16 Team Building Activities That Actually Improve Employee Engagement

Written by on April 4, 2019

Are all your employees satisfied is a common question you ask yourself. As a company, you try and do everything to make sure this satisfaction is sustained. Employee Satisfaction is crucial, agreed. But it is a one-sided effect. Your employee can be satisfied with the company that does not mean he/she is engaged and connected with the brand. Employee Engagement is as important and crucial as employee satisfaction.

Increased employee engagement means every employee of your company is connected to the brand and feels that it is their own. They are passionate about the work they are doing for the company and want to build and improve it. They don’t have to be told to do so. They, on their own, aim for the growth of the company and work towards it when they are better engaged with the company and their colleagues.

Employee Engagement cannot be achieved by providing your employees with incentives and perks, it is born through engagement. It is that simple.

There are multiple ways to achieve Employee Engagement – introducing collaborative tools, conducting weekly team huddles, mentoring employees and much more.

However, in this blog, we will bring to you one of the age-old yet most effective ways of nurturing employee engagement – Team Building Activities and Games. Read on to discover a variety of team building activities and games, simple to arrange and are super fun all at once.

Icebreakers

The first aim in conducting Team Building Activities is to bring your employees out of their shells. It is important they shine alone first to feel comfortable in the new environment and engage more with others.

1. Look up, Look down

How it works:

– Gather all your employees/new hires and go to the meeting hall.
– Ask them to stand together in a circle.
– Choose a facilitator or be one yourself.
– The facilitator can stand in the center of the circle and give instructions for the group to follow.
– When he/she shouts  “Look down”, the whole group should look down at the ground.
– When the facilitator shouts “Look up”, everyone should look at someone’s face directly.
– If two people see each other in the eye, they must scream at the top of their voice and leave the circle.
– Play until everyone screams and leaves.

How it helps:

This game is one of those Team Building Activities that help your new recruits become familiarized with their colleague’s faces. Time spent outside the circle serves as a way of communication and you sure have a lot of fun screaming and laughing.

2. Campfire Stories

How it works:

-Write trigger words in small chits of paper and put them all in a bowl. Trigger words can include words that would bring out the past work experiences of the employees like, ‘Project’, ‘Deadline’, ‘First day’, ‘Last Day’, ‘First Salary’ etc.,
-You can play the game low-key by arranging the campfire artificially inside one of your conference rooms or you can notch up the fun by arranging for a real campfire in a resort or on the beach.
– Once you are all set in the location of your choice, the game begins.
– Pass the bowl around until each employee picks a word and narrates an incident from their life that comes to mind on reading the word.
-To avoid repetitions, you can ask them to write a new word and drop it into the bowl after their turn.

How it helps:

The pioneer of all Team Building Activities, campfire stories greatly encourage your employees to speak out and also share about them. It helps them in understanding and knowing their colleagues. People with different backgrounds can also come together through common experiences when shared in the right place and time.

3. Let’s Compliment

How it works:

-It is as simple as the title sounds, line up all your employees, ask them to compliment any person from the group.
-There is no fixed number of turns or attempts, keep the game going until everyone has received at least 3 compliments.
-The only rule in the game is that the compliments should be about the person, their behavior, character or working style and not about their looks or dressing. In simple terms, it should not be about their outer attributes.
– This does not mean that complimenting someone’s style is not allowed in the office, the idea of the game is to make employees connect beyond their looks and attire by allowing them to explore the other person’s personality.  

How it helps:

This game will serve as a great icebreaker for your team and would also bring them joy as they receive compliments for who they are characteristically and not how they show themselves. It is an amazing exercise to build a strong bond in your team.

Group Activities

If Individual Team Building Activities are the best to get your employees into the groove, Group Team Building Activities are your go-to solution to foster team bonding and help build better working relationships. Team building activities not only help build a strong unit but also helps more and more people come out of their bubble easily as they feel less in the spotlight.

1. Jigsaw Puzzle

How it works:

-The first step to making this game super interesting is to find the perfect puzzle that would take a long time and a large group to solve it.
-Find the right puzzle that would reflect your company culture, make sure it is big and needs many people to solve it.
-Now all you have to do is gather your team in a meeting hall that can be named as the place to solving the puzzle for the next few days.
-Once the puzzle is solved, celebrate.

How it helps:

Solving Jigsaw puzzles might seem like an easy task to do. But when the right big puzzle is found, it takes a tremendous team effort to solve it. This game will help spot the different kinds of people on your team – the coordinator, the mediator, the perfectionist, the adventurous, the quick thinker, and many more.

