There is a significant difference between doing a couple of team building exercises in your conference room and getting assistance from professionals. While Bob from accounting can be an engaging character, he is not a trained expert who can get real team building results. If you want to get measurable results with your team building efforts, then you need to utilize a professional agency that knows how to set up and administer effective exercises.
But how do you measure the effectiveness of team building? Is there a way that you can actually determine the value of your investment? When you understand team building and break it down into its component parts, then you can see just how easy it is to measure its effectiveness.
What Is Team Building?
Team building is the process of developing bonds between co-workers that allow them to work more efficiently together. A professional team building organization will make it look like your employees are playing games, but each of those games is designed to strengthen the ability of your employees to work together and be more productive.
A good program helps your employees to think more coherently as a team and feel emotionally invested in the success of the company and each other. This does not necessarily mean that your employees will all like each other on a personal level after going through this sort of experience, but it does mean that your employees will respect each other more and realize just how their personal success is tied to the success of the rest of the staff.
A Team Building Program: In Order To Measure Success
If you go to a casino and play the slots, it may seem like you are winning a lot while having a great time. When you walk out of the casino, you may have $200 in your wallet and you feel great. But since you did not check to see how much money you started with, then you have no idea if you actually made money or not.
To properly measure the success of a team building session, you need to have a plan and baseline metrics. A good plan focuses in on any issues you would like to address with all of your employees, or with one department specifically. The team building professionals you decide to work with can help you to target your needs and develop an effective plan.
As for your baseline metrics, you may already have those and just not realize it. For example, if you know that your shipping department processes and ships 20 orders per hour and your goal is to increase that production, then use that as the baseline to measure the effectiveness of your team building program. Your goals always need to be in line with your baseline metrics if you want to get accurate measurements.
Measure Your Results In Stages
One of the biggest misconceptions about team building is that it is a one-time investment that should show immediate and long-lasting results. The truth is that team building is an ongoing investment that can show some immediate results, but the true measurement of the success of any program is in the sustained results that you get.
The initial benefits of these types of programs can be a sudden burst of enthusiasm and a potentially dramatic rise in productivity. But you should not get concerned if those numbers start to fall off within a few days, because that is also normal. When you measure the effectiveness of team building, it should be measured in stages to get accurate results.
Stage One – The Initial Push
When your employees get back to the office the first workday after completing a team building program, there will be a lot of positive energy floating around that could result in a dramatic boost in productivity. At this stage, you may see a drastic difference between your baseline metrics and the numbers you are recording on this first business day back to work. While these numbers may not initially be sustainable, it is still nice to see immediate returns on your investment.
Stage Two – Settling Into A Groove
Your employees will go through that first week with the momentum created by the team building experience, but they will settle into a groove by the beginning of the second week. At that point, you can get a better idea as to how much improvement you have received from the team building exercise and how much return you are getting on your investment.
Stage Three – Sustaining The Momentum
A month after the team building exercise is when you take your final readings to see how much sustainable productivity the experience has generated. This is where you can determine how much more team building your employees need to reach the ultimate goal you created when you first put your plan together.
We have quantified the effectiveness of a team building exercise by showing you how to establish a baseline metric and then comparing that baseline to various stages of development after the exercise. Since team building is an ongoing activity, those stage three results after the first session are an indicator of what is to come. If you like what you see after stage three, then imagine how much better things will be when team building has become a part of your corporate culture.
Measuring Financial Returns
After your team building exercise, your shipping department increases its productivity to 24 orders per hour, which would be a daily increase of 32 orders. If your average profit per order is $10, then you just increased profitability by $320 per day, or approximately $1,600 per month. More profit is always good, but you will need to keep investing in team building if you want to sustain and grow these results.
Track Your Results
A good metrics system has a starting point and creates a graph that shows the progress that has been made. After a few team building sessions, you will start to see your stage two results maintaining themselves and not falling off. That is when you know that your employees and your company are benefiting from the team building experience.
Expand Out To The Rest Of Your Company
If your shipping department is bringing in $1,600 more in profit each month thanks to team building, then where else can you see results that will push your company forward? Would strengthening the team bonds on the sales group push sales higher? As you see success with each department within your company, it becomes very easy to see why so many growing companies are utilizing professional team building organizations to increase revenue.
Team Building Is An Investment
Team building is an investment and measuring its effectiveness allows you to put a price tag on just how much of a return you are getting. You should never get involved in a team building program without a clear objective in mind which includes measuring the financial returns that your company achieves.
When you work with a professional team building organization, you will see what looks like a lot of unorthodox ways to create corporate unity. As a business owner or manager, the only way to really judge those team building methods is by the results they generate.
By investing in regular team building exercises, you will see a rise in employee morale as your staff will start to look forward to these experiences. Even the rise in morale is a measurable result as you start to see a sharp decline in expensive employee turnover. Your other result will be the increase in overall employee productivity, which makes your company more profitable. In the end, happy employees and more profit are always good investments to make.
Guest Article by Kevin Grant