As jurisdictions around the globe continue to move in and out of full and partial lockdowns, work from home will continue to be a factor. This will drive team building trends for 2022. Meeting and travel restrictions will also have a direct impact on the shape of team building.
Whether you opt for face-to-face or virtual team building, the most important thing to remember is that team building delivers far more than a corporate play day, team recreation, or a corporate event. To be effective, team building must be:
- aligned with strategy
- solidly grounded through objectives to improve team effectiveness and boost the bottom line
What does “real” team building look like?
- Executive Briefing: Sponsoring executive highlights specific business challenges and underscore objectives
- Team Briefing: Facilitator links the team building to the business challenges and objectives.
- Facilitated business exercises
- Recreational team challenges (optional)
- Business Application Exercises.
Team building must be solidly grounded within the context of clear and specific business objectives
Remember, ANY team building is not about the technology or method of delivery. The primary drivers to shape team building need to be the business goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. These should be fully in place before selecting a theme and delivery method.
What team building trends lie ahead for 2022?
- Virtual Team Building
- Hybrid Team Building
- Bespoke Team Building
- Virtual Reality Team Building
- Outdoor Team Building
- Executive Retreats
What team building pitfalls should companies avoid in 2022?
2022 Team Building Trends
1. Virtual Team Building
Team building delivered via technology. Team members participate from various locations.
Virtual Team Building Benefits:
- Team members can participate from anywhere in the country or the world for that matter.
- Team building can easily be broken down into 2 1/2 hour to 1/2 day modules.
- A modular format is less disruptive to a work from home routine.
Virtual Team Building Formats:
- Delivered via meeting platforms like Zoom or Bluescape.
- Delivered at a venue in a virtual world via platforms like Second Life, MeetinVR, or Virtway.
Virtual Team Building Tips:
- Clarify and clearly articulate your business objectives.
- Select your theme to underscore your desired outcomes.
- Create your environment.
- Provide an orientation to the technology prior to the team building session so that all team members are fully comfortable interacting in the virtual environment.
Virtual Team Building Blog Post:
Virtual Team Building Simulations
Virtual Team Building E-book
2. Hybrid Team Building
Hybrid team building blends virtual team building with face-to-face team building. As jurisdictions move in and out of lockdowns, hybrid team building will become the dominant delivery format in 2022. Face-to-face sessions, virtual team building, and virtual reality can be blended seamlessly to create facilitated business simulations that reflect specific themes and meet clearly articulated objectives.
Hybrid Team Building Benefits:
- Hybrid team building facilitates flexible approaches to the design of team building simulations.
- Any theme can be brought to life virtually or through activities in the real world.
Hybrid Team Building Formats:
- Portions of team building are delivered virtually and the team comes together for activity-based team bonding.
- Some team members participate virtually while others attend a face-to-face session.
Hybrid Team Building Simulations
Most of our team building simulations can be offered in virtual and hybrid formats.
- Visexecutaries: Seizing Opportunities in our Shifting Corporate Landscape
- Lemons to Lemonade: Squeezing Opportunities out of Adversity When Business Goes Sour
3. Custom Crafted, Bespoke Team Building
With organizations and industries facing unique constraints like supply change disruptions, a one size fits all approach to team building just won’t cut it.
Many organizations will benefit from custom crafted team building to address their specific business challenges.
What is bespoke team building?
- Bespoke team building is custom tailored and made to order for a specific client.
How Bespoke Team Building Works:
Give us your:
- dream experience
We’ll custom craft an approach to deliver desired results.
A number of our team building simulations began as custom designed programmes for specific clients.
- Visexexutaries: Seizing Opportunities in our Shifting Corporate Landscape
This highly customizable business simulation involves teams as they develop and implement specific initiatives and projects to address your business challenges.
Examples: Guerilla Marketing, Flash Sales, Pop-ups Events, Viral Video
4. Virtual Reality Team Building
With enhancements to platforms like Sansar and Mark Zuckerberg unveiling metaverse, immersive virtual reality for virtual team building he’s going to become more and more appealing.
What is virtual reality team building?
Virtual reality team building is delivered via computer technology to simulate an immersive 360 environment. From within the immersive experience, participants can interact with other team members and engage with the environment
Virtual Reality Team Building Pitfalls:
If the experience is not grounded within the context of clear and specific business executive objectives, then virtual reality is just a recreational or social experience. There is definitely a place for team recreation on the corporate agenda but it is not a substitute for team-building.
5. Outdoor Team Building
Team building integrating outdoor team challenges or activities that underscore the team building theme with facilitated business exercises.
Outdoor Team Building Benefits:
- Outdoor meetings and activities energize team members so that they can get maximum benefit from team building.
- Outdoor meetings and activities help team members relax and bond.
Outdoor Team Building Formats:
- Team members head outdoors for team challenges or activities.
- Most or all of the team building including the facilitated business exercise take place outdoors.
Outdoor team building Tips
Team members who have been cooped up for 1 1/2 years or more will welcome the opportunity to head outdoors again.
- Set specific objectives.
- Select a theme.
- Select a location that reflects the theme.
- Choose activities or team challenges that complement the facilitated business exercises.
- Ensure that participants are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
- Arrange for team members who do not want to vaccinate to participate virtually.
- Obtain COVID-19 test results for all participants.
- Begin with a briefing to ensure that participants, especially analytical learners, are clear about the links between team building and the team building simulation.
- Thoroughly debrief the simulation
- End with business application exercises.
