No matter how much time and effort you put into a team building event, it will only produce the desired results when everybody takes part. The problem is that many team building events focus on specific activities that can leave certain people feeling uncomfortable or even left out. This is particularly true if you have employees who are physically or mentally handicapped. Staging a friendly game of volleyball is hardly the way to win over an employee who is confined to a wheelchair. Equally as counter-intuitive is having team trivia where any mentally handicapped employees are made to feel self-conscious. The key is to make sure everyone feels included and important. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that this happens.
Have Employees Present Their Hobbies
One way to encourage full participation in a team building event is to base that event on the people themselves. Creating a hobby presentation day will enable everyone to bring something to work that they do in their spare time. Every employee will have something that they do in their free time, so no one will be made to feel left out. Even if an employee spends their time sitting on the sofa playing video games, they can participate. Simply have them bring in their game console and hook it up to a TV on site, and they are center stage. An event that allows people to show what they already do will serve to give them a certain sense of empowerment. By showing others how to do what they can do, any employee, no matter their position, will be in control of the moment. This goes a long way to building up a person’s sense of self-worth.
Create Various Activities within the Event
Another trick to increasing participation is to offer multiple activities in a given team building event. For example, if you opt to have a sports event, also incorporate other activities such as board games, crafts or other such non-physical alternatives. This will encourage people to gravitate to what they feel most comfortable with. Additionally, this will enable people with like interests to interact and form stronger bonds. The key is to be all inclusive. Not everyone will have the same interests or abilities, thus, finding single activities that will work for everyone is not always going to be possible. Therefore, the best thing to do is to embrace diversity by offering a diversity of activities to choose from. At the end of the event, you can stage a trophy ceremony where participants from each activity can be recognized for their achievements in that activity.
Get Employees to Arrange their Own Event
Perhaps the best solution to getting everyone involved in a team building event is to actually get them involved in the planning of the event itself. One of the biggest problems faced by supervisors setting up these events is in knowing what everyone will actually want to do. Rather than consulting a crystal ball or tossing a coin, the best solution is to actually get them to tell you. By encouraging employees to write down ideas, or to check off the options they prefer, you not only make the decision making process far easier, but you also begin the team building before the team building event actually takes place. The fact that employees are asked for their opinion will make them feel more significant than if they are simply going along for the ride.