November 2, 2022

How to Plan and Lead a Successful Team Building Event

Everyone is working in some form of a team in today’s workplace. It could be a sales team, an engineering team, or a project team. How well your team works together is crucial to your business’s success. 

If properly executed, team-building activities are an excellent way to bring colleagues together and facilitate bonding with team members. It helps build healthy workplace relationships, thereby increasing productivity. Even the most productive team can benefit from these events, helping them find new ways of improving their morale and motivation.

But how do you plan a successful team-building event that’s beneficial and fun for the employees? It doesn’t matter if it’s an in-person or virtual event, you still need to get things off on the right foot.

Step-by-Step Instructions for an In-Person Event

Planning an in-person event may seem like there’s too much to be done and never enough time to lead a successful one. While it’s exciting, in-person events are starting to see a return after the lockdown, you need a well-coordinated plan that includes safety measures to ensure a successful event. 

Below is a step-by-step rundown of how to successfully plan your next in-person event:

Step 1: Determine the purpose of the event 

Define the clear goal you hope to achieve from the team-building event. Staying focused on the purpose of the event ensures you select the right activities based on the occasion.

Step 2: Set your budget

Set a realistic budget after deciding on the goal of the event to avoid overrunning your budget. If you have a company expense policy, this is a good benchmark to measure against.

Step 3: Set up a planning team 

It’s not easy for a single person to plan an in-person team event. Putting together a team helps you delegate tasks and make decisions based on your colleagues’ opinions. 

Step 4: Decide on the date and venue 

Before committing to a date, consider your team members’ schedules and personal lives. The weather and season are other important factors, especially when organizing outdoor activities. Avoid venues that won’t accommodate enough people or aren’t suitable for your planned activities.

Step 5: Develop an event day schedule 

A schedule gives you a clear idea of how your day will run and the activities lined up for the event. Tell the attendees what they’ll be doing for their team-building event. This will get them excited and set expectations for the day to come.

Step 6: Have a logistics checklist

Your checklist should include transportation to the venue, music DJs, decorators, food & drinks, costumes for special activities, and so on. Start the process of procurement early – research suppliers and vendors early, secure any approvals necessary, and remitting payment – to find the best fit for your event and avoid last-minute frustrations.

Step 7: Plan health and safety measures

Draw up a health and safety plan to protect your team and external staff working the event from potential problems. Have protocols for when someone becomes ill during the event and for how you handle COVID-19 requirements.

Step 8: Promote your event 

Market your event internally through memos, your company website, social media pages, and weekly team meetings. Send email reminders to attendees in the weeks leading up to the event. Also, check in with suppliers and vendors to ensure everything is set for the D-day.

Step-by-Step Instructions for a Virtual Event

There are times when an in-person event may not be possible, like when you have teams working remotely. Regardless, you need to keep them engaged and connected. Planning a virtual event during these unique circumstances can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Here’s how you can prepare for a successful virtual event:

Step 1: Create an activity map 

The primary goal of a virtual event is to offer an experience as close to an in-person event as possible. These events rely on quality content and require creativity to keep the attendees engaged. 

The first step is creating an activity map that covers the list of activities to take place during the event. This list is based on the goals you hope to achieve from the event. 

Step 2: Choose the appropriate date and time

Like in-person events, date and time are equally important for virtual events. 

Identify the time you’ll have the maximum participation. Studies show Wednesdays are a favorite day of the week for corporate events. Think of weekdays too, not only weekends. 

Step 3: Find the right platform to host your event 

When deciding on the online platform to use, consider the audience capacity, ease of use, and mobile and recording capability. You can also combine multiple tools and platforms, such as Livestorm, Dreamcast, and other Zoom alternatives, to create a holistic experience.

Step 4: Test run and prepare for technical errors

Dealing with technological difficulties and glitches is a common virtual event challenge. Identify and correct all possible errors, such as microphone and camera malfunction, that might come up during your event. Test run with the hosts and moderators to check if everything is in place. You don’t want your team members struggling with connection issues on the event day.

