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Team Building for Small Businesses

SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED

Guest blog by Michaela Hardwick

When it comes to employees giving their very best, you may or may not be surprised to hear, they rarely mention salaries and levels of pay – the majority of employees simply want to be listened to and feel valued!

This is an area where small businesses can be far more responsive and proactive than their larger and more bureaucratic competitors.  But, can you say with certainty that your most valuable assets, namely your people, are fully motivated and feel that they make a real contribution to your business?

A very cost effective and practical way for small businesses to motivate staff can be through coaching and team building sessions.  Why? Because they send a clear message of value to employees, give everyone an opportunity to be heard and actively engage with the business, whilst in turn enabling the organisation to find out what really motivates and de-motivates their staff – you will rarely find out just by asking!

According to a study by OPP workplace psychologists, almost a third of employees have never experienced any kind of team building and yet only 11% would rather have a day off work than engage in a team building exercise!  The interest is definitely there!

However, it is only when team building and coaching events are properly planned and delivered that they can have dramatic effects on motivation and productivity of employees.  (And remember, that increased productivity means increased profit!).  The most successful ones are those that create long term solutions for a business, by engaging team members in an entertaining and memorable way.

If you would like to find out more about how such team building events could work for you and your business, then give me a call on: 0121 288 6002

Michaela Hardwick of Beyond Expectation is an experienced Business Development and Performance Coach who works with businesses of all shapes and sizes nationally, delivering 1-2-1 and team coaching in packages tailored to suit each different client.

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  1. Anil Amrit says:

    Interesting post.

    In my past experience in various studios I have come across a lot of ‘Ronin’ type characters (Ronin definition: master less warriors).

    The type of people who want it all their way, can’t share ideas, don’t like to share the workload/project and get stressed very easily.

    I ran a studio for a large corporate company a few years ago and always booked a weekend every 3 months on an army assault course and survival techniques. If we had a really tough period, we’d go paint-balling.

    We would never talk about work and just really enjoy the weekend being yourself. It helps so much that never once did I have any issues with stressed, unproductive, negative staff.

    Recommended if budgets and time permits.

    Oh, also…. I think Michaela is ACE! … highly recommended

    • Kay Heald says:

      Thanks Anil – glad to hear you’ve had some very positive experiences of team building. I love the way that Michaela can develop just the right team building or coaching session for all her very different clients – there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – very refreshing!

      • Emma Mellor says:

        I have had a few different jobs with various size companies over the years and would whole-heartedly agree that team building is an excellent way for motivating staff.

        The big companies I have worked for were very driven by numbers and performance but did little to encourage staff to integrate and feel valued.

        The company I work for now is fantastic at involving it’s staff in making decisions and building strong working relationships. The only place at which I draw a line is if someone tries to get me involved in role-play!

        • Kay Heald says:

          Emma – good to hear you’re with a people-focused business – and yes, I’m sure Michaela will back me up on this, when I say that not all team building involves role play! However, when I have gone out of my comfort zone in the past and taken part in role plays, I have always learnt a great deal from my co-role players – shocking but true!

  2. Interesting article Michaela, having worked in large companies where Team Building was a metaphor for humiliation and bullying by heads of dept, so I cringe when I hear the phrase.

    Working together effectively requires much consideration and kindness and you are right ‘it is only when team building and coaching events are properly planned and delivered that they can have dramatic effects on motivation and productivity of employees. ‘

    My feeling is that it is essential for co-working and team-working that employees feel happy, listened to and comfortable as well as challenged in their job.

    • Kay Heald says:

      Carla – it’s such a shame that so many good techniques get a bad name through misuse. I, personally, think ‘listening’ is one of the most underused and undervalued skills in business.

  3. Jan Minihane says:

    Excellent post Michaela – couldn’t agree more that team building events are one way to make employees feel more valued – when employees feel more like an employee number as opposed to a valued individual the staff turnover rate goes ok. Invest in your staff and you reap the long term benefits.

  4. Anil Amrit says:

    I do agree with Carla’s first paragraph, I have experience one occasion when one very difficult individual I once worked with was used as a humiliation ‘tool’ by a department head who used the exercise to get his own back and then laughed about it amongst others and in front of him. Not good.

    From my experiences, the best team building coaches are the ones who aren’t connected to the company attending the session as they tend to see everyone as an equal and lays out an even playing field for all.

    Cue Michaela ….

  5. Thanks all for some great comments.

    Yes Kay, I do agree with Emma that people focus businesses are more likely to succeed in the long term – people are a businesses biggest asset by far and properly supported and motivated, they can take a business from strength to strength.

    I would also reinforce Kay’s comments that’s it’s most definitely not all about role play! Many people think of team building as the outdoor stuff throwing yourself around or some form of humiliation. That type of coaching may be ideal for some teams but certainly doesn’t fit all. It’s hugely important to work with the business and team to work out the best type of event/coaching/activity. Some of the most effective is very simple team coaching, creating a comfortable environment for them to express and debate ideas in a non-judgmental and facilitated way. This almost always results in some amazing ideas for team and business growth and creates a deeper understanding within the team.

    Thanks again for the great comments and keep them coming!

  6. Hi Michaela…

    Excellent reminder to us all that corporate team building events are so important not to be only handled correctly, but that a corporation should hold these events at all.

    A happy team is a productive team and corporate structure these days can make the employees down the ladder feel left out and unimportant whereas in reality they are part of the well oiled machine.

