Have you ever wondered why in some companies, problems get solved quickly and things move fast, despite a large workforce? And why do other organizations struggle to adapt to even the smallest changes in market forces?
Because of teamwork.
When people communicate and collaborate well in their respective teams, and when all the workers in a company act like one big team, it’s easy to make progress towards business goals.
But good teamwork doesn’t start happening overnight. What makes teamwork work is team building.
And if you’re wondering why team building is important, we’re going to dive deeper into the meaning of team building, and the benefits of team building initiatives at your workplace.
What is team building?
Team building is a collective term for the activities you conduct, training you provide, and other efforts you make to help your teams build collaboration and communication skills needed to work together and meet common goals. Team collaboration is pivotal to the overall success of the team, especially in hybrid workplaces.
Plus, they inspire team members to think and behave like a harmonious unit, not just separate individuals.
Why team building is important
There are several advantages of having close-knit teams in your company, regardless of whether those teams are remote, hybrid, or office-based.
Team building builds trust
Trust is essential for your workplace. As compared to companies with a low level of trust, employees at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy, and 50% higher productivity.
And the importance of team building in establishing this level of trust cannot be denied. With team building, workers learn to support and fall back on one another when needed.
The trust you build also reduces micromanagement and makes employees feel safe to engage in open communication. And we’ve already covered how important that is.
Team building builds bridges between departments
Picture this: Your company developed a new product. But as it rolled out, you realize that the product development and sales teams were not in sync with the customer support and IT departments.
So they did not have quick and satisfactory answers to customer questions and problems. This didn’t just impact potential revenue from the product, but also increased its overall cost to the business.
Building a strong business isn’t just about how team members work within their immediate teams, but also about collaboration with other departments.
Cross-functional collaboration is essential to meet objectives that require people from different teams in an organization to work together. That’s where cross-functional team building comes in.
It lets employees familiarize themselves with people in different teams rather than working in a silo with direct team members. And the positive relationships formed as a result lead to a more productive business.
Team building improves communication
63% of leaders agree that team-building activities improve communication among employees. So that’s another reason why team building is important.
Most collaboration activities and games require team members to communicate well. Take corporate scavenger hunts, for example. What the team members find, and how fast, depends a lot on their ability to communicate efficiently.
So they talk to one another about how to assign roles, organize tasks, share progress updates, and best meet the objective of the activity. Overall, all this practice comes in handy when they later work on actual projects.
Team building improves employee engagement and morale
A team-building session gives employees a collective vision — a chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves. This helps improve their sense of self and understand the role they play in the grand scheme of things.
The result? Workers feel more excited about their work and come back to their tasks more motivated and energized.
Team building boosts productivity
Productivity is another factor that speaks to why team building is important. When employees practice working in teams, they get many benefits that help increase productivity. These include:
- Picking up new knowledge and skills
- Sharpening their current skills
- Understanding one another’s weaknesses, strengths, and aptitude for certain tasks
- Learning to divide and conquer their workload
All these factors help employees work better together, contribute meaningfully, and be more efficient at work.
Team building brings workers together
57% of employees say that having a friend in the workplace makes their job more enjoyable. So it’s important to give your workers opportunities to socialize and make friends at work. And organizing team-building initiatives is one of the best ways to provide such opportunities.
Potluck lunches, for example, bring food and employees together in an informal environment. So workers get a chance to communicate in a relaxed setting, which helps build rapport at work.
Team building fosters creativity and learning
Creativity is more important than ever to solve some of the biggest problems facing teams and organizations. But employees can’t come up with creative solutions if you don’t give them regular opportunities to practice creative thinking.
According to a Gallup study, 35% of workers say they're given chances to hone their creativity only a few times a year or even less.
This is also why team building is important. Team building activities give workers the time and opportunity to brainstorm ideas.
For example, a company wanted to refresh its branding. But instead of outsourcing to a design agency, senior leaders crowdsourced logo and slogan ideas from their employees.
And since the workers already had an intimate understanding of their workplace brand, this team-building activity led to dozens of great ideas that contributed immensely to the final brand collateral.
Team building makes people more accepting
In a study of more than 1700 businesses in eight countries, BCG found that the companies that reported above-average diversity on their teams also reported a 19% higher innovation revenue than that of companies with below-average diversity.
Image Source: BCG
A diverse workforce makes your business stronger by combining different perspectives to get better outcomes.
But diversity can’t work without respect, equality, and dignity. That’s why it’ll help you understand the importance of team building.
With organizations becoming more inclusive, team building is needed more than ever to encourage workers to accept and understand one another.
The more people welcome diversity, the fewer assumptions and conflicts you’ll see at work, and the faster they’ll get things done. This brings us to the next advantage of team building.
Team building resolves conflicts
When people from different backgrounds come together, disagreements are inevitable. 35% of workers have experienced a dispute or ongoing difficult relationship with a coworker.
Now, you can’t prevent conflicts altogether. Plus, not all conflicts are bad. They can often be constructive and valuable to the success of the project at hand.
So the right thing to do is not to avoid conflicts, but rather help your employees learn how to resolve disagreements amicably. The key to resolving conflicts is listening to each other’s needs, respecting different opinions, and practicing open communication. All of these are skills that team building improves.
Team building helps identify and develop talents
Team building lets workers see one another in action. So there are ample opportunities for employees to learn from those who are good at certain skills. And they can do so in a relaxed, low-pressure environment.
Not just that. Team building may also help you find workers with hidden talents that you can use in future projects. For example, new leaders can emerge in team-building games, surprising you with their assertiveness and interpersonal skills.
Team building improves company culture
46% of American job seekers say culture is very important in their decision to apply for an organization. The values, attitudes, and workplace norms in your company play a big role in attracting and retaining the right talent.
And that’s another aspect where team building can make a difference. Team-building events provide a space for employees to understand how their organization expects them to behave.
On top of that, they reduce toxicity in the work environment and bring everyone on the same page, improving the overall culture.
Conclusion: why team building is important
People in sports practice to become strong teams. Corporate teams are no different. Just like basketball practice helps team members systematically improve a range of athletic skills, team building helps workers build skills such as collaboration, communication, and delegation.
So start team-building by setting team-centric goals and planning a series of effective collaboration activities. You can identify the top skills that you want to see in your team and adjust the exercises accordingly.