Corporate hand shaking over table

Team Scavenger Hunts Can Transform Your Business

Any number of situations can throw off the successful dynamic you’ve worked hard to create between your employees. Moving to a new part of town, welcoming new hires, forming a new team for a particular project — all of these can add stress to your team and lead to a lapse in productivity or morale. And the typical happy hour or office lunch won’t always cut it when you want to get the group back on track. What you need is a New York scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are a great team bonding activity for businesses. Getting out of the office and participating in an activity together can lead to strong ties between your employees that can completely transform your office environment. When your team participates in a scavenger hunt in NYC, they build valuable skills that are just as useful for making an impact during business hours as they are for finding every item on the scavenger hunt. These skills can translate into the working world in a few different ways.

New York Scavenger HuntThese events are a great way to get out and explore the neighborhood your office is in (particularly if you’ve recently moved). Most employees tend to stick to the building’s cafeteria or a handful of nearby restaurants for lunch, and then they go home once 5 o’clock rolls around, which leads to missing out on a lot of great things about the place they come to work five days a week. During a scavenger hunt, your team will see a lot of the area, and they’ll likely find a few restaurants and shops they didn’t know existed. This team building activity will open up your options when you do want to have a happy hour or team lunch, and employees will be more encouraged to grab a coworker and try out that Thai place they discovered.

A New York scavenger hunt also promotes communication and creative thinking among employees. Everyone is working together to reach a common goal like they often are at work, but with less pressure and fear of failure. A scavenger hunt in NYC creates a unique opportunity for a free exchange of ideas and more open communication. When there’s nothing to lose, people are more likely to speak up and share an opinion. The level of interaction that develops during team building activities carries over into the office, and you’d be amazed by how many more ideas are shared, and opinions are voiced after participating in these events. And someone who hasn’t previously spoken up might be the one to come out with the next great idea your company needs.

Scavenger Hunt IdeasTeam building brings out skills in employees you may not have known they have. Someone who is typically timid might take on more of a leadership role and shine in it, and others may have a great sense of direction or a witty sense of humor that isn’t often displayed at the office. By observing how the team interacts during a scavenger hunt, you may learn a thing or two about your employees, what they’re good at and what motivates them. And that information is invaluable in the workplace. It can help you find better ways to manage your team, and that’s something any good leader is always striving for.

But perhaps the most important thing that will come out of your scavenger hunt in NYC are the new bonds between your employees because it’s these bonds that will serve as the foundation for a more productive and enjoyable work environment. When people get outside for a scavenger hunt, hilarity always ensues. Before you know it, your team will be laughing their way through the event, and they will become more like friends than coworkers. Building these relationships eases tension, lessens anxiety and increases productivity.

People are always looking for purpose in their work — for a reason to get out of bed and for a team they enjoy working with, especially when they’re with those people for 40+ hours a week. Taking time to build employee morale paves the way for success for your company. Job titles and responsibilities can sometimes get in the way of that free-flow of ideas we mentioned, but working together during a scavenger hunt allows people from different departments and job titles to work together, and soon enough your employees are goal- and people-focused instead of role-focused. And this leads to greater employee retention and productivity because people are happy with their jobs, which means greater success for you and your business.

Give Rock Paper Team a call if you’re ready to start seeing all the benefits a New York scavenger hunt has to offer. We’ve done all the hard work for you with endless scavenger hunt ideas for any business size. Let us give your employees a fun and interactive experience they won’t soon forget!

employees together

How to Combat Employee Disengagement

Disengaged employees aren’t difficult to identify. A few of the telltale signs include: an overall lack of enthusiasm for new projects, frequent complaining, stagnant growth, lack of initiative, and an unwillingness to collaborate with team members. While the negative implications on a disengaged employee’s own career are obvious, this disengagement can have a very serious impact on a company’s productivity. If you find that your employees frequently display these behaviors, it’s time to institute immediate changes in order to keep your business growing and thriving.

Fortunately, there are very easy adjustments you can make starting today to combat employee disengagement. Below are just a few of the ways you can proactively adjust your work environment to keep employees invested, dedicated, and excited about your company:

Show you Care

Taking the time to get to know staff members on a personal level is key to demonstrating their value to the company. Try to get to know the hobbies, interests, and goals of each employee. There oftentimes exists a disconnect between upper level management and their employees. However, taking the time to ask questions will bridge this gap, allowing you to build a stronger connection with your team while also gaining valuable insight into how best to motivate each member of your staff.

