1. Identify the need(s) and define the objective
To begin, ask yourself the right questions: Why are you organizing an activity? What’s the context? Who does the decision-maker want to invite? What needs have been identified? What is the objective to be achieved?
For example, event activities can support or illustrate the messages of a plenary session during a seminar. Their purpose may be simply to reward employees or to celebrate success. They may involve only some of the teams, for example the field sales staff of a particular region, or the entire company.
2. Determine when and how much time is allowed for the activity
The timing of the activity is important and may influence its success positively or negatively. Is the activity stand-alone or integrated into a company seminar? During the day or in the evening? Will the teams be in the best condition to be available and responsive? If the activity is integrated into a seminar, how can it be situated to ensure the overall agenda remains coherent? And more importantly, how much time can you devote to it?
3. Ask for advice
To help choose and organize the activity, do not hesitate to discuss it with friends or colleagues and seek advice from professionals. You can, for example, bring up the topic informally during a lunch to gather ideas and opinions or to test the ideas you may already have in mind. You can also consult your contacts when organizing a professional event, locations, agencies… who can advise you on current trends and make relevant suggestions based on your goal. Make sure that the service providers you use have an ethics policy that matches your company’s values.
4. Make sure you are familiar with the participants and adapt the activity to their mindset.
Everyone is obviously not able to exceed their limits and investing themselves emotionally or physically. So to avoid counterproductive embarrassing or forced situations, make sure that the activity perfectly suits its audience. Also remember to inform participants about the dress code required to ensure they are comfortable and enjoy the activity.
If your activity involves creating teams, make sure you form them beforehand, balancing the introverted and the extroverted, the energetic and the less enthusiastic, the young and the old, the creative and the intellectual, etc. Everyone will have the chance to use their own skills and no one will feel excluded. Also think about how you will discuss the composition of the teams (display, note on the badge, etc.) to save time at the beginning of the session and avoid scattered participants.
5. Choose appropriate spaces
The framework of the activities is important. Since innovation stimulates the brain, stepping outside the company’s usual framework will improve the activity’s positive impact on the teams. A new environment adapted to the chosen activity will arouse curiosity, sharpen observation and increase concentration in participants while promoting the memorization of key messages relevant to them. Depending on the activity and its purpose, choose a location in the middle of nature, a majestic castle, high-tech meeting rooms, an urban environment, etc.
6. Awaken participants’ curiosity
A successful activity requires preparation! Whether it is integrated into a seminar or is stand-alone, whether its objective is to reward, unite, strengthen or build, the way you position it among participants plays an important role in how they perceive and experience it. Do not hesitate to plan different actions prior to the activity based on its content: sending invitations, countdown with clues, theme and dress code, documents, etc.
The more you arouse your participants’ curiosity, the more receptive they will be to the content of the activity and the message(s) it conveys.
7. Get out of the office
Choosing activities that are different from the company’s own activities is essential to make an impression. Volunteering or activities related to eco-responsibility will give participants a sense of pride. Sharing meals together will facilitate communicate in a welcoming atmosphere. Doing physical activities, even of low intensity, will bring energy and momentum to the group. The positive emotions generated by these moments of sharing will be further engrained in participants’ minds since they are taking place away from the corporate environment.
Keep in mind that the activity is a special time for informal discussions that bring teams together and unite them. Through games or discussions, participants get to know each other and talk about themselves. Organized outside the familiar corporate environment, the activity encourages personal communication and leads participants to reveal themselves a little, to show other aspects of their personality, to create bonds that can help them achieve their common personal and professional goals.
8. Unite participants around common values
Each organization has its own culture and values. Activities offered to participants must always complement the company’s core values. Giving each employee a sense of responsibility – to live and share these values – is always an excellent way of uniting a team to work towards the same goal.
The well-known adage “there’s strength in numbers” is particularly well suited to the business world. Activities that require team spirit and solidarity remind everyone that leaders are nothing without the help of their teams. That no single talent, no matter how great, can drive a company’s success. And that everyone at their own level is essential to overall success.
At the end of this type of activity, each participant should leave with the feeling that they are useful, competent and essential to the proper operation of the company as a whole.
9. Brief the facilitator
It seems obvious, but the facilitator of a team-building or incentive activity must know everything about the group they are receiving. The nature of the event, the company’s history, DNA and core values, the purpose of the activity, etc.
Help them define the scope of their work: content and tone of the introduction to the participants, respect of the time and space allotted, etc.
A successful activity starts with the right facilitator!
10. Debrief the teams
Often forgotten or rushed, debriefing the teams will allow you to measure the success of the activity. Whether formal or informal, this debriefing will allow you to assess how satisfied the participants were, check whether the objectives were actually achieved and propose new formats for the next activity.