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The Importance of Team Building

a man in a red shirt is celebrating something while people around him are clapping

If you’re only doing team building once a year, that’s not enough, and you should re-evaluate.

That might be direct, but your people are your greatest asset, and it is so important for engagement, team bonding, and mental health to connect and focus on something other than work every once in a while.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the projects and numbers, your people are still human, and in a world that is moving increasingly online, it’s more important than ever to connect in meaningful and intentional ways.

There is so much value in employees connecting in a “non-work” atmosphere, whether it be in-person or remote. Employees can feel a sense of belonging, build relationships, gain trust, feel camaraderie, and share a common mission.

Why We’re Doing It

When I began planning the implementation of a regular team-building schedule, I was initially hesitant about how others would feel about time being taken out of their schedule. As I planned more, I realized that if the effort is put in, these sessions are valuable, and using that time in this way matters. It helps us focus on our internal team, and creates a company culture of promoting connectedness.

When presenting this whole idea to the team, I came up with a list of reasons why we should definitely make team-building activities part of our culture and something we do, rather than just checking a box. Here was my list of reasons:

  • Greater company engagement in and knowledge of our platform.

  • Intentional application of our assessment results and those we work with = higher performing Cloverleaf, it’s what we’re made for.

  • More passion and drive behind our company mission; help everyone see why Cloverleaf is so great; a greater sense of belonging in Cloverleaf.

  • Higher employee engagement and team bonding = happier employees; contribute to our awesome leaders’ OKR of investing in employees.

  • I know everyone is busy, but this will approximately take up only 12-24 hours a year.

  • Employees are the greatest asset to a company, and it isn’t all about working…mental health is important, let’s laugh together and grow our relationships, after all, we only spend approximately 2,000 working hours at Cloverleaf together every year, so let’s enjoy that time together.

  • Zoom fatigue is real, let’s have some fun team-building exercises and blocks of time where we can relax and just talk. It might just lead to more productivity during tough weeks when we’re in ruts.

  • Friday rather than other days to send us into the weekend on a positive note, and usually a less packed/stressful day. We want this to be something fun, not just a checked box.

  • Please don’t schedule meetings over this.

Having a purpose or goal behind new initiatives is a great way to get the whole team on board!

How We’re Doing It

At Cloverleaf, we usually have 2-3 off-sites a year. We decided that for 2021, we would start a new rhythm of doing additional team-building activities every month in between those offsites, so we have some point of team connection every month of the year. We decided to have a dedicated, 2-hour time slot one Friday a month for the team-building exercises. We scheduled these on everyone’s calendar before the beginning of the year.

For every company, the sessions will look different. You might be in-person, remote teams, or a mix of both. You also might want to keep them more serious and do a coaching session for your team, or you might want them light-hearted and play board games, do a scavenger hunt, or trivia. You can even switch how they are every month.

Something else we’re trying to focus on more this year is living out our company values. At the beginning of each session, we give an introduction of the values we will be focusing on during that session.

For our January session, Peggy Murriner, our Content Manager, used her coaching background to guide us through our dashboard and give an overview of the purpose of each assessment. She also led us through a fun mad-lib, poem activity that left us feeling like poets and knowing more about each other- it was a hit!

The values we focused on during that session were curiosity and candor. When running through the dashboard, curiosity was flowing as there were so many awesome questions and insightful answers given. Everyone also got the chance to be curious and ask each other more personal questions during the poem activity. It allowed everyone to be candid: open, honest, vulnerable, and put as much on the table as they felt comfortable with. Our team members walked away knowing things about each other we haven’t known the past couple of years we’ve worked together.

However, you may choose to team build, and have a purpose in mind, even if it’s a short brain break. Team building will help your team grow stronger and more engaged, and it makes working with your teammates so much more fun.

What will your first team-building session be?