You don’t need a big party or a fancy getaway to get to know your employees better. Bonding with your team can be as simple as heading outside..
That’s why we asked 11 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
Q. What’s a great team-bonding activity you and your employees participate in that costs little to no money to do?
1. ‘Caught in the Act of Greatness’ Cards
We give out “Caught in the Act of Greatness” cards every week. It’s a great way to allow people on the team to recognize each other, and it builds awareness of great things people have done that others may not know about. —Adam Witty, Advantage Media Group
2. Quarterly Book Club
This is a great way to get everyone out of the office. It’s inexpensive and a good way for the team to bond in a more personal way. Sometimes we’ll split up into teams and hold friendly competitions. The losing team buys the winning team lunch the next day. —Stanley Meytin, True Film Production
One of the best things I do to strengthen our culture is a weekly “Eatin’ Meetin’.” Besides sharing a good cabernet, it’s an hour set aside on Fridays where the whole team gets together to talk about accomplishments (or failures) for the week. It’s a simple perk that our team loves. —Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media
There are so many great places to hike in and around the Bay Area that we arrange groups on weekends to go out and bond away from the office. While we do talk shop sometimes on the hikes, we also like to hold fun competitions. This doesn’t cost us any money, and everyone enjoys themselves. —Murray Newlands, Sighted
Going for a run with a colleague is a great (and healthy) way to bond. It can be a casual way to learn more about them, discuss project goals, or troubleshoot challenges. And, for the more competitive-minded, entering a distance race (5K, 10K, half marathon) and training together is a fun way to take that concept further. —Marcelino Alvarez, Uncorked Studios
7. Two Truths and a Lie.
At every team get-together, we play the classic game of Two Truths and a Lie. It gets more and more difficult as you get to know a particular team member, but that can also amplify the fun—and it’s a great way to get to know one another. You’ll be surprised at what some people will come up with and what some individuals’ truths are. —Blair Thomas, First American Merchant
8. In-House Happy Hour
Every other Friday, we have an in-house “happy hour” where we bring in a couple 12-packs of beer, some wine, and a few healthy snacks for the team to enjoy. We usually stop working one to two-and-a-half hours before closing time to help get the team in a weekend mood. It’s a great way to end the week on a positive note and doesn’t cost much compared to the benefits it provides. —Duran Inci, Optimum7
9. Design Challenges.
While we’re a product design agency, not all employees always get to design or work together on client projects. We have design challenges where we pick a new product idea that we like or an existing product that frustrates us and pair off at random to do initial concepting. It’s a fun, change-of-pace thought exercise and a chance to work with colleagues we may not typically collaborate with. —Kevin Yamazaki, Sidebench
10. Team Lunch
I like to have weekly or biweekly lunches with my team. It gives us all a break simultaneously where we can relax for a bit and debrief about anything that comes to mind. In addition to this, we also benefit from walks around the office when things get stressful. We work on a large campus, and sometimes just a leisurely walk can really calm the nerves. —Justin Lefkovitch, Mirrored Media
11. Team Trophies
Each month we award funny trophies to each department. The trophies are each under $10 and are a unique way to showcase top performers in each team. We have a tacky “guy in a suit” trophy for the top sales team member, a Game of Thrones goblet for the customer support team, and a pig-themed “making bacon” trophy for the employee of the month. —Paul Hager, Information Technology Professionals
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