Bond better: inspirational team building

Four team members with their hands reaching up together to celebrate their inspirational team building

There’s no ‘I’ in team, as the saying goes. To really get the most out of your team, every member needs to feel they are united in achieving common goals – not just their own. Learning the art of inspirational team-building can mean the difference between a lackluster team motivated by their own wants and needs, and a team getting joy out of their work and kicking company goals while they’re at it.

Bringing a team together and inspiring employees to thrive is more important than ever. The combination of tighter budgets, and the rising tide of employees seeking more meaningful work means team leaders need to get creative if they want their top talent to happily stay on board.

But what’s the real difference between team building and inspirational team-building? Let’s find out.

Table of contents
What is inspirational team building?
Why is inspirational team building so important?
The benefits of inspirational team-building
How team bonding benefits wellbeing
How to facilitate team-building activities
Inspirational team-building ideas

What is inspirational team building?

Team building refers to activities or exercises designed to enhance collaboration, communication, and trust within a team. These activities are typically aimed at improving relationships, resolving conflicts, and boosting overall productivity. While traditional team-building activities are valuable, inspirational team-building takes things a big step further.

Inspirational team-building goes beyond mere collaboration, and focuses on creating an environment that empowers people to reach their full potential. It aims to inspire and motivate team members by fostering a sense of purpose, encouraging innovation, and instilling a shared vision. And we don’t mean encouraging team members to drink the Kool-Aid and believe in a company vision that isn’t authentic. To retain and motivate employees, companies are having to humanize the workplace1, and work towards a purpose that goes beyond making a profit for high-earning top execs and shareholders.

Inspirational team-building activities challenge individuals to step out of their comfort zones, develop leadership skills, and unleash their creativity. By creating the conditions for personal fulfillment and opportunities for personal growth, individuals are far more likely to be open to committing to the team’s common goals– and staying loyal to the company in the mid- to long-term.

Fingerprint for Success (F4S), a cutting-edge performance and collaboration platform, makes it easy to pinpoint what motivates individual members of your team, and the kind of leadership style that will bring out the best in them. Getting started is simple. Have each team member take the free F4S assessment, see their results side by side, and tailor your approach from there.

Using a data-driven strategy takes the guesswork out of building a coherent team, and makes it easier to plan team-bonding activities that do more than just take people away from their desks.

F4S dashboard shows team motivations on a ranking scale
F4S team dashboard

Why is inspirational team building so important?

Putting the effort into building a close-knit team – using inspirational rather than ho-hum team-building techniques – is essential for organizations looking to achieve sustainable success. Here are just some reasons why inspirational team building should be a top priority.

  1. Fosters stronger bonds: Encouraging open communication and collaboration between team members builds trust, highlights each person's strengths, and encourages the concept of working together towards common goals. This enhances team cohesiveness, leading to improved performance and increased job satisfaction.
  1. Boosts motivation: Inspirational team building activities have a direct impact on employee motivation. When individuals are inspired, they become more engaged and committed to their work. Feeling inspired can fuel creativity, innovation, and a desire to excel, resulting in higher levels of productivity and overall team performance.
  1. Enhances communication and collaboration: Fun and goal-oriented activities provide opportunities for team members to develop communication and collaboration skills, making them better at exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge, and working together. The benefits keep on coming, because when these skills are developed, it improves problem-solving skills, creative thinking, decision-making confidence, and synergy within the team.
  1. Develops leadership skills: Inspirational team-building activities empower individuals to become leaders within their teams. When people are encouraged to take initiative, make decisions, and motivate others, it soon becomes clear who the future leaders are likely to be within an organization. Often, many team members themselves are surprised to discover their leadership potential during team-bonding exercises – and what could be more motivating than that? Productivity within the team can’t help but tick up.

