Teambuilding with a twist

Have team building activities in your organisation become more of an obligation than a truly fun day out? HRM looks at three activities that guarantee not to bore your employees to death

Sometimes even the most well-intentioned team building efforts can fill an employee with dread.

A recent survey conducted by a team of researchers from Auckland University revealed that only one in five employees enjoy the “fun” activities organised by their companies.

Hosting a teambuilding activity is often a tricky affair as it is difficult to please employees of different age groups at the same time, the survey found. For example, an afternoon of paintball might appeal to the millennial employee but an older worker will often prefer something more relaxed.

Here are some new and exciting teambuilding options that we’re confident will entice even the most jaded employee:

A day out at sea

Tired of the usual obstacle courses, scavenger hunts and other land-bound activities for your annual team building event? Then a day out at sea might be exactly what your employees need to refresh and re-energise themselves.

The Keppel Bay Sailing Academy uses sailing as a platform for teambuilding programmes.

“We leverage on the dynamics and techniques required during sailing to customise on-water teambuilding activities that will meet clients’ business objectives,” says Trevor Fong, Head of Marina Management, Keppel Land Hospitality Management.

“Held over one to three days, these teambuilding activities will encompass both work and play elements.”

Sailing simulates the environment at work, where market forces change (like the wind) and you need to adapt, strategise and react accordingly, explains Fong who is also the General Manager of Marina at Keppel Bay.

“On board the yachts, participants need to work closely together as a group and adapt to deal with the ever-changing environment,” he says. There are many different roles on board which require tight teamwork as participants work towards achieving a common goal.

“Cooperation and good communication, both of which are essential in achieving any business goal, are key to success in sailing,” says Fong.

A day at sea also encourages employees to get out of their usual comfort zone and think outside the box, forging better bonds with their collegues.

Every company has different objectives in their teambuilding programmes. To meet their specific needs, representatives from the Keppel Sailing Academy have in-depth discussions with the company to understand these corporate objectives before they develop a customised proposal.

“We will share and continuously modify the plan until we get the perfect combination of activities as levels of competency, experience and training vary among groups,” says Fong.

On board the yacht, participants are able to rotate their roles so that they can fully understand the different task functions and how each one impacts the rest of their team, says Fong. “This rotation of roles encourages each participant to demonstrate their strengths in their most suited role so as to bring out the best in each team player, contributing to the overall success of the team.”

Activities such as racing around the Southern Islands, climbing up the mast of the sail yacht, and teambuilding games are also carried out to keep participants engaged while promoting healthy competition.

Participants can rest assured that safety is viewed as a core value. “We always look into every aspect to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being whilst having fun and learning at the same time,” adds Fong.

Plot your escape

Room escape games are one of the hottest trends in teambuilding today. Here, employees have to solve puzzles and other challenges to “escape” a confined space within a fixed amount of time. A combined activity like this encourages employees to pool their resources and work together to find solutions to a non-work problem, heightening their sense of team spirit.

ThinkOut Events has elevated the escape game experience to a new level by incorporating “Loopy Balls” into the activity. Loopy balls are giant, transparent, inflatable balls that team building participants can wear over themselves for a fun and often hilarious afternoon that challenges both the body and mind. “Participants have to strategise, communicate and execute. Only then can they succeed against the other teams,” says Zoltan Jakab, Director, ThinkOut Events.

ThinkOut event takes care to design its games such that there are always learning takeaways at the end, says Jakab.

The company also creates de-briefing and skills development workshops based on the escape games. “We also involve psychometric assessment (personality tests) which makes such a workshop really impactful and useful,” says Jakab

Activities can be customised according to the company’s needs, with the age, gender and experience profile of employees all taken into consideration. “We ask what potential outcome is desired; how much time they have; and the venue that they are looking at. Based on this information we design the activities,” Jakab says.

Luxe getaway

Companies looking to eject their employees from the stresses of city life might want to consider organising a quick getaway to neighbouring Batam Island in Indonesia.

The luxurious Montigo Resorts has been drawing in corporate crowds with its 88 luxurious beachfront villas. Many of these villas feature private plunge pools as well as expansive views of the South China Sea.

Team building activities can be conducted at the Tiigo Bar and Beach Club. The resort’s culinary challenge is one of the most popular team building activities among corporate groups.

For companies in search of a truly memorable incentive experience, there is the resort’s luxury yacht. This can be booked for a two-hour sunset cruise where employees can unwind over an assortment of canapés and beverages at sea.

More adventurous employees will appreciate the eco-tours offered by the resort. These include mangrove and fishing trips, jungle treks, as well as cycling tours that offer a peek into daily life of a Malay village in Batam.

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