Here is a sample video of how big a puzzle we are talking about:  

Break the completed puzzle, arrange the pieces, and pack it back in the box without losing a piece for brownie points.

2. Animal Round-Up

How it works:

-Gather your employees in a meeting hall.
-Ask all of them to think of their favorite animal and keep it to themselves.
-Next up, they should arrange themselves from largest to the smallest animals, but do not allow them to talk to each other.
-They can only do actions or sounds of their animals to each other to figure out what animal each one is.
-When they have completed arranging themselves, stop the timer and ask them to reveal the name of their animal out loud and see if they stood accurately.

How it helps:

Animal Round-up is one of those team building activities that bring out the fun and quirky side of your employees to light. It helps in improving communication between the employees and also increases the patience and understanding levels between them.

3. Frostbite

How it works:

-Separate your whole team into groups of 6 or 8.
-Each group will choose one leader.
-This is a scenario game, so you need to gather props for the game.
-The imaginary scenario is, all your groups are stuck in Antarctica with no means to live. They have materials using which they can build a shelter before the only ship that crosses the island arrives.
-The group with the best shelter will be saved by the ship that comes by.

-The rules are as follows,
                   – The leader of the group has frostbite and cannot move at all.
                   – The rest of the team has become blind from the snow and must be blindfolded.
                   – The leader will instruct the group members to help and build the shelter.

– Points will be awarded for the speed at which they build the shelter and also based on how suitable the shelter is for them to live in.

How it helps:

This game helps in building and nurturing many employee traits. A lot of traits such as trust, teamwork, creativity, coordination, time management, understanding of work practices will be identified, established and developed through this game.

Outdoor Activities

There is a common notion among many employees that work-friendships last only till you step out of office, not many would care enough to spare their weekend for an activity with their colleague. Trust me, no matter how many team building activities you conduct within the office, if your employees are collectively still canceling Team Outdoor plans, you have not achieved Employee Engagement. Which is why you need to conduct outdoor activities. Creating a day for having fun is always much better than inserting fun between work. The former will remove all work emotions and bring out the true self of your employees in a fun environment.

1. Water Balloon Toss

How it works:

– This Ideal Summer game is as basic as it sounds.
– Prepare many water balloons (i.e.) balloon filled with water.
– Choose a hot sunny day and a perfect outdoorsy location like a park or beach to play the game.
– Separate your employees into two teams based on balloon color. (Choose only two colors of balloons for this purpose)
– Each team will throw balloons on the opposite team while also trying to save themselves from hits.
– If five balloons have hit a person, they need to step out of the game.
– The first team to lose all its members goes out of the game making the other team the winner.

Here is a different version of Balloon Toss to show you how fun it is, you can also simplify and play the game like in the video:

How it helps:

Apart from the ultimate fun you get from the game, your team will feel a lot more energized after all the running, chasing and aiming. It also increases the team management and group working skills, it will help people work together creating strategies and winning the goals.

2. Assassin

How it works:

– It is the common and basic assassin game, however, we have a twist.
– The first step is to gather your team to a resort or if your office is located inside a big campus, you can use the same as the war zone.
– In the usual assassin, each player picks another player as a target and try to assassinate them.
– In our version, we will have each participant wearing a chain with a photo of themselves.  
– They will have water guns to protect their pictures.
– If player 1 gets the photo of player 2 from their neck, player 2 is dead and he/she must give all the photos they collected to player 1.
– The game is to collect all the pictures. The one with all the pictures at the end wins.
– One can set own rules in collecting the pictures based on the location and their players.

How it helps:

The classic game of an assassin is one of the most effective team building activities. Although you are trying to kill each other, it can improve the bond between your employees to ten-fold. It is the best game to relax and also bring out the complete competitiveness of the group. Players can understand each other better through this game.

3. Minefield

How it works:

-Choose a large ground or garden for this game.
-Mark the play area using tapes or fences.
-This is the war field.
-Place various obstacles, like toys, bucket, vessels, any kind of object in a scattered manner to represent mines.
-Group your employees into teams of 4-5.
-One person from each team will be sent into the war field, blindfolded.
-The rest of the team will stand outside and shout instructions to the person inside to help them reach the finish line without stepping onto any mine.
-If they step on any of the obstacles it disqualifies the team.
-The first person to reach or the last person standing wins.

