Cooking up a successful team building event

Business Insights

Does the very idea of traditional team building events make you shudder and conjure images of group activities you would prefer to forget?

Then it’s time to take a fresh look at team building and its potential benefits to your organisation. The market has changed, and in these times of high employment staff retention is moving ever higher on managers’ wish lists.

Strategies encouraging group cohesion are taking priority, and this is where a mix of well-chosen and carefully structured group activities will help to bring all parts of your organisation together.

Mark Seymour Mead, director of Food Sorcery, which is rapidly becoming the go-to company for team building events with a twist in the North West, is keen to point out the value of events in which everyone is engaged.

He says good communication is a fundamental ingredient for harmonious and productive working relationships, but points out that if you rarely, or never, actually meet the person in the other department, maybe from sales, shipping or production, it is easy for misunderstandings to arise and for poor project delivery to always be the other person’s fault.

By working together on a team challenge people will come to appreciate their colleagues’ strengths and be more willing to work together to overcome problems and difficulties. Team building activities encourage collaboration and teamwork. Fun activities can help people see each other in a different light and allow them to connect with each other in a less pressurised setting than the workplace.

Team building gets results. Through planned events from a menu of fun and motivational activities teams build skills like communication, planning, problem-solving and conflict resolution. Team building ideas that work help facilitate long term team building through fostering genuine connections, deeper discussions and processing.

Over the years team building activities have diversified, become suitable for all abilities and can be cleverly targeted to meet an equally diverse range of company goals. The key words in all of this are “planned”, and “targeted”, a team building day should not be considered as just some sort of out-of-office jolly, and many companies choose to combine their team building event with a more formal style of business meeting. The activities should be fun but the mixture must be designed purposefully in order to achieve your company objectives.

Organisations should engage a professional company to run their team building activities. The company will discuss your goals and what you are hoping to achieve from the event and will have numerous activities in their armoury designed for the specific purpose.

Leave your preconceptions at the door and expect to see a different side to many of your people as they become comfortable working with each other towards shared goals; and while some may be surprised by the imagination and enterprise shown by “the quiet guy” from the post room, and the strength and agility of the mature lady from accounts, it will be an agreeable surprise, and vice versa.

The range of activities on offer these days varies widely in scope and imagination but it should be remembered that such activities are designed to build teams, not to give some individuals an opportunity to grandstand. To this end it can be beneficial to swap team members around, to avoid the risk of a team becoming dominated by one or two strong individuals, leaving the rest without an opportunity to participate. That kind of event will only tell you what you already know and be counterproductive.

You can rely on the events company’s professionals to steer the activities whilst keeping a watchful eye on those who need encouraging and to foster a collaborative spirit.

Once back in the office it is not “job done”, it is important that managers continue to follow the recipes which encourage the team spirit engendered by the activities of the day. Discuss with your chosen firm ways in which you can build on the event’s results. Perhaps by keeping the connections between departments going, team challenges, informal get-togethers after work, cross company meetings showing how work in one department affects the successful completion of the next stage, and importantly, at the company’s annual do, that the table seating reflects the successful groups which participated in your event.

By keeping the team spirit going, companies will see improvements both in productivity and staff retention.

For more information on Food Sorcery’s menu of team building activities visit