H&E North asks the question – do businesses genuinely benefit from corporate team building activities?

Here at H&E North, we’re big advocates of team building, but we sometimes question if this is the case for everyone. Where do our readers stand on the great team building debate? Are potentially expensive and timely events providing long-term benefits to businesses and encouraging team bonding, or is a simpler approach such as a team lunch just as effective?

We also considered if away days are becoming outdated and whether there is a more modern approach to building and maintaining an engaged and skilled team.

Rather than make the decision ourselves, we handed the team building debate over to you. Here’s what some of you had to say…

Mark Winder, Chief Executive of Goalball UK

Mark Winder, Chief Executive of Goalball UK

Goalball UK is the national governing body and charity for the Paralympic sport played by blind and partially sighted people. Played by two teams of three, the objective is to throw the ball past your opponents into a nine-metre-wide goal,” explains Chief Executive, Mark Winder.

“We work with businesses across the country to deliver sporting corporate events to develop essential skills for today’s organisations to compete in the national or global business arena. Having a company culture that embraces team bonding and is innovative with its approach delivers several benefits, including improving your professional reputation, building skills, and attracting new business.

“As goalball is played with blackout goggles anyone can participate, allowing visually impaired and sighted people to compete on an even playing field. The sport delivers a better understanding of what colleagues, clients, customers or anyone with a visual impairment face daily, which helps to develop a more empathetic workforce. This is vital for those businesses who engage with a diverse range of customers and stakeholders.”

Kari Owers, MD of O Communications

Kari Owers, MD of O Communications

“Each year we hold our team ‘Oway Day’ – a firm fixture in our culture calendar. From festival trips to hiking up mountains, our Oway Day creates a fantastic opportunity to bring the whole business together. As well as celebrating the agency’s achievements and rewarding the team for their hard work, we collaborate on business strategy with ideas for the future of the company presented back to the Directors,” comments Kari Owers, Managing Director.

“Recently, we introduced collaborative sprints to our Oway Day. This sees the team creatively answer key business questions and as a result, several new practices are put into place. This allows us to see people working as a team, especially those who don’t interact day-to-day, and shows us who is displaying emerging leadership skills.

“In our most recent employee engagement survey, every member of the team said they saw the value in our annual Oway Day with many citing being able to bond as a team and getting to know other people within the business. They have proven to be a worthwhile investment when it comes to staff engagement, boosting morale, and enhancing the agency’s culture. This has had a positive impact on employee retention, as well as attracting new talent to the business.

“As a company we definitely recommend team building activities. However, less corporate and more creative approaches work better for us.”

John Haigh, Digital Marketing Manager of IGO Adventures

John Haigh, Digital Marketing Manager of IGO Adventures

“We believe team building activities are essential for maintaining a happier, healthier and more engaged workforce,” says John Haigh, Digital Marketing Manager of IGO Adventures.

“By working together in new environments to solve fun, creative problems, teams gain a renewed sense of purpose and focus which they take back to work.

“Team building also provides the perfect atmosphere for natural leaders to emerge, regardless of their job title. These leadership skills can be tapped into by the business, contributing to the long-term development of the team.

“As each company and team is different, we work with businesses to build our adventures to suit their objectives in some of the UK’s most spectacular wilderness locations, including The Lake District or The Scottish Highlands. Living off the land and learning new skills such as bushcraft and foraging, encourages all team members to work together and break down the silo mentality. This kind of cross-departmental teamwork is essential for a successful business and is an important component of sustainable revenue growth.

“What’s more, time spent outside in the wilderness provides measurable mental and physical health benefits. A study of a group of hikers was shown to increase problem-solving by 50% after just four days in nature!”

Disagree? Are corporate team building activities a big no no for your business? Let us know your stance on the great team building debate by contacting H&E North on Twitter at @HospitalityNrth!