Can you sense it? We’re just days away from the official start of Spring, and there’s a magnified sense of hope and renewal in the air. The Vida Aventura team is bursting at the seams, ready to get back to anything resembling “normalcy,” although as I’ve discussed before, things will look very different.
Having said that, for organization development teams, there is an abundance of opportunities that will bring fresh energy and positive growth to employees and leaders through creative team building activities and sessions. And without a doubt, it’s more important than ever to make team building and collaboration a top priority. I have ideas.
Virtual vs. In-Person Training
I was recently discussing 2021 plans with a client who is an organization development director, and asked how she felt at the moment about in-person training. She said, “While we will continue taking advantage of the cost-savings and ease of virtual training, there’s nothing that beats what can happen in person.” She went on to say a hybrid approach is definitely on the table.
There’s no doubt in-person training is optimum. For instance, studies have shown that learner engagement is higher than in virtual learning. There are more learning touch points, and the power of social interaction cannot be underestimated.
On the other hand, virtual training has opened up a whole world of new possibilities, making it easier to reach a broad audience effectively. For instance, one of my latest training sessions included participants from across the U.S. as well as the United Kingdom. New technology and video conferencing resources have evolved rapidly, and organizations will continue to take advantage of them.
What About Both?
According to results of The Ken Blanchard Companies® 2021 HR/L&D Trends Survey, team building and collaboration ranked first in the top five areas of focus specifically for training delivery. The remaining four, in order, are coaching, leading teams, communication and leading virtually. In addition, “In looking ahead to the time when face-to-face options become available again, respondents expect to use in-person and virtual instructor-led training equally.”
Training Considerations for 2021
In terms of in-person training, we have to keep in mind the comfort level of participants and what will feel safest to them. Social distanced training can be incredibly effective, but we have to put more consideration into things like group size, event space, air flow, and how to creatively keep people safely distanced. I am increasingly scheduling in-person events, using some of the following suggestions.
1. Modify old-school activities. For example, instead of small groups brainstorming and huddling around a flip chart, let’s put our individual thoughts on post-it notes and take turns placing them on that same chart. Also, an increased use of microphones help amplify voices through the layer of masks. There are effective, creative and simple solutions to group activities that maintain all the benefits of in-person interaction but with sensible and safe modifications.
2. Get outdoors. Because getting together outside is once again an option, it’s the perfect time of year for teams to consider what type of in-person team building they want to do, and plan accordingly. Although, as many clients and friends have heard me say time and time again, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing choices.” In fact, I met outdoors with one of my clients – an executive leadership team – for most of last year, right up until October. We bundled up and made it work until the winter months set in.
3. Games, games, and more games. Playing games allows participants to have fun, get active and work toward common goals, which are all powerful team building tools. Some of my favorites:
- Strategic activities – activities that allow teams to problem solve together and foster team camaraderie
- Themed games – think Hunger Games, Minute to Win It, or team relays
- CSR events – dog house building, putting for pantries, and food packing events
- Team development – like DISC, Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, and emotional intelligence
- Mindfulness and stress reduction – mindfulness activities like yoga and meditation that reduce stress, overwhelm and overwork
4. Have it both ways. As you plan and schedule your 2021 team building and leadership activities, consider implementing both in-person and virtual activities. For example, teams can meet virtually for activity prep and follow-up sessions, but gather together outside for the main event.
Spring 2021 and warmer temperatures, along with COVID-19 vaccinations and evolving safety guidelines, are opening up creative new ways for teams and leaders to reconnect, engage and grow. Don’t know where to start? Give us a call – we have ideas.