Step 5: Give your team with the event access link

As you advertise your team-building event day on bulletin boards, internal posters, and memos, add the access link in the team emails well in advance of the day of the event. If your team members aren’t familiar with your virtual event platform, make a brief video showing them how to access and use it.

5 Tips for Team Building Event Planning

Team-building events offer many benefits to your organization but getting these benefits requires effective planning. You want your event to be enriching, inspiring, and engaging. 

Here are the top 5 tips to help you plan the perfect event for your team.

1. Set Clear Objectives

Before organizing a team-building event, answer this: Why are you having this event? 

According to Tuckman’s Model, every team is at a different stage of group development. Your objectives will depend on the particular stage your team is at. 

Team building events are great for resolving breakdowns in relationships, fixing conflicts, and helping the team move from an acceptable level of performance to an even higher level of performance.

Other specific objectives include:

  • Clear-cut work allocation
  • Improving collaborative behaviors and decision-making
  • Developing more effective ways of communication
  • Understanding and appreciating individual strengths, styles, and values
  • Building team morale and member motivation to participate in workplace team efforts
  • Enhancing team commitment as a social unit

These events are often a huge investment, not just in terms of resources and budget, but also in terms of the time of the team. If the team-building event isn’t productive, you’re wasting their time and the money you have invested. Be clear on your objectives for the event.

Narrow down all the things you could achieve to a small number, ideally one or two primary objectives you’re going to focus on. If you spread your efforts in team building around a load of objectives, chances are you won’t achieve any of them.

2. Carefully Design the Right Activities

People love team events. But if they don’t enjoy or understand why it’s there, they feel reluctant to attend it. So how do you come up with a team-building activity that won’t leave your team members saying, Ugh, not another dumb company event”? 

Other team-focused factors to consider when selecting an activity are:

  • Personal preferences 
  • Physical and mental abilities
  • Cultural and religious choices
  • Health and safety

Try picking activities every team member can fully participate in and feels eager to collaborate—and can help further your objectives. Think outside the box and experiment with these activities. Icebreaker quizzes and improv workshops, for example, are excellent examples. 

3. Conduct Your Event Off-Site

An important team-building tip often overlooked is having the event outside the company. When you do a fun activity in your work environment, people may miss them due to emergencies at the office. 

Make your employees feel the event isn’t part of official company time. Go away from the workplace to minimize disruptions and help participants develop new ways of thinking. Further, a change of scenery for in-person events will positively affect their mental abilities. So pick a location where your team members can loosen up.

Don’t forget about factoring in your current resources and your budget as well.

4. Outsource or Hire Professionals

Depending on the size and scope of your plan, a team-building event can get daunting real fast. Your company may not have the in-house knowledge and creativity to create a good quality event. If it’s proving too much of a challenge to handle, outsource the planning or hire professionals to take care of the event.

Corporate event planning agencies have the knowledge and expertise to run a thoughtfully designed corporate event that aligns with your objectives. They can help you identify what messages you’d like to push through your team-building activities, facilitate the event or give you the necessary tools to do it yourself. You’ll also find event agencies with fresh team-building ideas for virtual celebrations

But before outsourcing or hiring planners, do your research. Consider the required creativity, budget, timing, and risks. Ensure an experienced event planner is handling your event.

5. Measure the Results of Your Event

Team building is an ongoing process—a commitment your organization must maintain. Evaluate your events to know the effectiveness of your team-building efforts. Employee feedback, for one, is an excellent measure. 

Organize a survey that allows your team to voice their thoughts regarding the event. Find out what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they would like to do going forward. Other key metrics to track are attendance, participation, productivity in alignment with your objectives, and overall team morale. When planning for the next team activity, use the drawbacks or successes of the previous ones as your reference point.

Treat your team events as an investment for the future

Now that you know how to lead a successful team-building event, begin preparations in full swing and in advance to avoid last-minute hassles. 

Follow our step-by-step instructions and tips to make your virtual or in-person team-building event a roaring success by fixing team problems and enhancing team performance. When you help your staff collaborate and find value in what they do, you’ll find success in the team. 

Author Bio:

Rana Bano is a one-part B2B content writer and one-part content strategist. She uses these parts to help SaaS brands tell their story, aiming to encourage user engagement and drive traffic.