construct their miniatures, participants had to venture beyond their comfort zones to think of ways to turn the rectangular sheets and cylindrical tubes into a viable course. Further given obstacles in the form of restrictions such as having to elevate a section of the course above thirty centimetres; and impromptu challenges such as having to build a putter given only the shaft, participants displayed their ingenuity and overcame every hurdle. For instance, one team used a plastic bottle to construct the putter head, while another used a stick of glue.

After two hours of mental and physical stimulation, the teams were given a breather in the adjoining room where there were snacks and drinks laid out for their consumption. Having been revitalised with tea and coffee, the event resumed with teams being given the opportunity to play at each other’s courses. Perhaps the most exciting part of the event, participants roamed from course to course testing out their friends’ creations. Imagine the sense of achievement when participants managed to score holes-in-one, even though it was at a Par 1 course.

The day concluded with a video montage created and compiled by Jambar Team Building, giving participants the chance to recollect and reflect on the day’s events; and a prize presentation ceremony where the teams with the best mini-golf courses were rewarded for their efforts. By the looks of satisfaction and happiness that participants were wearing by the end of the event, amid the raucous and lively laughter, it was clear that Jambar’s Creative Putting Challenge had been a resounding success.

CAAS playing The Creative Putting Challenge