Startup Team-Building Activities That Teach Vital Skills
When you’re building up your startup team, the most important thing is to hire the right people. There are essential roles you need to fill, and it’s important to do so with candidates who are not only qualified , but who also fit in with the kind of company you want to build.
Even if that breaks down to an idea as general as hiring energetic self-starters who value creativity and ambition, it’s important to stick to a general team-building plan.
Even if you do an impeccable job of hiring your initial startup team though, you’ll need to work to bond and grow together as a group. Much of this process will happen naturally on the job; striving to get a company off the ground can be stressful, but it can also strengthen relationships fairly organically. At some point though, you’ll likely want to consider looking into some specific team-building activities as well.
This is where a lot of business leaders fall short, or take a lazy approach. The typical, cliché team- building options tend to be stale, unexciting, and often ineffective. But we have a simple suggestion that will help startup founders and other company leaders to get around this issue: Seek out team-building activities that are also mean to teach vital skills that will help in the workplace. When you focus on this kind of effort, you’re likely to come up with more substantial and constructive ideas.
We also have a few suggestions that may help get you started.
Escape rooms have been all the rage for several years now, to the point that they can rightly be called some of the fastest-growing forms of recreation in the United States. According to one pre-pandemic look at the rise of escape rooms in fact, the number of facilities in this category grew from 22 in 2014 to just under 2,000 by the summer of 2017. The number continued to grow from there, and though the escape room industry essentially had to pause in 2020 — like most everything else — there’s no reason to believe the sensation won’t simply resume.
All of that indicates that escape room outings will be popular options among employees. Most everyone can find a way to enjoy this sort of experience, and that simple factor — enjoyment — can make for effective team-building. In addition to giving the team something fun to do together though, escape rooms also demand teamwork. By nature, they force people to work together, combine intellects, and conduct team problem solving. So by visiting one of these facilities now and then, you’re not just building a team socially. You’re also helping the group to really practice teamwork together.
Poker may not be an activity everyone on the team is interested in initially. But it’s easy enough to pick up, and it makes for a fun group activity provided no one’s taking it too seriously. Setting up a game once or twice a week quickly helps to foster a sense of shared experience and camaraderie. Yes, the game involves direct competition against one another (whereas escape rooms are all about teamwork), but there’s value in simply sitting down together to play a game.
As to why we’d pick this game instead of, say, Monopoly or Clue, it simply boils down to the fact that there are individual benefits as well. It’s commonly acknowledged that there are skills to be learned from poker, and they just so happen to be excellent skills for people in budding startups to learn! The game demands resilience and a positive outlook, and teaches people to learn from their own mistakes — all things that can translate well to a working environment. Perhaps best of all though, poker teaches the value of emotional intelligence. Players quickly come to understand that the emotional highs and lows of the game are fleeting, and that each new hand — like each new task at work — should be approached with calm and a level head.
Pub trivia may actually be the trendiest suggestion on our list, once the pandemic is behind us. We say this because in the past year there have been numerous stories written about employers turning to trivia as a means of getting their teams to socialize and bond over distance. Zoom and other programs made it easy for teams to organize and compete in trivia competitions, and at the height of the pandemic this really represented one of the few opportunities for social connection a lot of people had!
This could well lead to a wave of enthusiasm for real-world trivia events, which clearly make for excellent team bonding experiences. However, trivia also builds important skills, almost like a combination of the two suggestions listed above. Like escape rooms, trivia forces team members to work together to find answers, or hash out quick arguments about competing answers. And like poker, a good trivia game teaches participants to get over losses, learn from mistakes, and compete with a constructive, rational approach. All of these skills can come in handy for teams and individuals alike.