Ensuring the returns on teambuilding

Teambuilding can be seen as a bane for companies because of a lack of perceived reward for the interruption. HRM looks at how some companies are achieving measurable returns on these activities and some of the latest teambuilding options out there

An old Kenyan saying goes: sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. Teambuilding activities are an exemplar of this – because effective teams are also stronger together than when working as individuals.

Teambuilding activities bring a slew of benefits, such as motivation and rapport, development of creativity, and improved productivity and problem solving skills amongst employees. Moreover, teambuilding can be a way for employees to enjoy some bonding time with colleagues. The DBS’ Asia Dragons, DBS Bank’s dragon boat team, is one ongoing example. It has its own Facebook page to gather photos, videos, training tips and words of encouragement from employees across the wider organisation. This bonds employees together with shared experiences and good memories.

Not only does teambuilding build up team skills, but it has the potential to equip employees with skills applicable to their individual lives as well. As Alexander Blyth, founder of Megazip Adventure Park, elaborates: “With the opportunity to learn skills, deploy and practice, report back and repeat; life skills with an EQ focus can be meaningfully developed to the benefit of the employer and the employee.”


The right fit

Yet, as easy it is to rattle on about the benefits of teambuilding, it is only through the right marriage of teambuilding activities to the suitable organisational needs that these benefits are realised.

That’s why many facilities providers are now promoting the customisability of their programmes. For example, Sentosa offers different packages for teambuilding activities according to the desired experience. For those looking for a true blue island experience, Sentosa has designed an ‘Amazing Race’ called “The Imbiah Challenge”, which takes challengers through a cluster of obstacles and attractions at Imbiah on Sentosa Island.

Moreover, customisability allows organisations to design their activities for the maximum comfort for employees. This could further enhance the buy-in for such activities, as the initial audience may be reluctant to participate at first.

Secondly, the best teambuilding activities do not have a one-off impact on employees. Rather, they are sustainable and make a real change in the way employees carry out their daily work. This ensures a development in human capital, rather than simply an improvement which could be watered down over time. Human capital, as an organisation’s most vital asset, needs to constantly upgrade to keep in line with the never-static business environment.

Megazip, which offers a zip line with activities such as freefall parachute jumps and flying fox, recognises this issue and has changed its focus to longer-term programmes. “After four years of delivering entry level and foundational programmes, we now aim to develop human capital with long term objectives in mind through new programmes,” Blythe says.


Quirky activities for the win

Sentosa’s exclusive brand of teambuilding activities exploits the myriad of attractions and leisure facilities all over the island. With indoor and outdoor attractions incorporated into the design for teambuilding activities, this offers participants a good mix of some fun in the sun as well as exciting indoor games. “With the constant stimulation through the different activities, participants can have fun as well,” says Sentosa’s Senior Assistant Director of Sales, Steven Chung.

Megazip, meanwhile, boasts an individualised brand of specialised long-term leadership and team development programmes called “Lynchpin Leadership”. This programme arranges a slew of activities which bring employees progressively from simple team bonding to developing critical thinking and analytical skills in teams. Such a progression is useful for the individual employee to learn the various levels of teamwork skills sequentially, which cannot be captured effectively in a one-off activity. For those serious about long-term teambuilding development, Megazip also offers a “Team and Leader Consolidation Course”, which offers a mix of theoretical and experiential exercises every four weeks over a period of between three months and a year. “This allows for employees, managers, and our facilitators to assess the effectiveness of training by monitoring the team’s performance and progress over a period of time,” Blyth notes.

Returns from teambuilding are not just about improving teamwork – they are also seen in the opportunity for employees to come together and relish in their friendships. As Andy Chen, team leader of DBS Asia Dragons, says: “The DBS Marina Regatta is a great community and staff bonding experience. In addition to bonding with colleagues from other parts of the bank, we get to meet and develop friendship with other members of the community.” These friendships are also, an investment in greater organisational citizenship and therefore better team spirit.


DBS Marina Regatta:

Rowing together for success

The inaugural DBS Marina Regatta saw a range of corporate dragon boat teams paddling against each other in the waters of Marina Bay, Singapore.

With the advent of this event, the DBS Asia Dragons, DBS’ very own dragon boat team, was formed. With more than six gold medals and one silver medal now under their belts, the DBS Asia Dragons are poised for further success.

Yet, they did not start off with a bang. Team leader Andy Chen recalls, “Initially, we only knew of one competitive dragon boater.” However, one lead was all it took to ignite the spirit of teamwork within the organisation. Soon, the team found itself some other seasoned dragon boaters and a few novices who were willing to train.

The teambuilding nature of dragon boating embodies the essence of DBS’ culture. The nature of synchronised rowing highlights the need to value relationships


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