What if I told you there was one investment you could make in your company that would not only increase revenue, but would also increase employee engagement, teach conflict resolution skills, encourage collaboration, and strengthen communication within the team? That probably sounds a little too good to be true, right? Surely one piece of software, one new form of technology, or one new system can't do all that. And you're right.
Research shows that the most important and highest returning investment you can make for your business is in the people who work for and with you through team building. If you're like most people, when you read "team building" you probably started to picture trust fall exercises, three-legged races, and sharing sticks. But before you roll your eyes and check out, what if I told you there's one thing that combines all of the best elements of team building into one unforgettable event?
Before I can tell you, I think we need to talk about what elements go into making the perfect team building event. Then, you will see how this one activity is changing the game for team building (pun intended).
1. Focus on making the events less corporate, more experiential.
When you hear the word "experience," you probably have one or two memories that immediately come to mind. Any event or activity in your life that you'd classify as an experience probably also taught you a lesson and created a bond with those with whom you shared it. So why not make corporate team building the same way? When team building activities are overtly aimed at teaching leadership skills and building connection, they tend to feel like another day in the office. However, when coworkers share an experience in which they spend time together, collaborate, and enjoy what they're doing, lessons are learned and lasting bonds are formed naturally. These bonds will go on to produce an increased willingness to collaborate, sacrifice, and compromise to achieve what's best for the team and company.
2. Break the mold and get people outside of their comfort zones.
This does not mean awkward "ice breakers" or having everyone hold hands with someone they don't know. The key here is enjoyment through novel experiences that foster creative problem solving and new forms of learning. When a person engages in a novel experience, dopamine, or the "happy hormone," is released. Dopamine, in addition to benefitting your mood and motivation, also stimulates new synaptic connections to form with every new experience. This expands the way our brains function and creates new pathways for problem solving. Essentially, happiness through novel experiences leads to learning. When your team is enjoying the experience, they are retraining their brains and are learning new ways to communicate and problem solve without even realizing it.
3. Adversity can still be enjoyable.
You may be thinking, "Ok, but it can't be all fun and games. I need this team building exercise to test my team, so we can see who we're working with and what makes people tick." Absolutely. If a team building activity is utilized to identify personalities and establish where a person will best fit within a company, it will require participants to face adversity of some kind. It's in these moments that one can see how another functions in the face of conflict, including what their motivations and limits are. But as you read earlier, enjoyment and novelty is essential to learning and natural team bonding.
So how exactly do you present a challenge that is both enjoyable and novel? Something that is out of the box, but still achieves collaboration, increased communication, and team discovery?
Imagine this: You walk into a room that looks like a 1920s Speakeasy or the inside of a bank vault. Looking around, you see all kinds of props and decorations for your inspection that hold puzzles, riddles, and clues. All of a sudden, you're locked into the room with 60 minutes on the clock. The only way out is to work together to solve all of the clues, each one leading to another, before the time runs out. If you can complete this challenge in time, you win!
Novel experience? √ Fun and enjoyable? √ Collaborative adversity? √
What you just read describes the experience you and your team will have at Exodus Escape Games. Through creative problem solving in our escape rooms, your team will have to opportunity to develop effective communication, build relationships, and collaborate and compromise to solve the clues. With the focus on an experience rather than overt learning, the effects and skills learned will bring lasting benefits to your company and team.