Employee activity month: energize and motivate staff with team building games
Some may argue that the workplace is no place for fun and games. However, games that focus on team building, communication, leadership, trust, efficiency, fairness, cooperation and crisis management, can have a significant positive impact on a business environment. Managers have an opportunity to energize and motivate their staff with workplace games, challenges and by implementing inspirational, rewarding programs such as an employee activity month.
Have you ever attended a meeting or event that was opened with an ice-breaker activity? This is the concept behind employee games, contests, incentive gifts and activities that enable people to meet and interact in the context of solving a problem in a fun, stress free environment.
A recent, popular trend for many companies and organizations is the implementation of an employee activity month. One month out of the year, businesses are making time to engage their employees in weekly or daily team building activities. These employee activity programs are helping managers to understand that communication, cooperation and organization are some of the most fundamental aspects of work force motivation.
Are you interested in planning an employee activity month for your company or organization? Peruse your local book store for materials on games, activities, challenges and incentives. Three excellent and simple examples of activities to include in an employee activity month are listed below.
- Road Map Game – This game can be played with multiple groups or teams. Provide each team with a map, of the state you live in, of the whole country, or of a specific area, but give each team an identical map. Provide the teams with pencils, calculators and paper. Instruct the teams to plan a trip, working within certain parameters you define. Provide each team with a list of items they can bring along, a financial budget, type of vehicle, size of gas tank, price of gas, start and finish destinations, and a list of places they must visit en-route. Any group that runs out of gas or money will be disqualified. Award teams who accomplished the most with what they had.
- The Rope Knot Game – The only item needed for this game is a long piece of rope. Tie one overhand knot in the rope for each person in the group. Space the knots about two feet apart. Instruct the group members to select a knot along the rope and stand next to it, on either side of the rope. Tell them to grab the rope – with one hand – on either side of the knot they have selected. Now challenge the group to use only their free hands to untie all of the knots, without letting go of the rope, or moving the hand that is on the rope. The knots represent challenges or problems that the team needs to work out.
- Turning Letters Into Words – Divide your group of employees into teams, and give each team the same number of 3 x 5 index cards. Ask them to divide the cards evenly among their group members. Provide each person with a marker and ask them to write down any five letters of the alphabet on the cards (one letter per card) without showing these letters to any other members of their team. After this is completed, have each team put their cards into a pile. Set a time limit (5-10 minutes) and challenge the teams to use their letter cards to spell as many words as possible, using each card only once. You may give points based on how many words they create, or extra points for longer words, etc.
Remember, at the conclusion of all games make it a point to discuss with your employees the learning experiences gained from these activities. What were the pros and cons? What were the biggest challenges? How do they feel about the teams they have been a part of? What have they learned about their colleagues, and about themselves?
Obtaining feedback from employees is a critical part of fine-tuning the employee activity month program. Some managers may wish to provide awards, trophies, certificates, or other incentives to enhance the team building experience and encourage employee participation in the activities.