Top tips to improve your next team building event

Team building
Team Building: two words that can spark fear and dread. But, as our expert reveals, when it’s done in the right way, it can be a hugely effective tool to improve team dynamics, boost morale and increase engagement...

“Your biggest asset is your people. If you’re failing to engage them from the get-go, they will go to work for someone that can,” says Ryan Galloway.

He is the Head of Sales for Wildgoose, which works with organisations of all shapes and sizes, from Nike and Samsung through to the public sector, delivering around 2,000 events every year, many of which are designed to improve employee engagement and team dynamics. They include networking events and problem-solving activities.

Ryan adds, “There will always be issues within companies and an amount of education that needs to happen from trainees up to the C-Suite. How do you address them? Where do you start? How do you solve them? They are not always easy questions to answer.”

For anyone looking to plan a team event, he says “the question I always start with is ‘Why?’

“Why do you want to do this? What are your objectives? What do you want to achieve? Once those questions have been answered, we can provide a bespoke solution or something that is off the shelf which is built around training. Or we simply get everyone together to have a bit of fun.”

Here, Ryan talks about the different ways you can deliver a team event along with some real-life case studies...

1. Make the most of your surroundings

“You can hire a space anywhere,” says Ryan, “but if you’re using a building like 116 Pall Mall, then it’s so much more than a space. It’s a historic location. For somewhere like this, we would create a Venue Explorer. 

“The way we engage people around a location is that you want to know fun facts by using our creative team and use of technology to fully immerse them using gamification, videos, photos and fun trivia, so that people learn while they play.”

Using 116 Pall Mall, as an example, it could be the fact that King George IV donated a 15ft Regency chandelier to commemorate victory in the Battle of Waterloo. That chandelier still forms a centrepiece above the main staircase. Or that Café Duke has served as a filming location for blockbuster Batman movie The Dark Knight and the award-winning TV drama Downton Abbey.

Ryan adds, “If you’re going to spend money on hiring a unique space, you want to make the most of it, so use those historical facts and stats to create a day that people will remember.

“Ultimately, a lot of this comes down to good storytelling. The clients will remember those little titbits associated with the venue. In turn, they could tell them to their colleagues and friends and it serves to promote the venue. We are very good at telling a story.”

Read more about The History of 116 Pall Mall

2. Networking with a Difference

Women in Events (W.IN.E) is a networking group for women in New York operating in the event industry. Their ethos of networking is very different from most groups as they have a no name badge policy and believe that real connections are made when people are sharing relevant experiences. 

Wildgoose was asked to create an engaging networking activity, which would embrace all of their values and create an experience that would help women improve their contacts within their industry.

Playing on the W.IN.E. acronym, Wildgoose decided to call the activity the ‘Wild Wine Hunt’. Each team would receive an iPad with a unique set of locations to visit. Once the team had completed all the tasks, the secret finish location was revealed, and the wine was served.

This activity provided a perfect solution for the networking event. Barriers were immediately broken down and connections happened naturally, whilst everyone was having a great deal of fun! Social media sharing throughout meant that the event had a live online presence, and partnering companies didn’t just feel like sponsors, but felt truly engaged with their target audience. 

3. Match the Event to the Business

Wildgoose worked with Samsung to deliver a two-hour team event called ‘Spy School’ at King’s Place in King’s Cross and utilised Samsung’s own tablet devices at the venue.

There was a vast range of challenges and activities with something for everyone. But the highlight for all was by far the ‘immersive theatre’ element of the event, requiring teams to work out cryptic clues in order to interact with varying members of staff. 

For example, locating a barman and giving the password “Shaken Not Stirred” granted them the Martini bottle label they needed to scan as an Image Recognition trigger to reveal bonus challenges.

The mix of ‘immersive’ interaction and Image Recognition was a real winner for this tech-savvy bunch.

4.  The ‘Tech Solution’

“Everyone wants a new tech solution but they don’t know what that means. You don’t want tech for the sake of tech,” says Ryan.

“But to give one example, TUI is one of our clients and they’ve been buying, refurbishing and launching cruise ships. They will have around 800 people who sell that ship, so we need to get them around it, understand it, know the key selling points and so on. It used to take them three days to do this because they would do tours of only 10 people at a time. 

“We can now deliver this in a day, or even an afternoon, because it’s all on the iPads. We will create video challenges around the ship to help ensure that everyone is engaged and entertained but also, crucially, it still gets them learning and fulfils TUI’s objectives.” 

5. Measuring Success

Events can be the most effective way of simply bringing together people who see each other every day but very rarely engage in a conversation. But they can also help a business to fulfil other key objectives.

Ryan explains, ‘People often talk about ROI and how do you prove that? We will ask questions through our app before, during and after an event. 

“So, we could do a corporate challenge. Within that, we could create an audit around topics in the workplace, such as inclusion and diversity. The answers that people give can reveal how much your team is taking in and how engaged they are.

“At the end of every event, our technology creates a comprehensive report on how it was used, in terms of how people performed and we can follow up with the client and present the findings which could lead to more training.”

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The IoD Academy is 116 Pall Mall’s purpose built, state-of-the-art training facility. This space on our third floor includes two flexible training suites, coaching rooms, audio-visual equipment, a separate reception, breakout areas, private access via our stunning refurbished lift, alongside a refuelling station and barista bar.

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