You found our guide to team building programs.
Team building programs are agendas that help you organize your team building days or team building retreats. More broadly, team building programs describe the process of forming and strengthening teams within an organization, but the term most commonly refers to a schedule of focused team events.
These programs often include a mix of indoor team building activities, outdoor team activities, team building games and team building exercises.
This article includes:
- How do you develop a team building program?
- What does a team building program look like?
- Team building program checklist
Let’s do this.
How do you develop a team building program?
Below you will find the most important steps to creating a clean and effective team building agenda.
1. Establish your timeframe
The first step in forming a team development program is to determine your timeframe, be it a half day, full day, weekend, or even a full week. By knowing how much time you have to work with, you can better plan and organize your activities.
Learn more about planning team building days.
2. Fill in the main events first
Once you know how much time you can devote to your event, you can prioritize your most important activities, such as a group discussion on organizational obstacles, a keynote speaker, or a trust-building exercise like a story-sharing circle. Because the purpose of the day is group development, starting your design process with team building activities is a good idea.
3. Plan openers, closers, and icebreakers
You should start each day with brief opening remarks or a short icebreaker activity, and end each day with a summary and reflection. For simple group warmups, you can check out our list of the best icebreaker questions.
4. Form your teams
You will need to devise a team building strategy for breaking your group down into smaller teams for games and activities. You may choose to keep the same groups throughout the whole program, or shuffle attendees into new groups for each activity. Your approach depends on whether the main goal of your event is to strengthen departmental bonds or increase camaraderie within the organization at large.
To save time, you may want to split groups beforehand, so that participants can divide into teams more quickly. For example, perhaps a number or sticker on the name tag designates the attendee’s team.
5. Remember meals, snacks, and breaks
Your employees are more than team building machines. Your crew needs time to rest and rejuvenate between exercises. Scheduling short breaks throughout the day boosts group attention, motivation, and satisfaction and allows attendees to recharge and refocus, maximizing the impact of your activities.
6. Finish and distribute your program
When you finalize your schedule, you can print copies and share with your support staff. The day of your event, you can share the program with all attendees.
Though print is the standard for most programs, you may also consider posting the agenda on a website, email, app, or a combination of online storage options so that participants can access the schedule on many devices.
To save paper and time, you could also create a QR code with a tool like QR Code Generator so that employees can scan the program onto smartphones while checking in at the registration table.
What does a team building program look like?
We made a sample program so that you can understand the flow of an average team building event day.
Participants will gather, check-in, receive nametags and programs. Light refreshments will be available.
|9:15 AM||Opening remarks
The Chief Operations Officer and Head of Human Resources will give an overview of the agenda, explain the importance of the day, and outline what they hope to achieve through these activities.
Attendees will participate in a short large group icebreaker activity.
|9:45 AM||Team Building Activity #1: Our Mission
Leaders will split the group into teams of five to ten, and assign each team a company value. (Different teams can have the same value.) Each team will brainstorm an initiative that centers around the assigned value.
Employees should seek to answer the questions: How can we best embody our company values? How can we better serve the organization’s mission?
Teams will have 45 minutes to work on the plan, followed by 30 minutes for group presentation.
|11 AM||Keynote Speaker: Translating Team Talk
Acclaimed author Mikayla Scott draws on her bestselling book, That is Not What She Said! to teach communication strategies that foster teamwork across gender, cultural, and personality divides.
Lunch will be buffet-style. To encourage mingling, leaders will pass out an optional Team Building Bingo card that attendees can choose to complete and turn in for a prize.
|1 PM||Team Building Games
The group will split into small teams and compete in team building games that sharpen communication and critical thinking skills.
|2 PM||Team Building Activity #2: Tea vs. Coffee
Tea vs. Coffee is a break and a team building exercise all in one. A host will lead teams through a group meditation and beverage-tasting session that teaches stress management and establishes common ground.
|3:30 PM||Breakout sessions
Attendees will divide into role-specific groups for focused-sessions that tackle position-specific competencies and encourage departmental bonding.
|4:30 PM||Reflection and closing remarks
The group will reconvene to share lessons and reflections with the group. Managers will distribute a voluntary survey to solicit feedback. The head of human resources will provide final remarks that include suggestions for how to incorporate the day’s lesson into the normal workday routine.
Attendees are free to leave. There will, however, be an optional team happy hour with complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres, along with light entertainment.
Your team building schedule may vary, especially if you host a multi-day event. Yet it is advisable to start and end each day with a structured introductory and closing exercise, and to allow for breaks throughout the day.
Team building program checklist
We created this handy checklist so that you remember all the essentials when crafting your own team building agenda.
Your team building schedule might not include every item on this list, but this guide outlines the basic elements of team days. Of course, you can also add activities such as town halls, executive updates, networking sessions, additional activities, and unstructured time. Depending on your time, resources, and the temperament of your teams, you can prepare as sparse or jam-packed a schedule as you wish. We merely created this post as a guide so that you can structure your day more efficiently.
Here are more team building worksheets and a guide on how to do a team building plan.
Team building programs not only help you organize and facilitate your group days, but a schedule also informs participants of the order of events. Participants might grow restless or fidgety if left in the dark about the plan, but with a program in hand, guests can anticipate the agenda and be more present in the current exercise.
For more resources, you can check out our article on team building examples, team building tips, this list of corporate retreat ideas and these team building elements at work.
We also have a guide to team building interventions, one on team building tasks and one with lesson plans for team building.