I was asked to look at possible team building activities and locations for a client who was looking to do some thing that all his staff could be involved in. Sounds easy right – wrong!
He has a 15 staff that have an age range of 20 to 58 years old and different backgrounds. Oh and a limited budget of course.
I spent some time talking to his staff, finding out what they liked to do and making suggestions to possible places and gauging their reactions. This proved informative but the staff had such different ideas it was going to be hard finding something for everyone. Added to this, my client was making it a compulsory event, always a hard sell with some staff. There are so many beautiful places in the UK the choices are endless. My recent visit to Betsy Coed is just one perfect example.
Sports activities were out (go carting, paintballing, white water rafting, rock climbing), not many were keen on traveling, others didn’t like the idea of being with other groups. The negative list just went on and on. Not a lot of positive responses were coming forward.
I then went back to my client and asked ‘What exactly do you want to achieve from this event?’ It is easy to get carried away with these team building events and not achieve what your client wanted.
My client explained that the moral within the company had been low, partly due to a down turn in business and partly due to him being stressed, leading to being less cheerful with his staff. Basically it was something to cheer his staff up, remind them that they were a team and that they are very much valued. I felt given the downturn in business meant that throwing a lot of money at an event would be inappropriate and give the wrong message to staff. So I asked if my client would consider a structured event outdoors, followed by a simple finger buffet at a local pub. This meant keeping costs to a minimum, local so hardly any travel involved and a simple buffet that I could put together myself (experience from Managing the Broadoak Hotel!). My client really liked the idea and was happy for me to put together a proposal.
A lot of research later, I had an event planned, costed – just needed approval from my client. I put my proposal together and dropped it off for him to look through and get back to me with any changes. I was really surprised to get a call later the same day from my client giving me the go ahead. I had a further meeting with my client to finalise the date, time, exact number of people etc and he was happy to leave me to get on with planning the event. I only had 3 weeks to get everything in place and ready – no time to waste.
I planned several games (a couple as back-ups), booked a free function room where I could provide my own food, went shopping for catering/buffet and one event ready to go.
The day was a great success. Staff were a little apprehensive to start with, which I expected but with some light persuasion and a lot of laughing at each other, everyone joined in the games. Back at the function room, the staff were ready to eat and carried on laughing and joking with each other about the games and how badly their boss had done (not sure if he lost on purpose!). It was very rewarding seeing a company come together during hard times and to remember that they are valued and worth the constant stress for the owner.
I checked back with my client a month later and he said everyone had really enjoyed the day and were asking to maybe do another similar event in the future. He put the photos up on the notice board as a reminder and staff had been more understanding of his position, being more supportive in general. He asked if I would be prepared to hold some innovation meetings with staff to get them more involved in the company, I was happy to help and see this small company grow a little at a time, but certainly more positively.
There are so many ways to bring staff together and it does not have to cost a fortune to get the results needed. I believe that it is not how much you spend on these events but the quality of the event that matters.
If you feel I could help you or your company arrange an event, please let me know and I will be happy to talk through some ideas. 07478 946454 or email.