Reward Creativity

Employees who go above and beyond by contributing ideas on how best to increase productivity and improve efficiency should be recognized and rewarded for their initiative. By fostering an environment that welcomes and encourages such creativity, your employees will see that their opinions are truly valued. Further, staff members are likely to remain more engaged and committed to projects that they came up with and have some role in managing. If an idea doesn’t work out quite as planned, don’t be discouraged. Instead, use it as a learning experience, applying lessons learned to future projects.

Make Team Building a Priority

In order for a team to thrive, it is essential that members understand and respect one another. By learning the skills, capabilities, and synergies of co-workers, employees are better positioned to approach projects in ways that best utilizes the individual strengths of each team member. Through the use of team building activities, you’ll build a sense of community and camaraderie among a group with a singular shared goal: the success of the company. Whether held each week, month, or as part of a specialized retreat, team building has been shown to enhance enthusiasm and productivity in the workplace. The internal connections built among co-workers will leave them more satisfied with their work environment, making those dreaded Monday mornings a bit easier to bear.

Clearly Define Expectations

If an employee is unsure of their specific responsibilities in general or for a project, maintaining excitement can be a chore. When assigning tasks, make sure you give clear and direct instructions so as to avoid any confusion around the execution and/or goals of the assignment. Also take the time to explain how each project coincides with the company’s larger goals, further demonstrating the value of each staff members’ contribution to the success of the company. Let your employees know that you’re open to and encourage questions should they require more information.

hands in a huddle

3 Ways to Facilitate Communication in the Workplace

Though the act of communication, whether through talk, text, or e-mail, may seem easy, communicating effectively requires a high level of attention and effort, particularly in the workplace. When working in teams, communicating well is crucial in order to eliminate misunderstandings and maintain a peaceful work environment. It is imperative that all team building activities and opportunities include discussions around how to cultivate strong communication among colleagues. But what can you do starting today to communicate more effectively? By utilizing the following 3 ways to facilitate communication in the workplace, your team will remain a cohesive unit equipped to complete projects, meet targets, and work productively.

Be a Good Listener

Throughout any given day, we each engage in a number of conversations. But just how closely are we listening? If you walk away from a conversation with a clearer idea of your dinner plans than your conversation partner’s message, you may need to fine-tune your listening skills.

Just like any other skill, listening takes practice. One way to improve your listening abilities is to keep a mental checklist of the important points the other person makes. When the conversation ends, try to recall as many of these points as possible. Engaging in each conversation this way will instill in you the ability to pay close attention and listen effectively so as to avoid repeat conversations or meetings.

Learn to Read Others’ Body Language

One of the most obvious ways we communicate with others is not through our words, but through our body language. How we stand, sit, move our hands, and express our faces all indicate how we’re feeling on the inside. By learning to recognize the signs and signals of body language, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively. Let’s use presentation giving as an example.

When standing in front of a room to share performance results or a personal anecdote, how do you know if you’re maintaining 100% engagement? If you find that your audience often displays the following signs, you likely have a disengaged group that needs revival:

      • Shoulders are slumped, or they’re sitting low in their chairs
      • They’re doodling on their notepads, instead of taking notes
      • Hands are fiddling with hair or clothing
      • Eyes are glazed, or gazing elsewhere around the room
              • Heads are facing downward, rarely looking up at the presenter

We all say a lot with our bodies, it’s up to you to recognize what others are trying to say.

Empathize with Others

Everyone has bad days. Whether the family dog ran away or your alarm was 30 minutes late going off in the morning, these stressors have a direct impact on our mood and ability to interact with others throughout the day. If you feel that you’ve been personally criticized or attacked unjustly by a coworker or boss, try to understand the full scope of the other’s feelings and situation before responding. It may be that they’re having an unusually bad day, and as a result taking their emotions out on others as a way to cope. Responding with equal negative emotion will only result in a further breakdown of communication. When tension has lessoned and the other person has calmed down, reach out to your coworker and revisit their criticism. You may find that their overreaction had nothing to do with your work at all.

