02 Aug 2022 . 9 min read

How to incentive Employee Engagement through Team Building

What is Employee Engagement?

There are several definitions a few clicks away, and although not all of them use the same words, most agree that employee engagement involves a natural commitment and loyalty from employees towards their team, the organisation and its goals. There’s an emotional component in employee engagement, which makes it more comprehensive than employee happiness and satisfaction.

Although there’s not necessarily a linear correlation between engagement and productivity, it seems obvious that a company with engaged employees will be at a better starting point to achieve its goals

So keeping this in mind, it’s important to identify the key drivers and find the ways to incentive employee engagement. Some factors to consider are the employee wellness and recognition, the brand alignment to their values, and taking care of the workplace culture and environment. And team building plays a crucial role in this!


Remote working and Employee Engagement

In the past, most companies thought about team building just as a fun activity, and an occasion to get together out of the office and spend a good time with colleagues. But after the years of pandemic and lockdowns, and with many companies implementing nowadays a hybrid working setup, there’s a common goal for all teams: the need to reconnect.

Many companies and managers made great efforts to keep the motivation and team spirit high while everyone was working from home, but the lack of contact became a challenge in the long term. There even are many colleagues who don’t know each other personally, and new teams that were formed recently who never experienced a face-to-face dynamic. So team building can help in the process of seeing each other again and regaining lost contact.

There are different points of view about how remote working affects employee engagement.  In some cases, employees might value the flexibility and freedom of working at home, saving the time they used to spend commuting, and having a positive effect on their engagement with the company. But at the same time, losing the face-to-face and daily dynamics that comes with sharing a common working space makes it really difficult to avoid the risk of a progressive disconnection. And this can impact negatively on employee engagement. 

A recent study about work organisation trends in Belgium post-Covid showed that interactions with our immediate team, or close networks, increased with remote work, while our interactions outside of that team, the broader, cross departemental and cross team networks have diminished. 

Either if it’s working remotely, going back to the office, or in a mixed format, it seems important to identify the employee needs and the values they appreciate, and act accordingly. Basically, it’s about considering the human factor, and taking care of people. This will make everyone happier in the workplace, positively affecting employee engagement. And here’s where the benefits of Team Building come into place.


How can Team Building help boost Employee Engagement

There are several initiatives that can help incentive employee engagement. Sharing a common goal, showing recognition for achievements, and giving responsibility and flexibility to carry them out, are just some of the actions that can contribute to the overall objective of boosting employee engagement, and Team Building can be a great ally to achieve them.

There are a few long-term strategies that successful companies have implemented to keep employees engaged through Team Building. 

Some of them opt for a higher frequency of smaller team building activities, which can have a more lasting effect on team motivation, keeping the spirits up and stable, instead of aiming at one big event that can produce a big peak, which can be difficult to maintain afterwards. 

Other companies make a plan towards a big event, involving all the company members in tasks that will build a common goal. This can give a sense of reward to everyone, and the commitment can increase when people feel that things are earned rather than just given. This is what TERO is organising for the Group’s annual Team Building event in May. Before it takes place, there’s a common target of adding together a total of 1744 km (this is the Belgium+Luxembourg loop, which represents the countries where the Group operates) tracking and computing the distance covered by all employees when travelling to work by bike, public transport, or just walking! The idea is to encourage soft mobility in a playful way and transform it in a common goal, reducing everyone’s impact on the environment. If this objective is successful, it provides pride and a feeling of having earned the upcoming teambuilding. It becomes a reward and a commitment booster at the same time.

In this case, the engagement is not only boosted by sharing a common goal, but also by showing an alignment between the company values and the employees values. There’s a trend shown in a PwC workforce preference study that suggests that the company profile and the actual purpose of its activities gained importance in terms of preferences among employees, and that employers that were identified as being active in a critical sector become more preferred. 

There are several Positive Impact Team Building activities, such as the River clean-up and the Beach clean-up, which can help in reflecting a company image in which employees can feel identified, strengthening their engagement.


The best Team Building activity types to incentive Employee Engagement

The type of team building activities that companies go for to reinforce employee commitment are those in which the teams have to work together towards a common goal, and the results wouldn’t be the same without everyone’s input. The usual responsibilities and work roles can be changed, emphasising the fact that each team member is important to the group, and crucial to make it work.

Another popular team building activities to strengthen team bonds are the ones where the usual hierarchy is dissolved and everybody is put on the same level, showing that no matter their position in day to day work, everyone can take the leadership role when it comes to helping the team overcome a challenge. A clear example for this are activities in which all the team members are dressed up in the same uniform or costume.

Finally, more siloed companies tend to opt for activities which help rebuild or boost intra-team or inter-team relationships by sharing fun challenges, so teammates can get to know each other better, or new collaborations can be born if teams get mixed during the activity.

participants posing with surfboards at the waterfront during the Water Games


Final tips to boost Employee Engagement through Team Building

In conclusion, we can talk about engagement when there are not only happy and motivated employees, but when they also are committed and identified with the company’s mission, values and goals.

And team building can be a great ally to show recognition towards employees, and help achieve this identification. As a summary, let’s list some key factors that we suggest taking into account to help boost employee engagement through team building:

  • Organise activities in which there’s a common goal (as in Lumberjack).
  • Encourage situations in which the usual hierarchy disappears (as in Step out of your comfort zone).
  • Keep a higher frequency of team building activities, to keep the team motivation up and stable.
  • Choose goals that are aligned with what employees value, in order to strengthen their identification with the company and its mission.
  • Set up small objectives that can be accomplished during day-to-day, building up towards a big common goal.

Contact us, and we will help you set up a strategy and organise the ideal team building activities and events to boost employee engagement in your company!