What are some fun ways to motivate my team?
I have a few remote, part-time workers. We don't have the opportunity to work together often and mostly connect over email. I am thinking I should try to set up a few team activities for us to build stronger personal relationships. What are some fun things others have done that have worked well?
Kate: I used to manage a small team that was dispersed across the U.S. In addition to virtual activities like weekly video round tables, once ever 6 months we used to get together as a team for 2-3 days in a city of one of the team members (who got to act as a host (also transportation coordinator) for that city) for a semi-annual strategy session and team-building exercises. I let each of the team members submit ideas for activities as well as meal preferences. For example I had one team member that followed a vegan lifestyle while one was a pure meat-eating carnivore. I tried to work out a balance that accommodated everyone - no easy feat. Team building activities that were top rated by my team included a wine-tasting and food pairing with a sommelier (the team had to pick the right combinations and then vote with their palate - it was really funny when they got it wrong -- I wish I would have had video rolling at the time but didn't), competitive indoor karting racing at a place called Pole Position Raceway, and competitive indoor Whirlyball at a place called Mad Mad Whirled. We had little prizes that we gave away but mostly it built camaraderie and allowed us to celebrate successes from the past 6-months and discuss strategy and tactics for the semi-annual period ahead, face-to-face. I think it was well worth the investment in time and money.
Gamification is the process of making systems, services and activities more enjoyable and motivating. Gamification employs game design elements which are used in so called non-game contexts in order to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, flow,and learning by creating a gameful experience. A typical application of gamification would be to provide virtual rewards, badges and different levels to complete. One example would be the badges earned here on Mosiachub.
When I was a national sales manager, and had some people that because of the amount of clients covered multiple states, twice a year I would have them meet in a central location near them. I would attend and we would set up a combo of light physical and knowledge contests. It took some money but it paid dividends as they felt included, less remote, and were glad "the boss" made the effort to be there....not just throw them some money. Lots of ideas in terms of the activity some of which have been posted already. Make sure pictures are taken and distributed so the non-remote people see it. Good for all.
A weekly conference call that you could begin and end with a trivia quiz with prizes for correct answers. Prizes could be gift cards [QR codes] that can be emailed. Examples: $10 Restaurant cards for Starbucks or Panera, or Applebees. Some restaurants might even donate a portion of the prizes... this encourages your callers 1) to be in at the beginning of the call, straight through to the end, and 2) you could have a "participation" surprise prize. There are many ways it could be structured. [I was group leader for a personal development seminar and we were scattered over the state... we met once a week, AND weekly conference calls were required, but it was tough to keep interest in continued participation].
Physical activities work well!
I use this in all sorts of gatherings as a speaker and leadership coach. Examples have included: "Dodge ball" using baseball sized sponge balls. Let me state here that you as the 'facilitator of this activity must believe in it. You'll find a few will be VERY hesitant for about 1 minute, just looking at you. All it takes is for them to get bopped in the face with a soft ball and for them to toss it at someone else, and they're "in" (Using a large number of balls). NOTE: The sponge balls used will not hurt when getting hit in the face or elsewhere. Make sure all coffee and drinks and breakables are not in the battle area :-) .
Another: Go to a private woods (warn your people to wear hiking clothes / shoes), with permission granted ahead of time from the property owner, making sure there are no 'Burn rules' prohibiting a campfire. Have your group collect wood and build a campfire, then make some food on the fire, and eat it together (Popcorn is a simple and natural one. Hot dogs on sticks warmed over the fire is another. Sam-ores is always a simple one too). NOTE: You may want to scout out the woods beforehand to pin-point the area you want to make the fire, as well as accessibility to dry wood.
SUMMARY: What I look for in these types of gatherings is- FUN, ADVENTURE, VULNERABILITY FOR EVERYONE, TEAM BUILDING. You might be amazed at who steps out and up from this experience.
Why not ask them for ideas. This already gets them involved and owning the development and end process.
Are you looking to do this as an online virtual session using something like Skype? What technology do you have available? Do you want to build as a team bringing everyone together at once or individual relationships 121? Too many questions to be helpful I am sure but the answers would drive me to give you some ideas.
To start you off without knowing more you could have 121 virtual coffees - where you stop, both have coffee and connect with an informal and social feel to a TC or instant messenger. If you can share documents live then the are lots more things that you can do like quizzes an games and people can type answers. I shared photos once and asked people to pick one they liked and say how they thought it described a strong team.
I have in the past in advance asked each team member to pick any song that comes to mind under a theme I have set, e.g. (what song do you know the most words to and just HAVE to sing along to?"). Everyone has sent me their choices without telling each other and I have then found the songs online. I've then set up a call and randomly played the songs asking people to first guess who they think picked it and then asking the person to declare themselves and tell them why they picked it. You do need good audio for the remote workers for this to work or you could send them links to the playlist (depends how/where you created it).
Hope some of this is of help
Great question! I manage our sales team and one thing we do is create simple, group goals where the team benefits. For instance, every time a 10th sale is made (we have sheets we hang on the walls) a certain amount goes into the pot for either team building activities, fun stuff for the office, or gifts we give to the CSR team. But basically, the overall point is to create little wins here & there where the team benefits.
Another bigger picture idea, is to make sure you preach that people work hard at the office for their 8 hours, but also equally preach that they need to take time to take care of themselves and be with their family/friends. I have seen this in real life and people seem to come into work motivated every day and not get burned out.