Team building often gets a bad rap. As soon as people hear that team building activities are going to take place, groans, grumbling, and eye rolls flood through the workplace. But is team building all bad? Is it worthwhile? Does team building add to retention and productivity? Does it make employees happier and more engaged?

Team building can bring folks together. You can see your co-workers in a different, more casual light. Co-workers can connect in a different setting. Employees can connect with management and see their bosses engage in fun activities.

Employees can achieve results through motivational, team building activities. Employees can learn through fun, powerful events. Employees can connect through actions that take place outside of the office.

Here are 5 ROIs of team building for employers to entertain.

1. Encourages Communication

Executives claim that communication at work is more important now than it has ever been. Between 2004 and 2009, organizations with effective communication have a 47 percent higher return. Effective communication can keep employees engaged and productive. Effective communication can also retain key talent and provide value to customers and clients. All of this offers financial value to owners and shareholders.

Teamwork can improve communication and productivity among your employees. Get your employees out of the office and into some fun circumstances like rope or wall climbing. Your employees will break through communication barriers and learn to communicate effectively. After each activity, have your employees go through a debriefing activity to break down the lessons learned and challenges faced. These skills will translate back to the office.

2. Builds Trust

Over 50 percent of business leaders state that lack of trust in the workplace threatens their companies. The more your employees trust one another, the more effective your business will be. This is where team building activities can come into play.

To build trust among your employees, put your employees in situations outside of their comfort zones. Encourage your employees to get to know one another. Schedule team building activities on a regular basis.

Employees in tight-knit workplaces report that they have 106 percent more energy at work than those employees at “low-trust” workplaces. Additionally, these same employees feel 76 percent more engaged in their jobs and handle 74 percent less stress.

Team building exercises can break down barriers between employees while encouraging employees to start trusting one another. These exercises additionally improve cohesiveness among employees, improving and building trust among co-workers.

Team building for employees is an important organization goal

3. Increases Collaboration

Eighty-six percent of employees blame lack of collaboration for failures in their workplaces. When team members do not understand the objectives or reason of why they should together, no collaboration will occur. For cohesion in the workplace to happen, employees should want to be part of a company purpose. Company vision should be apparent, and employees should be included in company purpose.

Team building goals help to increase collaboration among employees. Team building should be built around team goals. It should leverage employee strengths. It encourages cohesion and camaraderie. It promotes a diversity of ideas and thoughts.

Collaborative team building should be recognized and celebrated. When employees feel like they’re part of something bigger and working toward a larger purpose, employees are more likely to work together to be part of the company mission, to work toward company goals, and to leverage the skills and talents of many. This cohesion drives better ideas and leads to success and profits.

4. Improves Problem-Solving

In a recent survey, over 50 percent of managers and leaders have claimed that recent college graduates lack critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for the workplace. Team building can improve employees’ problem-solving skills by requiring them to work together. It is essential that your employees overcome any problem-solving obstacles to achieve company success.

Problems crop up at an unexpected time. Learning how to handle problems teaches employees to be agile and flexible. Team building explains employees problem-solving methods, such as identifying the problem, analyzing the issues, and implementing a plan.

By learning how to improve problem-solving skills through team building, there are no winners or losers. Employers can incorporate fun. However, the skills learned in the team building sessions can translate into the workplace and benefits employees in real-life situations.

5. Increases Employee Engagement

Seventy percent of employees in the U.S. are not engaged. Lack of employee engagement is costing U.S. companies $500 billion per year. Re-engaging employees is a top priority for employers, and team building can contribute to this aim. Team building can boost employee engagement and morale. Participation is directly linked to productivity, resulting in an increase in net income for your organization. Companies that have engaged employees typically outperform companies that have unengaged employees by over 200 percent.

Here are some tips for productive team building.

  • Get off campus. Leave the office. Change your environment.
  • Have fun. Get creative.
  • Have your employees push their boundaries.
  • Be adventurous.
  • Don’t feel like you’re at the office or you’re doing something business-like.
  • Work towards a common goal.
  • Share a common experience.
  • After each experience, sit down afterward with a facilitator and discuss the lessons learned.

Team building is an investment in your organization. It’s not fluff. Most team building falls flat because it’s done once, done poorly, and never visited again. Team building must be done with forethought, careful planning, strategy, and consistency. Think about your return on investment. Plan the skills that should be learned. Address areas of focus. But have fun with it. And don’t feel like you’re spending a day at the office!