What team building trends are on the horizon for 2023?
For the past 10 years, our annual Team Building Trends Report has been by far our most popular content. In 2023, team building trends will be impacted by three primary drivers:
- The strategies companies around the world use as they attempt to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic
- The forecasted global recession
- The continued challenge of balancing the needs of hybrid and virtual teams
Clear objectives and expertly facilitated team building can help organizations address these challenges and thrive even in the midst of turbulence.
“Staff getaways are becoming more popular in the remote-work era, and doing them right requires rigorous planning.”
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7 Team Building Trends for 2023
2023 Team Building Trends: Best Practices
- Team building that pays for itself.
- Outdoor Facilitated Team Building Simulations.
- Hybrid and virtual team building.
- The gradual return of executive retreats.
2023 Team Building Trends: Team Building Pitfalls
- Unclear objectives or NO objectives
- Fun and games as a short-sighted replacement for team building.
- Confusion: A meeting + a corporate event ≠ team building.
2023 Team Building Trends: Best Practices for 2023
1. Team building that pays for itself
Some of the most powerful team building equips team members with a shared suite of tools and engages them in planning revenue-generating initiatives like guerilla marketing, pop-up events, wild posting, viral video campaigns, and charity events.
Example: Visexecutaries: Seizing Opportunities in our Shifting Corporate Landscape
It really doesn’t take much to create a guerrilla marketing event. Nor does it require a huge budget. All it takes is a little bit of imagination
Gonzales (a division of Serviceplan Benelux) created a local market stunt in Antwerp metro for the Belgian “choose happiness” campaign of The Coca-Cola Company based on the theme “happiness starts with a smile.”
2. Outdoor Team Building Simulations
Your team has been cooped up for the better part of two years. They will welcome the opportunity to get outdoors and participate in energizing team challenges that reflect the themes of our facilitated business exercises.
- Wilderness Survival Team Building
- Winter Team Building
- Mountain Team Building
- The Quest for Black Gold
- Desert Survival Team Building
- Island Survival Team Building
3. Hybrid and virtual team building.
To improve the effectiveness of hybrid and virtual teams, leveraging technology can provide tremendous benefits. Whether you select Zoom, Second Life, or MeetinVR, an interactive approach will ensure that team members remain engaged rather than “Zoomed out” by staring at a screen full of faces.
Most of our business team building simulations can be offered on virtually or in a hybrid format. To give your team strategies to bounce back from COVID-19 and thrive during the forecasted global recession, consider:
- Virtual Team Building: Lemons to Lemonade: Squeezing Opportunities out of Adversity When Business Goes Sour
4. The gradual return of executive retreats.
“Retreats have long been a part of corporate life, but now companies are turning to them to build bonds among employees in a post-Covid world. As companies embrace Zoom meetings and remote work, lavish retreats are one way to foster corporate culture when people don’t see each other regularly. And they can help entice workers to stay when more people are jumping jobs.”
Source: Wall Street Journal
Now that most destinations have removed or reduced COVID-19 meeting and travel restrictions, there is pent-up demand for executive retreats and off-sites. This has created an increased demand for resorts, hotels, and other venues.
Leisure travellers who have not ventured to hotels and resorts during lockdowns now have healthier budgets to splurge on luxury resorts. Be sure to book well in advance to ensure you can have your preferred dates and venues. In fact, it is best not to lock in your dates until we have an opportunity to check availability for you.
2033 Team Building Trends: Team Building Pitfalls to Avoid in 2023
Unfortunately, all team building trends aren’t positive or conducive to building effective teams. Just as in previous years, flavour of the month will continue to derail team building effectiveness.
As in previous years, some corporate leaders will continue to emphasize corporate play days and recreational activities instead of giving their teams the tools and strategies to deal with organizational challenges. This misstep is usually followed by massive layoffs. We are already starting to see layoffs by companies that neglected organizational and team health and opted for fun and games.
5. Unclear objectives or NO objectives.
Often, when the team member staffed with sourcing team building contacts our company, they are unable to answer the questions:
- What precipitated the request for team building?
- What are your objectives for team building?
They don’t have a clue because the sponsoring executive has not briefed them. They also are clueless about the budget that has been allocated. When this happens, their recommendation is based on what sounds like the most “fun” with little or no consideration of what will improve team effectiveness or generate bottom-line results.
6. Fun and games as a short-sighted replacement for team building.
We have been sounding the alarm about this for years. Yet, many corporate leaders simply aren’t paying attention. We continue to see the proliferation of fluffy activities like Escape rooms, axe throwing, goat yoga, and virtual happy hours as a replacement for team building.
There is nothing wrong with corporate events or recreation but, if this is the focus without addressing a business’ fundamental challenges, it’s like fiddling while Rome is burning. A flavour-of-the-month approach will never equip team members with the tools and strategies they need to foster innovation, work effectively together, and boost your bottom line.
Facilitated team building that delivers bottom-line results can be fun. There is a place for team recreation on the corporate agenda but it should never be used as a replacement for team building.
Use team recreation to celebrate your success, mark and celebrate special occasions, reward top performers, and express appreciation to your top clients.
7. Confusion: Believing a meeting + a corporate event = team building.
As we emerge from the pandemic, this trend that we highlighted a few years ago has become more prevalent. You can’t park team members in a meeting room and drone on and boring presentations and then think a social we’ll make up for it.
Instead, aim to make team building sessions interactive and engaging. Once you’ve equipped team members with new tools and strategies involve them in exercises and a meeting to generate solutions to the challenges your organization is facing
When you’ve achieved your objectives, plan a corporate event to celebrate or reward your top performers.
Remember: No one is going to thank you if you party like it’s 1999 and splurge on corporate play days, followed by massive lay-offs.
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.