“Sorry guys, our budget doesn’t allow for team building this year.”
Have you ever had to say that to your staff?
Team building in most companies take the back-burner, and will probably only be considered if there was an improvement in sales with some extra cash lying around. This perspective is very one-dimensional as we will cover in this article. Rather than view team building as a reward for the hard work employees put in, it should be viewed as an investment in your employees, as well as your business.
Don’t force the corporate stuff. U.S. statistics show that 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work. Even more surprising, 12% of employees leave for more money, while 75% actually quit their bosses, not their jobs. We tend to think that an employee left for more money, as do 89% of all employers in the U.S. We are all guilty of this. It is easier to point the finger at someone, than to point it at ourselves.
If that is not enough to convince you, let’s talk profit. A study of 64 organisations revealed that organisation with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organisations whose employees lag behind in engagement.
So what does it mean when we say “engaged”?
We cannot overlook the fact that every employee is a unique person, with their own unique experiences and aspirations which in part shaped their unique characters. There is no single formula to get the best performance out of all employees, because what may work for one employee, may not work for another. That is the reason why you need to KNOW your employees. Their beliefs, their aspirations, what makes them laugh, and what makes them sad. In knowing this, do not judge them even if you don’t agree, or even if you find it hard to understand their sense of humour. Once you break their shells and they open up to you, you can better build a strategy around that particular employee in order to maximize his or her performance. If you truly understand the person, you will know that providing an environment where the individual is comfortable and happy, is the best possible solution.
How to determine the best strategy for your employee.
In order to formulate this strategy, you first need to do the unthinkable, get to know the person. This could be an awkward conversation to have, especially if that individual does not easily open up to people. Be aware that people may present you with a false persona, in order to appear like they belong. Don’t ever force someone to open up to you, but rather find another way to break through a tough exterior.
A brilliant way to achieve this, is through team building activities. When people are involved in fun and engaging activities, they are placed out of their comfort zones, and tend to let their guard down a bit. Don’t force competition. When organising such activities, plan ideas around encouraging people and making the experience fun. Some of your employees will want to compete between each other, and that’s fine, just make sure that everyone is included, and nobody is warming the bench.
Don’t think because you are an employer, you don’t have to be present for these activities. We understand you may have an extremely busy schedule and you can’t always be present, but that is why you need to ensure that you have the right managers in place to represent you when you cannot be there. However, being present is the best time for you to learn about your staff. We can gaurantee you will see sides to people you never knew they had, and find some new skills you would like to nurture for your business.
Also, don’t entertain the notion that as an employer or manager, you shouldn’t have a relationship with an employee. Again, this is also a one-dimensional way of thinking. You just need to know where to draw the line. There are different layers to relationships with people. For example, a father is someone who looks after you, and moulds your character into a functional member of society. While he is not a friend, he is involved with a child’s development, and uses his experiences to teach his child. This is the same for a mother. Although a mother tends to take a more caring and supportive role, her role is also crucial for the development of a child. Both will reprimand the child if he or she is in the wrong, in order to steer the child clear of further indulging in a negatively perceived activity. These are types of leadership roles, and as an employer, you are a leader to your staff. This means you need to LEAD and set a good example for your employees.
A wise quote someone once said is, “A manager tries to manage people, while a leader takes the lead, and others follow”. Your goal should be to build leaders from your employees. Everyone can be a leader in some way, because everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the strengths, and encourage that the person takes a leadership role with these strengths. Encouragement and support will go a long way. Once the person feels empowered, he or she will not need to be monitored but instead take the initiative, and perform the tasks required out of their own will because they feel like they are a part of something greater.
We Understand Times are Tough
We at Beach & Bush, understand that the economic climate in South Africa is tough, and not all companies can afford to pay for their staff to go for team building activities. That is why we would like to take this opportunity to remind you that team building does not only happen at a venue, but it happens in the office every day. Engaging with your staff, encouraging them, and making the work environment a positive and comfortable place to be, is the most effective way to achieve performance from your staff. We would also like to remind you that we have a lot of affordable team buildind options available. Our team builds are formulated with all the values we hold dear in mind, and we can recommend the best solution based on your company’s unique characterstics. Just give us a call, and we will work something out around your budget.