How to organize a team building event
I write the following article in order to make life easier for all the people who work in companies, organizations or with teams and intend to organize a team building. Many times I have met people who are just scared at the thought that they have to take care of many details, the wishes of each person and if people from top management also participate then the pressure doubles.
How do you make your life easier by organizing a team building? Read below and I hope to save you a few hours or days that you can use to go to the park or put your passions into practice.
First of all you have to answer the question WHY? You will meet countless times this question in the articles written by me because it is very important. It saves you a lot of useless work if you know the right answer from the beginning. Depending on this answer you make all the following decisions much easier. Why organize a team building for your team / organization? Some possible answers:
- “We want to have fun and forget about all the stress accumulated in the last year of work.” If you do not have this goal in mind, I can tell you that all the colleagues who participate have it.
- “We want to celebrate our success as the team and the business objectives achieved.” A very good goal that could be considered by several teams.
- “We want to send a message to colleagues / employees.” A team building can only be the beginning but in no case do not imagine that if you do not reiterate the message and do not live it during the time you spend at work it will be understood. A team building does not exempt the management of the work that it has to do constantly.
- “We want the participants to learn certain things that I noticed that I do not know.” Yes, games and especially experiential exercises can help them to raise awareness of certain aspects. But if I choose to apply them and how, this is a separate story.
- “We want to get to know each other better because there are a lot of new people coming into the team.” This can be a self-contained goal.
- “We have a very big goal and we want to motivate / inspire the participants that they can do great things.”
And so on.
The answer to the question “WHY?” there is no need to have it, the person in charge of the organization, it can come as a requirement from the business unit or from the management. All of the following things you will do will only make sense if they help you to achieve the goal, so it will be easier for you to make the right decisions.
After answering the question WHY, the following are the essential points from which any team building starts:
- How many people attend?
I catalog the groups as follows:V
- Very small groups: under 15 people
- Small groups: 15-30 people
- Medium groups: 30-100 people
- Large groups: 100-200 people
- Very large groups: over 200 people
For groups of over 100 people, 10% of the participants do not attend the event.
- What is the proportion of women / men?
Importance to know the profile of the activities carried out. Groups in which there are more women opt for less active and creative activities and groups where men predominate prefer active activities that consume energy.
- When do you want it to take place?
- When do you leave the office for team building and when do you return?
- What budget do you have available?
This can be the whole amount or the amount per participant.
- What will be the agenda?
Here is a broad discussion because many people do not understand that the participants’ expectation is not to wake up at the same time as a normal working day. My recommendation: start activities at 10:00.
The more time you have this information, the better you can plan, you can find better locations at lower prices, you can give time to all the details and in the end you will not feel overwhelmed by the wave of things to be done over the last hundred meters. .
From my point of view there are several work areas to consider:
- Pre event – here all the details are planned and prepared;
- During the event – everything must be done as you prepared;
- Post event – how do you remind people of what happened;
I will take each one separately:
It represents the hotel / boarding house / room where you will stay and carry out activities.
Do you want privacy and can you cover the whole place?
Do you want 2, 3 or 4 stars or would you rather go to a location that makes you feel welcome and “at home”?
How many double rooms are occupied?
How many triple rooms?
How many apartments?
How many single rooms (usually for management)?
The following questions you can ask the agency you work with, if I do not know the answer or say just to be in the job better tell them to check:
Are the bathrooms clean?
Are the rooms clean?
Is there a shower or bathtub?
Are the beds twin or double? Can a matrimonial room become twin?
Is there high speed internet in all rooms?
Most participants prefer decent accommodation conditions that are synonymous with cleanliness and the rooms are pleasant in appearance.
How many lunches will you eat?
How many will you eat? If you write the agenda it will be much easier to figure out.
What are the options you can opt for: Swedish buffet or plate service? Although it is more expensive, the Swedish buffet escapes the organizers of all the headaches that come from participants: vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian etc.
If served on the plate, how many waiters will take care of the group?
What are the options you can choose from, in other words the menu?
How good is the food? Here I am subjective, I like to eat good food, cooked, tasty. In many hotels this is not possible, things are done alone and without flavor.
As often happens: the organizers receive the menu and send it to the participants by e-mail and each responds with what they want to eat. An ok version with which I disagree. In a larger group this is very inefficient.
Easier is: The menu is the following (chosen by you, the organizers) and if you have mentions (vegetarian / fisherman etc) please write to me by email. So the volume of work is smaller and everyone is properly informed, the situations in which one has a delicious bowl and the other chose some rice cakes!
What package of approved drinks? This can be all-inclusive or with selected drinks, for 2-3-4-5-6 hours.