How it helps:

Minefield is the ideal game to play when you want to build communication and trust among your employees. The game enables better coordination, planning, and teamwork. Trust, multitasking, quick thinking and ego clashes are a few things that can get better or fixed using this exercise.

Bonus Game: Bubble Ball

Just get your team and go to a rec center and sign them all up for bubble ball. People who have not played before will probably be skeptical about signing up, sign them up anyway, do not let them miss out on the fun.

Once inside the ball, the fun will make them stay. Separate as teams or fight against a team that is already playing, either way, bubble ball is the most perfect game for employees who have to chill. Team building activities like Bubble Ball is the best game to take your employees after they have worked on a big update or release. It sure brings in fun and improves your employee’s bonding with one another.  

Quick Look at the fun:(notice all the laughing)

CSR Activities

A CSR activity might be a great way to purposefully bring your teams or employees together. It not only builds your company’s brand and your team’s bonding but also gets your employees to connect deeply with the organization. As part of Team Building Activities, CSR events grow a sense of loyalty towards the company and its people in your employee.

1. Make a School

How it works:

– Gather your team and arrange a meeting.
– The activity is to completely refurbish a school that is deprived of all basic facilities.
– Find the school you want to refurbish and inform to your CSR team.
– After they find out what the school needs, buy all the materials and go to the school one weekend or during the holidays.
– Split your employees into teams based on the different works they can do. (Painting, Building, Cleaning, Plumbing, Teaching, etc.,)
– Once this is done, get down to business.
– One can turn the game interesting by having points for each task the teams complete and based on the time they take to finish.
– Once the school is refurbished, mark a day and conduct an event to gather all your employees and hand over the school to the children.

How it helps:

Apart from the amazing fact that your employees managed the building of a school, this activity is a hands-on experience for teamwork and management for them. Given it is for a common and good cause, this will provide a platform for them to come together with no inhibitions.

2. Fix the Mess

How it works:

– Pick a beach or a local park or a community or an area that needs a good cleaning.
– Group your employees into teams of 4/6.
– Make all the teams stand in the starting line or position.
– On the sound of the whistle, every team will clean the place, pick the garbage and collect it.
– With breaks in between, the activity goes on the whole place is cleaned.
– The team which has collected the maximum garbage will win a special prize.

How it helps:

This activity helps improve group working skills and time management. It also brings effective working skills of employees in dire situations with minimum resources available. It also helps them to learn cleanliness and its importance resulting in a cleaner workspace maintenance, hopefully.

3. Collect Care

How it works:

– Separate your employees into teams of 4 or 5.
– It is better to team people who live nearby.
– Choose an Animal Care Center that needs help and facilities.
– Your teams will work during weekends for three weeks in their locality and try to collect money, care packages for the animals.
– After three weeks, give the care packages and the money to the center, the team that came up with most packages and money will win.
– Employees can bring their own pets to the center for a playdate.

How it helps:

This activity helps people who do not know each other at all come together by working together. It also helps them find out who lives close by, this can lead to carpooling which can reduce pollution. It also improves the adaptability of the employees as they learn to work and collect stuff with people they do not know before.

Board Games

One of the team building activities that are easiest and classiest to get your employees to bond better is Board games. Easy to arrange, play and involve your employees, all you need to do is stack your company with the board games we suggest below. To spice things up, you can also conduct tournaments or competitions between teams and reward them.

1. Pictionary

A classic game of Pictionary can bring together 4 groups of people faster than glue. Have many Pictionary boards which they can borrow and play anytime they feel like. Improves the connection and understanding between employees as you get to know how people think.

2. Betrayal at Hill House

This new board game is very captivating and frightening. The aim is to find your way through scary and haunted hallways outside of the hill house with the help of clues. Helps in improving critical thinking skills and also work with the team as each person would have different ways to solve a puzzle.

Arrange playdates at night to better the playing experience for this game.

3. Jenga

Although this is technically not a game played on a board, it is very much from the same family. Jenga is the classic and best office game of all times. Buy big, giant Jenga blocks and include everyone in the office. This game improves patience, critical thinking and also helps your employees work together with a strategy to help and protect the Jenga tiles from falling down.

These are definitely a lot more board games out there that you can explore for your teams. You should find something your people will love.

That is 16 Team Building Activities for you to try in your office to get a happy bunch of people as teams with excellent bond and management among themselves.

Good luck, we hope you have all the fun you can. Do not forget: You have to come back to work.