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Impact of Team Building Events On Employee Retention

The phrase “the heart of any business is its workforce” highlights the vital role of employees. They are truly key to a company’s success. Employees are the backbone of every organization and retaining them is becoming more and more challenging in today’s competitive environment. It’s more important than ever to treat them like the key stakeholders that they are. 

Employee retention is a crucial aspect of any successful business. High turnover rates are costly and disruptive. They hurt the productivity and morale of everyone in the organization. One effective strategy to boost employee retention is through team-building events. These events build camaraderie and collaboration. They also create a work environment in which employees want to invest and participate.

How Team Building Events Can Make a Difference

1. Getting To Know Each Other Better

Team building events give us a chance to break away from our office tasks and connect on a personal level. Laughing at a silly game or bonding over a shared challenge creates lasting memories and stronger friendships. These connections make coming to work feel like being with friends or family, not just colleagues. At Horse + Bow, we offer a unique way of getting to know each other because amid a herd of horses, everyone is outside of their usual context and comfort zone. Interacting with horses brings out the most natural and authentic part of each person, and team members regularly cite how they got to know something about themselves and each other in a way they never had before. Spending time in nature, away from the office’s distractions, allows everyone to settle in and decompress, allowing for some real talk and open dialogue. The raw and honest discussions that spring forward during team-building activity days always amaze us. There’s just something about horses🎶

This study from the 2021 Friends & Happiness in the Workplace Survey by UK team-building company Wildgoose found that work friendships are vital. They make work more fun, raise productivity, and offer vital support networks. For those who have a ‘best friend’ at work, the research highlights clear benefits. Unsurprisingly, almost two-thirds (57%) of respondents say it makes work more enjoyable. Interestingly, 22% believe it means they are equally or more productive. 21% say a best friend at work makes them more creative. Additionally, 12% of people are less likely to leave a company where they have friends. Friendships form through team-building events. They are the best way to build a solid, supportive, trusting, and dynamic team.

2. Improving How We Communicate

Let’s be honest, communication on a team isn’t always our strong suit. Team building activities challenge us to work together, listen actively, and communicate clearly. When incorporating horses into a team-building activity, our non-verbal communication skills are challenged uniquely. We must fully listen, even with our eyes, and focus on understanding non-verbal communication, listen to our bodies and what is happening inside of us throughout the experience, and be able to respond and direct through our non-verbal communication. 

The incredible thing is that horses can not lie, so when we see how they respond to us, we know that they are only responding to exactly what they are receiving from us in the present moment. Unlike humans, they are not influenced by what happened yesterday or distracted by thoughts of what might happen a year from now. They are fully present and give us instantaneous feedback on our communication style. We teach how to take that information and apply it to our communication back at the office or home.

3. Boosting Morale and Having Fun

Who says work can’t be fun? Team building events add excitement to our routine. They lift our spirits and boost morale. It’s real-life practice for cheering on a teammate or celebrating a win. When applied back at the office, it makes the day even more enjoyable. These moments of joy and friendship make all the difference in our daily experience.

We always love to end the day by noting the wins from the experience as well as the strengths displayed by each team member. People feel appreciated when their contributions are acknowledged, so we make sure to note the positive things that stood out to us. This can so easily be translated back to life at the office. In meetings or on Slack shoutouts, there is no good reason to skip the celebrations!

4. Unlocking Creativity

Team building events often push us from our comfort zones. They encourage us to think creatively. We’re either brainstorming or solving a creative challenge. These experiences spark our imagination. They inspire us to approach work with fresh eyes.

Our favorite horse team-building activity for sparking creativity is called Horse in a Box. For context, you start with 2-3 horses at liberty in a paddock, and four ground poles making a square on the ground. The goal is for the team to work together to get each horse, one at a time, to enter the box and stop. There are a couple of ways to do this, but we often see great bursts of creativity from team members during this challenge, because rarely does the challenge go according to plan! So many outside influences can play a role and it is so much fun to dive in after the time runs out to figure out who did what and why!? You’ll learn to be amazed at the creative problem-solving brains of your colleagues during this one for sure!

5. Fostering a Sense of Belonging

At work and other areas of life, we all want to feel like we belong somewhere. Simon Sinek says “The most basic human desire is to feel like you belong. Fitting in is important.” Team-building events celebrate our diversity and strengths. They help create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and belongs. This sense of belonging makes us more invested in our work and committed to the success of our team.

We hope it’s clear that team-building events are more than just a fun break from work. They’re key to building a happy, connected, and productive team. These events play a crucial role in employee retention because they contribute to a workplace culture where everyone thrives. They do this by strengthening connections and building trust between teammates. Bonus: They also improve communication, boost morale, spark creativity, and foster belonging. 

Next Steps

If you’d like to create a unique day of team building with a mix of horses, archery, leadership development, mindfulness activities, and more, reach out to Horse + Bow. We’d love to design the perfect day to accelerate your team’s connection, improve their communication, and boost your employee retention!