The benefits of inspirational team-building

Investing in inspirational team-building initiatives yields numerous benefits for organizations. Some of the key advantages include:

Increased employee engagement: When team members are inspired and motivated, they become more engaged in their work. This leads to higher levels of job satisfaction and retention rates.2 Engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile, contribute innovative ideas, and take ownership of their roles, ultimately driving organizational success.

Improved problem solving and innovation: Inspirational team-building activities encourage people to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and embrace innovation. By fostering a culture of creativity, these activities enhance problem-solving skills, enabling teams to find unique solutions to complex challenges. This kind of adaptability and creativity are essential in today's rapidly evolving business landscape.

Enhanced team productivity: A team that works well together is naturally more productive. Inspirational team-building activities improve communication, collaboration, and trust, leading to better teamwork and increased productivity. When team members feel connected, valued, and inspired, they are more likely to support each other, share knowledge, and work towards common goals3.

Stronger organizational culture: Inspirational team-building activities contribute to the development of a positive organizational culture.4  When employees feel inspired, supported, and motivated, they are more likely to embrace an organization's values and goals. This creates a strong sense of unity, shared purpose, and a positive work environment.

How team bonding benefits wellbeing

Teams that play together are more likely to stay together – and team members’ mental health improves along the way. Here are some key wellbeing advantages of inspirational team-bonding activities:

Boosts happiness: Inspirational team-bonding activities create a positive and supportive environment that contributes to improved mental health. Engaging in activities that inspire, motivate, and uplift team members can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall wellbeing.

Neutralizes negativity: Even the most cynical team members will find they’re enjoying themselves during team-building activities, and there’s likely to be a positive flow-on effect.

Increases job satisfaction: When team members feel inspired and connected to their work and colleagues, job satisfaction increases. Inspirational team-bonding activities foster a sense of purpose, engagement, and fulfillment, leading to higher levels of satisfaction with their roles and the organization.

Fosters a collectivist culture: Staff members are less likely to jump ship when a ‘better’ opportunity arises if they feel they share the same broad values and goals as management. Team building is a great way to communicate your own values and goals, and creates a more collectivist culture.

Strengthens social connections: Inspirational team-bonding activities provide opportunities for team members to connect on a deeper level. They encourage open communication, empathy, and understanding among team members, fostering strong social bonds and a sense of belonging.

Improves work-life balance: Team-bonding activities that focus on wellbeing and inspiration help employees strike a healthier work-life balance.5 Who couldn’t do with a little more of that? Fostering a positive and supportive work environment means team members are more likely to prioritize self-care, and find balance in their personal and professional lives.

Reduces stress and burnout: Inspirational team bonding activities can act as a buffer against burnout and stress. When individuals feel inspired, motivated, and connected to others in their team, they are better equipped to manage work-related pressures, ward off burnout, and maintain a healthier work-life equilibrium.

Encourages personal growth: Ideally, an inspirational activity for employees involves personal development, self-reflection and goal setting. Engaging in such activities can inspire team members to pursue growth opportunities, develop new skills, and challenge themselves. This fosters personal growth, self-confidence and a sense of achievement.

Increases resilience: When people feel supported by their entire team, they are better able to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to change, and overcome challenges. This resilience contributes to their overall sense of wellbeing and ability to thrive in the face of adversity. Team-bonding activities are gold when it comes to building relationships!

Enhances collaboration and teamwork: Fostering interpersonal relationships, building trust, and encouraging open communication means team members are more likely to work together effectively, share ideas and support one another.6 This collaborative environment contributes to a healthier and more productive work atmosphere. It also becomes much harder to feel negative towards a fellow team member when you’ve shared a laugh and worked together outside the office towards a common goal. As humans, once we see that others are a lot like ourselves, it bridges the divide, and we more easily build relationships.

Promotes self-reflection and mindfulness: Some of the best team-building activities encourage team members to reflect on their values, goals, and strengths. This increased self-awareness promotes mindfulness and supports the overall wellbeing of team members.

