Collaboration is a key part of how many businesses and organizations operate, with individuals sharing their skills and knowledge to complete mutually beneficial tasks. At its best, team building can have far-reaching positive results. However, the process of encouraging team building can be costly and ineffective when business leaders fail to perform it properly.
Improved communication is a positive result of a successful team-building program. Workers who learn to efficiently complete shared tasks in a controlled setting are better able to communicate with accuracy on the job. This extends not only to verbal communication but also to recognizing one another's needs and limitations. Strong communicators have a chance to move into team leadership positions where they can help others synthesize and share information. Team building can also cause employees to be more patient with one another, decreasing the risk of misunderstandings.
The net result of team building that most businesses hope for is enhanced efficiency. When team members are able to remain focused on group goals and rely on one another's strengths to compensate for weaknesses or areas that need improvement, they can complete tasks more quickly and professionally. Team building can also increase morale be removing personal barriers that exist before team-building exercises or education, which leads to greater productivity from individual members and the team as a whole.
Cost is among the biggest drawbacks of corporate team building. Monetary costs vary based on the type of team building in question, but can range from just under $100 per person for outdoor excursions to large fees for seminars hosted by noted public speakers. Team building also carries the cost of time spent away from work-related tasks, as well as the need for follow-up to ensure that the team-building programs are achieving their goals.
Team building can also have unintended consequences that hurt a business's bottom line. For employees who have specific skills that prove valuable for their jobs but don't translate well into a social environment, team building may prove ineffective and actually harm interaction among participants. For example, an employee with highly technical knowledge who completes most tasks individually will have an unfair disadvantage in a team-building exercise that includes workers who interact with one another on a regular basis.
In other cases, workers who undergo team-building training together may develop inappropriate social relationships that distract them from their work or lead to an overly casual, unprofessional attitude in the workplace. Team leaders are responsible for ensuring that any team-building efforts remain focused on business goals and that employees maintain an attitude of respect toward other participants.