A friend had to go to a mandatory “team building” event. You can probably guess my opinion of such things, but some people like them. Wasting time “building unity” by doing a silly activity such as building a raft, making a dinner or negotiating a ropes course is bad enough during business hours, but this event was held in the evening.
You remember the purpose of evenings, don’t you? It’s time to be at home.
During this team building activity, a nice HR person (who undoubtedly had a hand in organizing the whole event) talked about how they were having a turnover problem. The theory was that by building cohesiveness everyone would start to love their team so much they wouldn’t dare leave.
I think HR should have thought, “Gee, maybe it’s that whole work-life balance thing creeping up on us. Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t require people to spend their evenings at team building events!”
Sometimes we get caught up in the latest fad or program and we think, “gee, won’t this be fabulous!” and we forget to ask if this is actually helping the business by truly meeting the needs of the people. Yes, the activity you came up with might be “fun,” but most people consider work, work and want to find their fun elsewhere.
Or we think that for a team to be effective they need to be bonded in some significant fashion. And that perhaps trusting my coworker to catch me as I fall backwards will improve performance all around. Frankly, I’d rather trust my coworker to get her part of the project done on time. That builds team cohesiveness better than anything else, in my humble opinion.
So, next time you go implementing some sort of program, stop and think about how this will really affect business performance. Is it helping or inadvertantly hurting?