Team building is a management tool that can be used to develop a group of individually contributing employees into a cohesive and collaborative team. All organizations—no matter how big or small—can reap the potential personal and workplace benefits of implementing team building activities, such as improvements in morale, employee quality of life, communication skills, innovation and work quality.
This team building toolkit can be implemented by laboratory leadership to improve staff morale and increase staff retention. The documents were developed by the APHL Emerging Leader Program (ELP) Cohort 13.
Implementing Team Building: A Literature Review for Laboratory Scientists
This review is intended to aid laboratory scientists and leaders in understanding the key principles of effective team building and lay a foundation for the successful implementation of the APHL Team Building toolkit. This resource can be used by PHLs to support their initiatives they would like to pursue at their organization and gain buy in from their own staff as well as other stakeholders in their organizational structure. This resource contains direct links to external sources and is best utilized as a digital document.
Employee Team Building and Engagement Survey
The Employee Team Building and Engagement Survey aims to inform laboratory leadership about their staff’s feelings towards the current working environment. When repeated regularly, this survey can also help demonstrate improvements related to proactive and/or ongoing team building activities.
Team Building Exercises
A variety of team building exercises are readily available online. The collection of facilitator guides below focus on low-cost activities that could be easily implemented by public health laboratories—either at an organizational level or smaller departments and teams. Each guide includes the focus area, format, venue, activity time, diversity, equity and inclusion considerations, instructions and additional resources.
Creating an Ambassador/Mentor Program
A mentoring program is a useful way to increase employee engagement by pairing an experienced employee (the mentor) with at least one less-experienced employee (the mentee) to help the mentee develop workplace competencies and knowledge of workplace operations. In organizations that already have a mentoring program, an ambassador program may also be considered as an initial onboarding program for new employees rather than an ongoing mentor/mentee relationship.
The goal of Morning Coffee is to enable mingling among different groups and encourage them to talk about non-work topics to help boost morale. Providing the time and coffee encourages participation, and the informal setting allows staff to gather and socialize with others whom they may not interact with often. Discussion topics/questions may be provided via napkins or handouts to facilitate conversation.
Group Picnic/Family Day
Help employees connect with a group picnic or a family day. The event could be organized as an annual celebration or to celebrate a milestone achieved by the team.
Puzzle Race Activity
This exercise promotes flexibility, communication, negotiation and cooperation. The goal is for participants to identify the problem and resolve it by discussing it within their team and working together as a larger group.
Group Volunteer Work
The goal of Group Volunteer Work is to bring staff together for a common cause, to improve their communities while working together. Volunteer work is rewarding and engaging, and many people do not know how or where to begin with these types of activities.
A virtual room filled with clues for a small group to work through puzzles and activities to "unlock" the door and escape the room. Goal is to encourage teambuilding through problem solving and creative thinking for a group of individuals.