Business meetings at year end or at the beginning of the new year are ideal opportunities to take stock of where the company has been, express appreciation to a team for all of their hard work and chart your course for the challenges that lie ahead. However, this is also when employees take personal time, so the pool of available attendees may shrink. Additionally, budgeted resources may be reduced or re-allocated, according to corporate need.
This is when team building companies have to be especially creative in their presentation. Luckily, many team building programs are scalable, so with healthy enough budget, small groups can have the same programs as large groups. Be prepared for a significantly higher per person price.
Programs that work equally well with small and large groups include:
- Business team building simulations with outdoor challenges like Survivor inspired team building that can be conducted in a variety of terrains around the world including snow, wilderness, desert, mountain, beach, and jungle in Malaysia or Latin America.
- The Quest for Black Gold.
- Pearl diving or sunken treasure diving simulation.
- Team building with business related or charity projects like Visexcutaries apprentice inspired team building.
- Cooking team building simulations like Restaurant Inc.
When budgets are limited, it presents a number of challenges as preparation, set-up and facilitation time do not decline appreciably with group size. To stretch your budget:
Stay close to home so that participants can go home at night.
If you are worried about interruptions:
- Use a meeting room at another company location
- Switch with a supplier and let them use one of your meeting rooms for their team building.
- See if there are any last minute specials at event venues near your office.
- Use a private room at a local restaurant during slow season or slower hours.
- Use a room at a local library, Government office, college, or church
- Do the outdoor activities during a half day block at a conservation area, park or summer camp during off-season.
Use the home of an executive. (I once facilitated an entire team building retreat for 8 executives at a home the CEO had up for sale.)
- Go with an off-the shelf program.
- Ask the team building firm if they have an hourly consulting rate.
- Get the team building consulting firm to design the program for you and facilitate it internally.
- Forego customization of handouts.
Cap team building at 1 - 1/2 days and select a program that works realistically within that timeframe.
Don't make the timeframe half a day or less as most short programs are scaled for groups of 200 or more.
- Start after lunch on day 1 and end before lunch on day 2.
The following programs will work well for small teams with tight budgets:
- Inc. Inc. team or Construction Inc. building simulations
- The Cash Flow Game
- Urban safari with mystery shopping and client interviews.
- The Toy Factory, the Puzzle Factory or Gingerbread House Factory.
- Cooking team building with an out of the box theme like a tea room or Danish open faced sandwiches.
For more tips, also read Team Building: Trimming Your Budget Without Reducing Results and 15 Sure-fire Strategies for Stretching Your Meeting Budget.
Photo Credits: Team Building, Executive Oasis International