Team Building for Kids

The Best Team Building Exercises for Kids

As adults, many of us are constantly tasked to work in collaborative environments. For some of us, this task may be challenging as we prefer to work alone. As you may have realized, individual work may not always be feasible or permitted, so having effective collaboration skills can be invaluable to you for professional development. We all have high hopes for our children to grow up to be successful, well-adjusted adults. One way to help our children achieve this state, is to expose them to team building early on. The earlier kids learn how to navigate the dynamics of a team, the better adjusted they will be in their teen and adult years to working with others. Help your children, students, or campers become more cooperative and influential team players by having them participate in highly effective team building exercises.

team of kids working togetherOne great team building exercise for kids is literally exercise. Being a member of a sports team helps children gain a sense of identity and belonging. The collaborative nature of team sports allows children to be exposed to the pleasure of comradery created by cumulative efforts and hard-work. Being on a team teaches the value of reliability. Having teammates will inspire kids to do their best to be an asset to a group of people that is counting on them to perform well. In addition to building individual work ethic, being on a team helps kids gain an understanding of limitations. Athletic competitions show children that winning is not achieved by just one person, instead takes an entire team. Being a part of a team also teaches kids how to get along with others, even those that they may not like. It has proven to help adult coworkers work better together, so recreational teams will definitely serve your kids well too.

Though being a member of a team sport is a great way for kids to learn how to work collaboratively, it is not the only option. There are great activities that you can implement in your academic or leisurely settings that will allow children to learn important principles in collaboration. Here is a list of a few great team building exercises:

  1. The Human Knot

Ah yes, this game bring us back to our sweet summer childhood memories. It’s simple to execute and does not require any materials. Have your team stand in a circle, each person joining hands with someone positioned across from them. Everyone should be holding hangs with two different people. Without letting go of anyone’s hand, the team must work together to untangle the knot. The kids will have to communicate and work together to achieve their goal.

  1. Relay Raceskid participating in pass the egg activity

If you’ve ever run track, you know that relays are true tests of effective collaboration. Have kids break into teams of equal numbers and instruct the first player of each team to run down to a designated spot and back, then passing off a baton to the next player. The race is complete when the last person on each team returns to their original spot.

  1. Pass the Egg

This activity can get a little messy but it is a great lesson in collaboration and trust for kids. This game is played in pairs, each pair given one egg. The pairs will line up across from one another. The first player will throw this egg to his or her teammate. If the egg is successfully caught, each player will take a step back. The partners will take turns tossing the egg. Once the egg drops, the pair is out.

For more great team building ideas, click here.

Onboarding New Employees

Best Practices for Onboarding New Employees

Hiring in the USAExpectations of success are typically based on a corresponding level of preparation, right? Well, tell this to the job market. Nearly 75 percent of companies in the nation say they’re planning to increase hiring over the next year, yet less than half of these companies have onboarding procedures in place for the new hires. Something is not right there. It is consensually advantageous to the employee and employer that the employee becomes quickly and effortlessly well-adjusted to the culture and responsibilities of the new job. Unfortunately, in many cases, the results are less than this ideal. Despite highly intentional and extensive interview processes and assessments of interviewees’ credentials, hiring new employees can be a gamble for any employer. Though you cannot change the aptitude, personality, or work ethic of your new hire, you can set a positive tone for their performance on and assimilation to your professional team. Studies show that one of the best ways to construct this type of positive experience is to have a strong onboarding procedure in place. Intentionality and thoroughness in onboarding will be your best tool in easing your new hire’s transition in. Follow these steps to learn how to implement effective practices in your team’s onboarding protocol.

Facilitate Socialization

Introductions are important! Send an email to your department informing coworkers of the arrival of the new hire. This will allow the new employee to feel welcome and expected. Sometimes feeling comfortable is the only thing a new hire needs to get off to a productive start. Losing an employee to feelings of alienation is indicative of an inefficient or nonexistent onboarding program.

Train for Success

onboarding and job training for new hiresEverything else is extra, this is requisite. The point of onboarding is to prepare your new hire for his or her transition in to your work environment. What is more important for the newbie to learn than their own job? Have a seasoned employee who is well-versed in the new hire’s job responsibilities show them the ropes. This will give the employee a chance to comfortably ask questions and get a firm grasp on what is expected of them. Mentorship is key to employee performance and retention.

Don’t Be Cheap

Invest in you onboarding program. According to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, companies spend almost $11,000 to fill one position. Why spend that much on hiring, and fall short on investing in training? Set aside a budget for onboarding that allow for icebreakers, training tools, mentor compensation, and whatever else you need to prepare your new hire to be productive.

Keep it Current

You’ll want to have a standardized onboarding procedure in place, but it does not have to be based on tired information. Do some research and adjust your program based on new employee trends, or even your own observations of the performance of other new hires. Make sure you set milestones and expectations of the new employee that reflect your company’s present and future goals.

Follow these tips to transform your employees’ new job jitters into confidence and productivity.