Increases motivation and productivity: When people feel inspired and connected to their work and colleagues, they are more likely to approach their tasks with enthusiasm, higher levels of creativity, and a sense of purpose. This heightened motivation contributes to accelerated productivity, efficiency and overall team performance.7

How to facilitate team-building activities

Getting to know your team members before you start will ensure you get the most out of a team-bonding event, and your company will reap the rewards. Using people analytics and quantifiable insights, Fingerprint for Success helps managers and leaders tailor their leadership style and learn how to better understand, motivate and communicate with their teams. When it comes to building a successful team, having a sense of how team members think, act and communicate makes it far easier to take on a facilitator role.

Accelerate understanding between teams

Breadth

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Motivated by macro big picture thinking, these teammates value moving quickly to connect dots between abstract ideas to 'get the gist' of things.

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Depth

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These teammates value being concrete and specific, getting into details to understand the steps or tasks required.

Chart showing rage from Average, High and Ver High.

See the different work styles in your team

Take the free assessment & set up your team

Also ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve with your team collaboration exercise.9 Are you aiming to improve employee morale? Promote more effective teamwork or lift employee engagement? Do you want to improve job satisfaction stats at review time, develop mutual trust within the team, or foster out-of-the-box thinking? Are there any known conflicts within team members? It might be the perfect opportunity to pair the two people together to break down barriers.

Is there a team member who is overly competitive in the workplace, and too focused on personal gain? A team-building session that requires both individual commitment and collaboration by all involved to meet a shared goal could be the key (a couple hours in an escape room together, perhaps?) Does the team need a morale boost or clarity on where the company is headed? Tailor the activities with the desired outcomes in mind.

Keep in mind that the more interactive a team-building event is, whether in-person or remote, and whether your team is made up mostly of introverts or extroverts, the more fun people are likely to have together – especially if taking part is voluntary.

The F4S people analytics tools allows you to assess your team’s culture based on how their individual preferences intersect or diverge. Being able to see where your team’s interests and motivations align is a shortcut to creating energy, enjoyment, and flow within the group on team-building day.

Be sure to ask for feedback both during the day and afterwards. Just like employees have the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals within a team, so too do you as their team leader!

Inspirational team-building ideas

Whether your entire team works face-to-face, in a hybrid capacity, or is fully remote – and no matter how small or big the team is – there’s no reason you can’t bring your team together effectively! The trick is to choose fun activities they genuinely want to do (rather than feigning enthusiasm when really, they’d rather be at home watching TV).

Just be cautious about making a team-building activity compulsory. A University of Sydney study found that many employees resent having to take part in team bonding exercises, seeing them as a waste of time and even intrusive.8 The study found that team-building activities that focused on the sharing of personal information were particularly off-putting.

Keep that in mind when coming up with ideas for your own team before charging ahead. And take the time to understand your team’s unique culture. One person’s idea of fun may be viewed as a chore by another.

Remote team-building activities

Fun is the name of the game when coming up with online team-building activities. Get started with one of these ideas, and put your own spin on it.

Virtual team-building games: Engage in online team-building games and challenges, such as virtual escape rooms or trivia contests. These activities promote team cohesion, develop problem-solving and creative-thinking skills, and encourage friendly competition.

Virtual wellness sessions: Guided meditation, yoga, or fitness classes can easily be done online, but to really make it enjoyable, what about salsa or tap dancing? With the right teacher leading the class, these fun team-building activities are not just hilarious, but the feel-good endorphins will be flowing in no time with all that exercise. Emphasize that people don’t need to be great dancers to participate, but they do need to keep their cameras on!

Virtual scavenger hunt: Have team members race around their homes collecting various items. Just make sure the prize for winning this simple game is worthwhile to add a little extra motivation – a gift certificate or movie voucher, for example.