    Giving staff a sense of being part of the corporation and the knowledge that they not only are important but can contribute to the management side by side has to be an invaluable force to any company!

    Great article.

    Tim

  7. Great article Michaela, it really strips things back to basics; a company’s most valuable assets are indeed its employees and this can often get forgotten in the sole drive to increase reputation and profits.

    Employees feel empowered and valued to be asked for their opinions on the running of the business for which they work, and even more than that, simply to have their opinions listened to. In that way, it becomes not only a job that an employee has to do, but one that the employee can take pride in, and as an employer, you will see the benefits of a happy and motivated workforce reflected on the balance sheet!

  8. Many thanks Charlotte.

    Great comments from someone who is clearly feeling valued and empowered as an employee – well done Bennett’s Legal!

13 responses to “Team Building for Small Businesses”

  1. Anil Amrit says:

    Interesting post.

    In my past experience in various studios I have come across a lot of ‘Ronin’ type characters (Ronin definition: master less warriors).

    The type of people who want it all their way, can’t share ideas, don’t like to share the workload/project and get stressed very easily.

    I ran a studio for a large corporate company a few years ago and always booked a weekend every 3 months on an army assault course and survival techniques. If we had a really tough period, we’d go paint-balling.

    We would never talk about work and just really enjoy the weekend being yourself. It helps so much that never once did I have any issues with stressed, unproductive, negative staff.

    Recommended if budgets and time permits.

    Oh, also…. I think Michaela is ACE! … highly recommended

    • Kay Heald says:

      Thanks Anil – glad to hear you’ve had some very positive experiences of team building. I love the way that Michaela can develop just the right team building or coaching session for all her very different clients – there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – very refreshing!

      • Emma Mellor says:

        I have had a few different jobs with various size companies over the years and would whole-heartedly agree that team building is an excellent way for motivating staff.

        The big companies I have worked for were very driven by numbers and performance but did little to encourage staff to integrate and feel valued.

        The company I work for now is fantastic at involving it’s staff in making decisions and building strong working relationships. The only place at which I draw a line is if someone tries to get me involved in role-play!

        • Kay Heald says:

          Emma – good to hear you’re with a people-focused business – and yes, I’m sure Michaela will back me up on this, when I say that not all team building involves role play! However, when I have gone out of my comfort zone in the past and taken part in role plays, I have always learnt a great deal from my co-role players – shocking but true!

  2. Interesting article Michaela, having worked in large companies where Team Building was a metaphor for humiliation and bullying by heads of dept, so I cringe when I hear the phrase.

    Working together effectively requires much consideration and kindness and you are right ‘it is only when team building and coaching events are properly planned and delivered that they can have dramatic effects on motivation and productivity of employees. ‘

    My feeling is that it is essential for co-working and team-working that employees feel happy, listened to and comfortable as well as challenged in their job.

    • Kay Heald says:

      Carla – it’s such a shame that so many good techniques get a bad name through misuse. I, personally, think ‘listening’ is one of the most underused and undervalued skills in business.

  3. Jan Minihane says:

    Excellent post Michaela – couldn’t agree more that team building events are one way to make employees feel more valued – when employees feel more like an employee number as opposed to a valued individual the staff turnover rate goes ok. Invest in your staff and you reap the long term benefits.

  4. Anil Amrit says:

    I do agree with Carla’s first paragraph, I have experience one occasion when one very difficult individual I once worked with was used as a humiliation ‘tool’ by a department head who used the exercise to get his own back and then laughed about it amongst others and in front of him. Not good.

    From my experiences, the best team building coaches are the ones who aren’t connected to the company attending the session as they tend to see everyone as an equal and lays out an even playing field for all.

    Cue Michaela ….

  5. Thanks all for some great comments.

    Yes Kay, I do agree with Emma that people focus businesses are more likely to succeed in the long term – people are a businesses biggest asset by far and properly supported and motivated, they can take a business from strength to strength.

    I would also reinforce Kay’s comments that’s it’s most definitely not all about role play! Many people think of team building as the outdoor stuff throwing yourself around or some form of humiliation. That type of coaching may be ideal for some teams but certainly doesn’t fit all. It’s hugely important to work with the business and team to work out the best type of event/coaching/activity. Some of the most effective is very simple team coaching, creating a comfortable environment for them to express and debate ideas in a non-judgmental and facilitated way. This almost always results in some amazing ideas for team and business growth and creates a deeper understanding within the team.

    Thanks again for the great comments and keep them coming!

  6. Hi Michaela…

    Excellent reminder to us all that corporate team building events are so important not to be only handled correctly, but that a corporation should hold these events at all.

    A happy team is a productive team and corporate structure these days can make the employees down the ladder feel left out and unimportant whereas in reality they are part of the well oiled machine.

    Giving staff a sense of being part of the corporation and the knowledge that they not only are important but can contribute to the management side by side has to be an invaluable force to any company!

    Great article.

    Tim

  7. Great article Michaela, it really strips things back to basics; a company’s most valuable assets are indeed its employees and this can often get forgotten in the sole drive to increase reputation and profits.

    Employees feel empowered and valued to be asked for their opinions on the running of the business for which they work, and even more than that, simply to have their opinions listened to. In that way, it becomes not only a job that an employee has to do, but one that the employee can take pride in, and as an employer, you will see the benefits of a happy and motivated workforce reflected on the balance sheet!

  8. Many thanks Charlotte.

    Great comments from someone who is clearly feeling valued and empowered as an employee – well done Bennett’s Legal!