Do you bring home drinks? (My recommendation is not to do this, although it is practical. Hotels require a stopper fee, because you come with a drink at home you have to pay for using the hotel’s glasses and the waiters who are serving). There is another aspect, by not doing this every day, good money is paid on a lot of drinks, which in the end is no longer consumed.
There is also the option in which tickets are used. Each participant receives tickets worth x lei, and will use them during the event, and at the end the location comes with all the tickets and the client pays their value. There are some things that do not go here: at the ticket offices the waiters do not give rest, the participants use them all and they get to use other colleagues, they get to play poker and lose the tickets, etc. When that was the case I went out quite elegantly by printing personalized money. It’s a cost but worth it.
Most of the time, when they receive the price of the locations, the customers did not include in the budget these coffee breaks, and during the course I do not understand why the price is so high.
To be more efficient it is good that these breaks contain only two things: coffee and water. Avoid as much as the cravings that cut people’s appetite, get fat and are an unreasonable extra cost.
In a 1 day event there are two coffee breaks at 11:00 and 15:00.
From the desire to lower the price as much as the organizers cut these breaks. This is wrong because during the event the following thing happens: the participants ask for water. And you seem unprepared and ask the waiter to bring bottles of water: how many? some. But at the first bottle of water, there are 10 more who say they want to because they are thirsty.
Land for outdoor activities. Can we iron the grass? (a question you should ask in order not to be surprised).
Conference room. How is this arranged? Is it enough room for all participants? Does it have air conditioning?
Do the participants have time to access these facilities? Often the answer is no, but they would really like this! So it is good to think about the agenda of the event and a period of relaxation in which everyone does what he wants.
With your own cars or coach?
If you go by bus you need to have a list of participants to send to the driver, in case of control.
How many hours away is the location of the event? Keep in mind that at maximum 3h the bus makes 1 stop. The larger the bus, the longer the parking time. It is about 30-45 minutes per stop.
Do you agree that alcoholic beverages are consumed by coach? This is a very important thing, the legislation in force does not allow this, but teams where there are more boys tend to consume alcohol on the road (I do not generalize) and there are many transport companies that prohibit this. The reason is simple, the back group has high chances of vomiting, when you consume alcohol you are bolder etc.
Do you want to make the game easier for the coach to make a game that will energize the participants? (yes, there are such games).
I know that this point is often ignored and leads to the situation “do you bring speakers?”.
For any group from 5 people upwards there is a need for loudspeakers for music, and depending on the room for any group from 70 persons up there is a need for microphone sound.
Do not neglect this aspect, music plays a very important role in an event because it induces the state of play, energy and relaxes the participants.
When it comes to big events, the presence of an artist, presentations with an impact to a large audience then the stage, the lights, the projectors (either classic or led) are needed.
There is still a Content vs Image aspect. I have seen many events where the image was the key point. I think there is a lot of money thrown away for nothing because people are emotional and react better to what you say and how you make them feel. If you can have both, then try to have a balanced proportion with the vinegar placed on the content.
There are several possibilities:
– Take care of yourself at a party, bring speakers, someone in the group knows how to mix – the chances of such a party coming out of quality exist but they are very small. Each one comes and asks what song he wants on his own state, he goes from rap to blues to trance and so on as a food mixed with everything and without any taste.
– Call a DJ to host the party. He deals with music, knows what songs to play and when. In this case you can also bring an entertainer / dancer to invite people to dance, show them some moves and already the chances of having an unforgettable party are greatly increased. It matters a lot to the DJ, I saw enough parties that ruined the fun. Beware of the DJs recommended by the places you go to, better contact someone you have good references to.
– There is also the variant in which a band is invited to sing. I do not like cover bands, but there are more on the market that do real shows. The known bands have a consistent fee and sing about 2h after which they leave, not much after the recital, instead they are highly appreciated.
– You can also bring various inserts like Photon – a booth that takes instant pictures.
My recommendation: DJ and animator.
Do you want a moment of inspiration by inviting a personality to tell you your own experience? The objective of the event and the quality of the guest are very important. By quality, I mean his experience, what he represents, how he speaks and how much he is willing to share.
Having access to many events with guests I can tell you that the most appreciated people are the least known but with an impressive life story. In other words: they went downstairs, got to do the performance, they did not go over values and they have a moral conduct to not reproach.
For further information I can provide assistance.
Invoices related to suppliers
For accommodation and transport, advance payment is required.
The rest of the services can be paid after the event.
There are many people who understand through team building only the activities that take place during the event. The experience starts long before the first email that the participants receive. All the back logistics is like the basis of a pyramid, if it is solid then you will have a successful event, if not, then the participants may charge you hard.
The second important point in the pre-event area is the team building activity you want. However, there are a few things that I get rid of and that I want to consider:
If this team building happens once a year, wouldn’t it be good for the department manager, the manager, the team leader to talk a little bit about how it was last year, what will happen, to thank the people for their efforts? This is the best icebreaker, the appreciation received from the manager.
