What is Corporate Team Building?

Daphne Mallory

Corporate team building has as its focus the motivation and productivity of workers. There is often a correlation between effective team building and increased profits, which is why corporations are usually motivated to include team building activities in employee training and retention programs. Team building should not be confused with teamwork, which is broader in its scope. Teamwork consists of employees working together to achieve the objectives of the corporation; effective team building facilitates teamwork.

Companies sometimes send employees on team-building retreats.
Companies sometimes send employees on team-building retreats.

The goals of corporate team building are often to promote collaboration, to improve cooperation between team members, and to develop trust. Without team building, employees often feel a stronger need to compete against each other, rather than work together. The result can be an "every man for himself" attitude, rather than a desire to work together to make the corporation successful. Corporations that do well financially and socially can often attribute the success in part to a strong team, built over time.

Team building puzzles may help people find new ways to work together.
Team building puzzles may help people find new ways to work together.

Some experts and professionals who make a living working to build corporate teams have observed that corporate team building occurs in four stages: initial stage, processing, normalizing, and performing. In the first three stages, team members learn to trust one another and work together until members become effective in solving general problems together. In the performing stage, the team is motivated and productive enough to work together to accomplish specific goals and objectives. The role of the team builder is to move team members through each state and to make the team a high performing one. It often takes years to navigate each of these stages, which can be impacted by employees who leave the corporation or the addition of new employees or a new team builder.

Effective team building can facilitate on-site teamwork.
Effective team building can facilitate on-site teamwork.

A change in attitude is not the only result of corporate team building. Teams often produce better results, because of the combined efforts and accountability. The ideas produced by a team are often superior to ones produced by sole individuals, making it appealing to many managers. It can also produce more effective management, because it is easier for team builders to provide support to a group working together on the same goals. Managers are able to save time and solve problems faster when corporate team building is emphasized in the workplace.

Communication is key to corporate team building, and without the skills of the team members and team builder, the team often falls apart. A process should be established early on to allow members to voice concerns and share openly with other team members as well as with managers. This is often a good way to avoid unnecessary problems.

Some companies include extreme sports like paintball during a team-building workshop.
Some companies include extreme sports like paintball during a team-building workshop.

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