Team building outings are supposed to serve the objective of members of a corporate team bonding strongly with each other.
Every manager faces the challenge of his or her team members forming cliques, working in silos or not leveraging each other’s capabilities. The solution he or she arrives at is usually a trip away from the routine of the office to encourage colleagues to get to know each other better.
The decision is made that it is now time for a team to get away from office together for a day or two, together. This is when the manager or the designated team outing organizer realizes that what everyone else is looking forward to as a fun trip is not that much fun for him or her!
Organizing a team offsite or team building outbound with team building activities can be as complicated as arranging a wedding.
“We want an exotic destination at the cost of going to the local park.”
The first decision to be taken always is – “Where shall we go?”
Ask your team where they would like to go, and you get suggestions ranging from the Andamans to Bhutan. Soon, you are just grateful that you did not get asked for an Antarctic expedition.
You begin wondering why the least adventurous team members actually hound you for the most faraway destinations.
Then, you realize that their mindset is precisely that of the old Government employee’s family of the old days going on a LTA (Leave Travel Allowance) bi-annual vacation. The kind in which you only paid for the first few hundred miles and anything beyond that would be picked up by the Government as employer.
Everyone would automatically start targeting the furthest holiday spot they could find simply to squeeze the maximum benefit for themselves.
Never mind if you eventually ended up enduring hardship going to a place you never actually wanted to see or the journey to which was so arduous that the whole family arrived exhausted and wishing they had never come.
Avoid those mistakes!
Be your team’s sensible parent, not greedy parent.
Are you tempted to be popular and oblige your team’s desire to pull off a smart one on your company?
Should you give in to their pushing you to give them a free holiday at company cost?
Here are a few points for you to think about, at this point.
If you take your team to those exotic spots, are they likely to really enjoy the team experience?
Let’s look at an even more basic fact.
What are the team outings that are best remembered?
They are the ones in which everyone had fun TOGETHER and grew to become an extended family. This means you must pick a location that enables that experience, not one that looks the coolest.
To achieve this, you must pick a destination to which the travel you can afford within the time frame you have, will be enjoyable, for starters.
Next, you must pick a resort that is best suited to the temperament of your team and the objective of your outing.
If your colleagues are the kind who expect excellent room service and a corporate resort environment, you must not get carried away and pick that delightful honeymooner’s paradise tucked away in the hills with cottages that are far flung and offer great privacy.
Use you own common sense, and, for example, your knowledge of staff hiring. Do you really think a low budget resort in a remote location will have a low service staff turnover and attrition rate?
Apply your own native intelligence. If you have ever lived in or visited extended family and friends living in hill stations or remote towns, you would know the challenges they have in sourcing even raw materials for food. Would not a resort in such areas would face exactly the same issues?
Choose your Outbound Partner wisely
Once you decide on a team outing as the solution for your team need, the next steps would be to choose the best destination. Then you would try to zero in on the best resort in that destination that would suit your budget as well as provide you space for your activity needs.
How would you do this? Search online for exotic destinations for team travel? And then call your travel agent and get suggestions followed by quotations for resorts and travel?
This is where team building outing organisers typically run into their first set of challenges. Often, their travel partners understand their travel needs, but not their learning or experience needs. They provide options of standard resorts that check the box on training needs.
The reason for this is quite simple. They understand corporate travel, but not team building. They do not, quite simply, understand the magic glue that team building programs provide to stick your team together. Nor do they understand exactly what environment is necessary to support that magic.
This is precisely why firms like mine, which started out as a training firm, merged with a travel and events firm, to launch an entirely new and unique service. We even had to invent a name for it! We call it end-to-end team offsite services!
More about this in the next edition of this blog. If you found my experience sharing useful, please let me know, and also watch this space for a continuation – I promise that Exciting Destinations Part 2 will be more exciting than Exciting Destinations Part 1.