Take your team to Paris: Sign up for a team-building experience with Woyago, and your team members will soon be taking a live virtual bike ride through Paris. Hosted by two guides – one leading the games and entertainment live from their bike, and the other sharing Paris – this activity is designed to have your team relax, have a laugh, and come together. When teams at Netflix, PayPal, Apple and even Chanel are taking part in virtual team-building activities like these, you know you’re onto something good.

Pick the lie: Have each team member tell two stories from their past – one true and one made up. Then get the other team members to guess which one is the falsehood. A fun game like this is a great one for having a laugh while getting to know each other better.

Storytelling: Provide the first few sentences in a story, then have each team member add a couple of their own. Each sentence they add has to begin with the word ‘suddenly’ to ensure the story moves along at pace.

Need more  team-building ideas your remote team will actually enjoy? Download the F4S team-building guide.

If you want to ensure you bond and boost team communication, the F4S Zoom integration can help. Team members can add their communication preferences which show up as emojis on their screen.

Discover the communication style of your meeting attendees
Get F4S for Zoom

In-person team-building activities:

Outdoor adventures: Organize a team-building retreat involving outdoor adventures such as hiking, rafting, ziplining, or rock climbing. These activities challenge people to push past their boundaries, overcome fears, and develop trust and camaraderie.

Creative activities: An African drumming workshop isn’t just fun, it’s therapeutic. Regardless of how much musical talent each team member has, with a good teacher to guide you, drumming rhythms are easy to pick up, and the sound of drumming in unison can’t help but get endorphins flowing. Simple cooking or painting classes can also be a great idea, especially if they can sip on a drink or two while they’re doing it.

Volunteer work: Engage in community service activities as a team. Participating in charitable initiatives fosters a sense of purpose, empathy, and social responsibility among team members. Preparing meals for the homeless, sleeping rough for a night to raise money, or painting or cleaning for charities that provide shelter or learning opportunities to those in need are all amazing ways to make a difference in the world – and within your own team.

Competitive activities: Nothing fires up a team-building day like a little competition. Go-kart racing can be a good choice. No prior experience is required, and it’s accessible to most (races that involve running, on the other hand, can be difficult for older or less mobile team members).

Choose activities that all team members will be able to take part in.

Team-building workshops: Interactive workshops focused on personal development, leadership, and team dynamics could include activities such as trust-building exercises, problem-solving challenges, and communication-skills training.

Get your team-building activities off to a great start by understanding how your team ticks

Take the free assessment, and get your team members to do the same. Use the data-driven insights you receive to help your team reach new heights.

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  1. (2016) ‘Building a Meaningful Employee Experience’. Available at The Purpose Economy. https://purposeeconomy.com/workplaces-1
  2. ‘How do I calculate retention? Is retention related to turnover?’ Available at SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-qa/pages/calculatingretentionandturnover.aspx
  3. (2021) ‘The Importance of Team Productivity and Strategies to Improve Performance’. Available at Velocity Global. https://velocityglobal.com/resources/blog/team-productivity/
  4. Kohll, A. (2018) ‘How To Build A Positive Company Culture’. Available at Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2018/08/14/how-to-build-a-positive-company-culture/?sh=50fa06e549b5
  5. ‘Work-life Balance’. Available at Health Direct. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/work-life-balance
  6. ‘How to Improve Teamwork and Collaboration in the Workplace’. Available at Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/278225/how-to-improve-teamwork.aspx
  7. Martins, J. (2020) ‘9 Ways to Improve Your Team’s Efficiency at Work’. Available at Asana. https://asana.com/resources/ways-improve-team-efficiency-work
  8. (2021) ‘Benefits of Team Building Exercises Jeopardised if Not Truly Voluntary’. Available at The University of Sydney. https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2021/02/25/benefits-of-team-building-exercises-jeopardised-if-not-truly-vol.html
  9. ‘Team Building Exercises and Activities’. Available at Mind Tools. https://www.mindtools.com/akp37i0/team-building-exercises-and-activities
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