Go ahead and admit it: the last time your boss or colleague planned a team building event for your company, you probably rolled your eyes and thought, “Oh no … not another one.”
I get that. Throughout my career, I have listened to so many horror stories from clients about good-intentioned (but often awkward) corporate lunches, outings and retreats. They’re often described as boring, pointless, embarrassing … or huge wastes of time.
But this is why I love my job – because when otherwise skeptic participants experience one of my team building events, they walk away with a whole new perspective (and personal insight, to boot). This is especially true when I lead programs that also include a component of corporate social responsibility.
Corporate social responsibility team building
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is basically the notion that not only should a business create good quality products or services, but it should also contribute in a positive way to its community, whether it be locally, regionally or globally.
When I combine my team building activities with CSR, not only do participants grow individually and as a group (which improves productivity and performance), they also experience an added sense of pride and satisfaction as their efforts directly benefit a group or organization. In addition, I carefully customize the team building experience to address specific needs of a group or organization.
Examples of CSR activities
Most recently, I spent an afternoon with a team at Nature Valley Ranch in Brownsburg, Ind., and our whole objective was to build and paint custom dog houses. The final creations were then donated to Pals for Paws, a dog rescue group in Kokomo, Ind. Not only was it an amazing day filled with inspiration, it was an opportunity to make a difference in the local community.
Teams were provided with tools and materials to construct, sand and paint a standard dog house that was “pooch ready.” But they had to collaborate and rely on each other in order to complete the task. There were lots of laughs, plenty of noise, and a whole lot of bonding going on.
This type of event has grown in popularity over recent years, and building dog houses is just one example in the range of CSR team building activities and programs available. A few of the events that I can personally organize and facilitate include:
- Bike building for kids
- Mini-golf can food drives
- Bear building – donated to charity
- Dog house building
- Neighborhood cleanup scavenger hunts
- Care packages for soldiers overseas
- Dollhouse building – donated to underprivileged girls
- Team cook-off’s to make meals for the needy
- Habitat for Humanity Building
- Neighborhood restoration projects
Benefits of CSR team building
I often tell clients that CSR team building is a win, win, win situation. How? Because companies get to combine their philanthropic passion and company mission with the power of teams! And the end result is that everyone – the community, company and teams – win! This doesn’t even include the major impact on the company bottom line and the fulfillment that comes with knowing they’ve made a difference in the lives of others.
But don’t just take my word for it. Industry leaders and corporate executives have recognized the value of CSR for years. As Garratt Hasenstab, Director of Sustainability at the Verdigris Group, said in a Forbes article, “We believe that setting a good example is the greatest benefit in that we inspire other organizations, companies and individuals to ‘up their game’ when it comes to social and environmental responsibility, which in turn encourages further inspiration in the community leading to a more enlightened perspective on how to run ones business or lead one’s life.”
Share your stories
No matter what your team goals are, the combination of CSR and team building activities is a powerful punch! Have you been involved in a positive team building experience that included CSR? I’d love to hear about it. What worked, and what would you have done differently? Please share your stories here!