“Hey Krithika, can you and rest of the team gather at 4 p.m for a quick huddle?” my manager would ask. We would gather – a few minutes for business and a few for outside of work. Our team was close-knit. We knew each other well, outside of work. Family occasions always had our full attendance. I was a business analyst then and our team activities were usually in-person, virtual team building was not even something I had thought about.
A couple of years have passed and nothing changed except that I’m an assistant project manager now. I have my own team, but I learned the nuances of fostering great team bonding. It was simple – spend time with the team, know them outside of work, be genuine and care for them.
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt.
We had regular engagement activities, several team games, lunch meetings and outings to keep the momentum going. With all these, team building is a cakewalk or at least that is what I thought…..until COVID hit us. We started working remotely. A month and we would be back, we thought! It is a year now and still uncertain.
Several projects kickstarted, new hire onboarding, meetings, activities….everything was virtual! I had a big team and most of them were brand new. I haven’t seen them yet and neither have they seen me. It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult. Accepting what is in front, I discovered new ways of employee connect.
The goal was simple – build a TEAM. I started working backward from this goal and everything fell in place. We managed daily huddles online. It took extra time due to technical snags. Over time, it improved. From being just a routine, this huddle became the most expected as we had time distinguished for work and personal. We empathized, engaged and enjoyed getting to know each other. I understood the interests of the large majority. We had engagement activities revolving around our interest areas; image and video activities were preferred, so we had more of those.
The shrinkage in my team, let alone attrition is at all-time low. Virtual team building goes a long way. It instills interest and lets the team walk into work happily.
“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.”