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How to organize a successful team building?

At the call from „Feniks HR“, an association of psychology students, we held a lecture by the name „How to organize a successful team building?“ at the Zagreb Student Centre.

TBH predavac pojašnjenje team buildinga
Lecture at the SC Zagreb

The beginning of the lecture started by presenting Grga, Feđa and Alen, who found themselves in the roles of lecturers for this occasion. As the most experienced one, Grga was the first one to start, briefly talking about his history in extreme sports which were soon wanted by numerous foreign corporations to be turned into their team building programs. Along with the appearance of HR divisions, team building started to evolve, so with time, special programs were created which had the goal to achieve what team building is today – improving of interpersonal relationships and raising the work quality within the team.

Next up was Feđa, who described his experience how he found this place in this business, followed by a moment of „positive insanity“ when he quit a secure job in Phillip Morris and started to work first with performers, followed by event management.

Through the years, both of them have profiled their expertise, each in his respectable area – Grga as a specialist for day activities and team building and Feđa as a master of evening and themed events. They decided it was time to bring their partnership to the next level and so Team Building Croatia was born.

Team Building Croatia is recognizable by it’s programs that connect both day and evening activities, and to check if they know what team building really means, we asked our dear students. Immediately we got a very good and precise answer and we were glad to see they came prepared for this lecture.

So, what is team building?

Although today everything is considered to be a “team building”, whether you go on a field trip, or have a drink after work with your colleagues, Grga was the one to explain the difference. The kind of socializing mentioned above is actually “team bonding”, while the real and expert team building is narrowly specialized with specifically prepared activities that have the ultimate goal of improving the work quality within a team.
After a short picture presentation from various events and team buildings we organized so far, it was time for questions. The questions were really good, and we selected a few:

Where do you get the ideas? Do you create them by yourself or do clients already come with a pre-determined theme?

Most of the time we have to create and invent new programs and ideas ourselves so we would stay competitive and versatile on the market. Sometimes the clients give us the selected theme on which we have to create a whole concept. For example, that was the case when we created Miami Vice and Orient Express programs.

How many times can you “recycle” a theme, or in other words, how many times can you repeat the same theme?

The answer to this question depends on the group we are working for. As Croatia is turning out to be more and more desirable destination for congress tourism, for various groups that come from abroad we can repeat the same program without any problems, keeping in mind that we can adjust every program according to the size of the group.

On the other hand, when we talk about event management or team buildings for the same client, we encounter more difficulties because every year we have to be innovative with new content. Eventually, after several years we can repeat a certain theme, when we see on the group sample what they liked best. Exception are some clients that want the same every year because that kind of a program became traditional for them, for example – employee sports meetings.

How flexible do you have to be with your plans, whether due to bad weather or any other problems?

Most of the time we get a set time for team building activities from our clients. Most of the time it is understood that activities are done outdoors and during a nice weather but we always have to be prepared with an alternative option in case of a bad weather. It is interesting how often the possibility of bad weather is not taken into consideration, and that is why we have to be ready for it and every other “what if?”. Also we have to know the full extent of possibilities of our suppliers, from transport, hotel and technical service.

How can employees in HR divisions, who are among other things also payed to organize a team building, explain to their superiors that it is better to hire an agency to organize a team building?

In the shortest way possible, the premise we use is an old saying: “Mamma knows her child best”. In other words, it is better to let the professionals that know how to do the job, and do it well. It is a common opinion and misconception that working with an agency will be more expensive, when the reality is that most of the time sit will actually be cheaper. The reason for it is that we constantly collaborate with our suppliers and in that kind of relationship we can get much lower prices than market value, so we can easily adapt to our clients budget.

I really liked the fact that they explained to us team building from a different perspective and that in the end we were able to try out for ourselves what the implementation of these activities looked like.