One of the common questions by organizers of incentive programs is whether or not to incorporate any “business” activity during the course of a pure incentive program. Team building is often the “business” activity that comes to mind. While there are no right or wrong answers to this question, fun team-building activities can in fact enhance the value of an incentive program—to both the participant as well as the company. The most successful, memorable team-building events need not feel like a day at the office. On the contrary: They should blend with and augment the value of the incentive trip.
Team building and incentive programs have one thing in common: They are both the most important investments a company can make. They are both intended to build trust among employees, mitigate conflict, encourage communication, and increase collaboration. Effective team building as part of an incentive program mean more engaged employees, which is not only good for company culture but also to improve profitability.
To get the most value from incorporating team-building activities in an incentive program, there are a few ground rules that should be kept in mind:
1. Don’t force the corporate stuff
Team-building activities during the course of an incentive program should least resemble the corporate stuff. No overt reference to company goals or lessons in leadership. Don’t lose the sight of the fact that the participants have already paid their dues by working hard to meet specific goals and are now being rewarded with the incentive trip. Team-building activities should primarily encourage spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal to allow bonding to happen more organically. One idea is for participants to share their life/personal goals with each other. It’s a powerful way to learn about people and their dreams, as well as to generate ideas for future team-building activities.
2. Don’t forget the partners
If the incentive program includes partners, make sure any team-building activity you plan for involves partners too. It turns out that happiness and performance are closely tied together. The objective is twofold: To improve employee happiness as a result of an incentive trip and also foster bonding among employees. Partners play a pivotal role in boosting those two goals if they are included in all activities. To make it purposeful, choose something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones to encourage all participants to come together in new ways.
3. Take the positive energy back to the office
Trying new concepts with your staff as part of an incentive program can generate good vibes among employees—both those who got to go to the incentive trip and those who didn’t. Any team-building activity planned as part of an incentive program should have somewhat of a lasting effect. The ultimate goal is to take that positive energy back to the office. Most team-building exercises falls flat because they are often a one-time activity—done and then forgotten. Incorporating team building in your incentive programs is a way to keep the excitement going long after participants return from the trip. The challenge is creating opportunities for the returning participants to spread the positive energy among all employees by connecting and interacting with one another in more meaningful ways, outside of regular meetings or corporate interactions.
How do you know you’ve got team building correctly blended into your incentive program? If there was laughter, a sense of excitement, accomplishment and togetherness, and maybe a few Instagram moments, you’re definitely on the right track!
The Maxxus Group is a leading international event planning company with unique set of expertise in planning incentive programs or state-of-the-art team-building activities or both.