October 3, 2014

Michael Gossie

Event planners create altruistic team-building projects

Todd Davis
Todd Davis
Elijah Hernandez
Elijah Hernandez

Falling back into your boss’ arms to build trust is about as fresh as the “chicken dance.”

“We are moving into an era where people need to give trust by being 100 percent engaged with their co-workers,” said Todd Davis, founder of Fun Coach USA. “Statistics say only 30 percent of 100 million workers are engaged at work. The biggest challenge is who wants to catch someone else when they are so busy they are tripping over themselves. We have so many diverse people, backgrounds and styles that today, the No. 1 way to build trust is to get to know each other better. It’s that simple.”

Experts in the meeting and events industry said they see new opportunities for fun and exciting ways for meeting attendees to connect, get to know each other, have fun and build a stronger team. One of the directions Davis said planners are taking is creating events that combine elements of team building and humanitarianism so the events serve a dual purpose — giving back to the community while getting to know others and learning to trust them.

“A current trend is creating philanthropic events that make a difference in the local communities,” said Elijah Hernandez of Event Team, one of the premier team-building companies in Arizona. “Everywhere we turn, companies get much better feedback from their employees when the activity they do at a meeting or event is positively impacting a child in need or enriching the environment.”

Hernandez said the positive reaction doesn’t just stay with the event, the philanthropic exercise builds employee loyalty and increases workplace production.

“The employee leaves the event with the belief that the company takes care of them and the community that they do business in,” Hernandez said. “Since most companies want to prove they are one with the community, Arizona charities benefit every time a corporate group visits our beautiful state.”

Hernandez said it’s important that companies recognize corporate philanthropy doesn’t always mean spending money or organizing a drive.

“You can simply schedule time with a local nonprofit,” Hernandez said. “Organize shelves and warehouses or let your employees offer extra hands at a soup kitchen. These activities prove that you care.”

teamwork

Experts said it’s important to remember that the best team-building activities are not just simple tasks to build trust. Team-building activities need to be interactive and focused and engage employees in an event that facilitates full cooperation from your group, Hernandez said. In turn, the team learns to trust each other and work together without the grind of their actual job, but in synchronicity with the activity in which they are participating.

“People need to consider the outcome or process of team-building events as much as they consider the type of experience they will have,” Davis said.

Davis divides team-building events for groups into two types.
For fun: “These are events where the group gets out, connects, cooks, hikes or shares an experience,” Davis said.

For added value: “These are events that involve more problem solving, communication and planning,” Davis said. “These events may also be about giving back to the community through a group-based project.”

Going a step further, Davis offered these five ways to create, maintain and strengthen a team-based corporate environment:
1. Team communication: “Create a process that allows for group input so people want to go to the meeting. Activities that focus on verbal communication will help this value.”

2. Team collaboration: “Create experiences where multiple teams must work together to achieve a group goal, while understanding the need to compete, but be available for others.”
Connect the I in team: “Examine individual contributions to an activity as a way to get to know all the individuals in the group better.”

3. Connect the I in team: “Examine individual contributions to an activity as a way to get to know all the individuals in the group better.”

4. Creative problem solving with planning: “Give the group time to develop a strategy, then a game plan before having the fun desired in the outing. I do see some old-fashioned ‘low ropes’ type of experiences coming back as long as they aren’t being lectured on trusting each other. Solving the problems and developing a game plan where people precede performing and productivity will be essential.”

5. Community service: “Programs where it takes some planning and teamwork to achieve the goal along with a celebration of the finished project is perfect. Remember that it is good to remind people how volunteering helps them in life, not just who they help at the event.”

The most important element to remember, experts said, is that team-building needs to remain an evolving activity, not a once-a-year proposition.

“Any fun, high-energy activity will bring excitement to the workforce,” Hernandez said. “Giving a moment for your team to enjoy themselves throughout the year always proves that you care about them and not just the bottom line.”