Outdoor Team Building Simulations:
- Winter team building: Canada, USA, Europe, Japan
- Wilderness Survival Team Building: Canada, USA, Europe
- Beach Team Building: Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, UAE
- Island Survival: Jamaica
- Mountain Team Building: Canada USA, Jamaica, Oman, UAE, Malaysia, Costa Rica
- Desert Team Building: USA, UAE, Oman, Jordan, Peru
- Quest for Black Gold: Dubai
5. The Return of Executive Retreats
One thing companies around the world have learned since March of 2020 is that retreats do not have to take place face-to-face. They can be delivered virtually.
By spring of 2022, we project the gradual return of off-sites for executive teams. Initially, they will be close to home.
As the risk of COVID-19 decreases, foreign executive retreats will eventually return to the corporate agenda. Our projection I s that we can expect the return of foreign executive retreats to take place by late summer or early fall of 2022.There will be a lot of pent-up demand so executive teams would be wise to begin their planning now.
Book your accommodation and travel now with flexible attrition in case COVID-19 levels spike as your date approaches.
Tips for Planning Executive Retreats
In addition to our tips for planning outdoor team building, here are some important reminders:
- Set very clear and specific objectives.
- Don’t pack the agenda.
- Carve out thinking and reflection time.
- Build in downtime and time for recreation and socials.
- Stay at a small resort or inn where a “buy-out” is available. Your group will have exclusive use of the property and minimize the risk of coming into contact with COVID-19.
- Stay near where you intend to play. Nothing frustrates participants more than travelling or sitting in traffic for hours on end to get to and from activities.
- If you have a “buy-out” pay a little extra so that all staff can be tested for COVID-19. Yes, saving money is great. Safety is even better.
- Let your objectives drive the theme and activities not vice versa.
- Make mask wearing mandatory and provide masks for your team and staff.
- Provide hand sanitizer.
- Social distance.
- Weather permitting have some or all of your meetings outdoors.
- Begin with briefings by the sponsoring executive and the facilitator to ensure that all executives are clear about the objectives and how the retreat relates to the business.
- To take pressure off the agenda and carve out more time:
- Use virtual team building deliver the sponsoring executive and facilitator briefings and complete the initial facilitated exercises.
- Arrange to arrive at your destination in the early in the morning or the previous night.
- Schedule an evening departure on the last day.
- Allow participants to pre-order their arrival meal and arrange for room service to have it waiting in the rooms.
- Add luxury touches like hot towel service, beverages and refreshments in the transfer vehicle and a welcome drink and hot towel service upon arrival at the resort, hotel or inn.
- Give participants time to settle into their rooms and rest before you begin your sessions.
Executive Team Building E-book
2022 Team Building Pitfalls to Avoid
1. Never use Fun and Games as a substitute for “Real” Team Building
One would think that after an economic upheaval, organizations would recognize the importance of focusing on the bottom line. Unfortunately, despite the economic havoc wreaked by COVID-19, bad team building practices have continued. Team building and team recreation both have a place on the corporate agenda but one is not a substitute for the other.
Instead of focusing on the business challenges they face and tapping into the creative genius of team members to generate innovative solutions, some companies are drinking themselves to death with virtual cocktail parties, Others are literally fiddling while Rome burns. Is providing ukulele lessons via Zoom really the mission of a corporate entity?
Will employees thank executives who sign off on these initiatives when the organization’s underlying challenges remain unresolved and they have to lay off people? Think Wework and its summer camp.
Remember, you can’t party or play your way out of a pandemic or bounce back from its economic fallout through fun and games.
- Improving business results by enhancing team cohesiveness and performance.
A facilitator guides teams through the predictable phases of team development. The goal is to help the team generate solutions, make decisions, resolve issues, strategize, plan, foster innovation, and execute initiatives smoothly
- Team recreation gets team members out of the office to relax or celebrate success.
Team building can include recreational components but a recreational activity by itself is not a substitute for team building.
Team Building Blog Post
2. Don’t Scrap Team Building
When a new CEO is presented with financial statements indicating spending on frivolous activities with no bottom-line impact, team building and team recreation both get scrapped.
When organizations experience the impact of economic upheavals like COVID-19, it’s important to tap into the collective genius of employees and generate up fresh ideas and strategies. Expertly facilitated team building is an excellent vehicle for fostering innovation.
It can also breakdown silos, improve cross-functional team building, and contribute to smooth implementation of corporate initiatives.
Scrapping team building in the midst of turbulence is a serious misstep. Even when there are budget constraints, companies can trim their team building budget by doing all or part of the sessions virtually, delivering parts of the session on-site or postponing the recreational components. These can be used as part of a follow-up session or as a celebration when performance improves.
Anne Thornley-Brown, MBA, the founder and President of Executive Oasis International, has spearheaded management development initiatives for 2 major Canadian corporations. For over 20 years, she has shaped the direction of The Training Oasis, Inc. and its sister company Executive Oasis International. Anne has also been interviewed and featured in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, the National Post, Profit Magazine, Successful Meetings, Smart Meetings, and numerous other publications. In addition to designing and faciltating programmes for companies from 18 countries, she is a well respected blogger. She has blogged for Plan Your Meetings by MPI, The Huffington Post, Event Manager Blog, Cvent Blog, EventMobi Blog, and Elite Meetings, to name a few. For over 8 years, she managed the Event Planning and Event Management group on LinkedIn. As the group grew from 4,000 to 350,000+ members, I launched 18 related groups and recruited, trained, and managed the leadership team.