If you happen to want people to get to know each other (an objective that has become self-evident in the last two years) wouldn’t it be good for activities to have discussion periods between participants? They have no materials and are difficult to quantify, but their role is extremely important: people get to talk and get to know each other!
* There are also companies that organize for their teams team building twice a year, quite a few, but there are. Most of the time it happens 1 time a year or two years, the most unfortunate case is when this output happens 3-4-5 years or never (yes there is such a thing!) But the new generation started demanding this work since the first interviews.
The team building providers. I will not talk much about this, I am working in the company that leads the forefront of this field, but you must consider a few things:
Professionalism. How prepared are the facilitators who will come to support the event? What experience do they have? How many events have they organized? What were the results?
Professionalism comes from experience and if this company considers this.
The WOW effect. The demand on the market is that team building is as wow / new / unimaginable, etc. My question is: do you trust that something new will work out for you, and if you want something totally new you take the risk that things might not go very well? Or would you rather go to the activity that the respective company does best but which suits the desired objectives?
I have long wanted a client to ask me: what do you do best for my needs?
Facilitators / trainers. These are the people who come and support the event. In the event of an event with many people, 200-1000 people, how many facilitators are present, how do they manage the activities?
Flow event. The flow of the event is very important, as this is especially true in the case of large events because there are risk areas that need to be highly appreciated:
– Signage and how the participants know where to go;
– Presentation of the instructions (it takes a lot to train the trainers);
– How the participants are divided into teams, how do I know which team they belong to;
– Badges are printed, there is a faster system to disseminate the agenda (qrcode, printed and pasted through the hotel).
Photo / video. Is the event photographed? Do you want a professional photographer (extra cost worth it) or can facilitators have cameras at them?
The activities themselves, and to choose the best I invite you to answer the following questions:
Do you want to do activities outside or inside?
Do you want active, creative, educational activities that involve construction, CSR or simulations?
Do you want 1 hour, half day or 1 full day pills?
Do you want total relaxation and people not to be divided into teams?
Do you want an activity that focuses on certain people, certain aspects?
The creative activities are the most appreciated by the participants because they give free rein to the imagination and in a setting away from the world they can break free. The second place is the active workshops where the participants, especially the young ones, consume their energy.
It is not an article that sells certain team building programs, these you ask separately from the suppliers you work with. From the experience of over 250 organized events or facilities I can tell you that people prefer authentic activities that exempt them from any corporate messages: the construction of cars of formula 1 or boats, the construction of cities, painting, pottery, beading, t-shirts, beach activities etc.
Before sending the invitation to colleagues, it is best to have the above set or at least consider them.
DURING THE EVENT
Transportation: Does everyone arrive on time?
Are the participants welcome on arrival at the location?
Accommodation: did they check in?
In the case of large groups, people can know in advance with who they are in the room and only one person has to go to the reception to take the key and complete the accommodation card.
Another option is for these cards to reach the participants on the bus and to complete them already so as not to waste precious time at the checkin.
Meal: Is the meal ready for the time the group arrives? This is the main reason why you have to be a person who constantly keeps in touch with the location.
Who is the person in charge of the group within the hotel? What if something we talked to?
Are the halls or development areas ready for activities?
Who makes announcements for participants to follow (the hours we start)? Do facilitators do this?
Do team building activities work properly? Is everyone involved? Do the facilitators stay with the teams they coordinate? Is the world well-disposed?
According to the activities, are the safety rules mentioned?
Is there a period of discussion with the participants at the end of the activities?
Are they taking pictures with the whole group?
Are there any feedback forms or is the feedback being transmitted online?
Has the DJ come? Do you play dance music? There is a group of people who start the party
The better you prepare for the event, the less surprises you will have during the event and all will go as it should.
Here are some things that need to happen:
Did you receive the pictures in maximum 1-2 weeks?
Did you receive any other materials that were made during the event (filming, floorings, etc.)?
Did you publish the pictures on the internal site and do people have access to them?
Can you use the pictures in other internal communications to remind people of the fun times they had together?
Did you receive the feedback report with recommendations or explanations depending on the nature of the event?
Thank you people for your time together? If so, then you know that you have organized an extremely good event!
As you can see, there are many elements that make a memorable event, and preparation is the most important. I think planning that is synonymous with doing things early is one that reduces costs and brings you quality work.
I like to organize such events and see them go, as people enjoy the experiences they go through. I’m sure I have a lot more to learn, but every smile I see makes me go further and make things better.
For any other details on how an event is organized, if you have a request and need help and you want an event organized as a book I invite you to contact me. I work at Ascendis, a company where a group of “crazy people” have dreamed that they can do things that no one else does in this world and tell you that this is the truth.