Create Bonding and Increase Collaboration

By: Claire Riggs, Managing Partner

Coming off the heels of our blog about hiring, retention, and the importance of career mapping, I wanted to tack on another strategy that’s often overlooked by smaller companies — team building.

Having spent extensive time in corporations before joining the entrepreneurial ranks, Steven and I both had responsibilities for and experienced the benefits of team building in our past positions. Knowing the benefits of investing in our people through team building, we gladly made it a part of Riggs Creative Group’s quarterly key performance indicators (KPIs). And, because of its many benefits, we encourage our clients to do the same.

Team Building Statistics

Understandably, when most business owners set KPIs, the focus is on how the activity will impact the bottom line. When it comes to team building, is the investment of non-billable time and activity costs worth it? Let’s consider a few team-building statistics shared recently by Teamstage:

• Companies with a fully engaged workforce are capable of generating twice the revenue.
• Over 50% of employees have stayed at a company because they felt like part of a team.
• 75% of staff say teamwork and collaboration are crucial to corporate success.
• Organizations that promote collaboration and communication are 4.5 times less likely to lose their best employees.

At Riggs Creative Group, we have an in-office cast of seven and another dozen or more supporting actors in the field on any given day. While we don’t get to pull everyone together often, our office staff regularly pauses our work to create, play, or volunteer together. These times allow us to get to know each other better and appreciate our varied skills talents, abilities, and vulnerabilities.

Benefits Beyond the Numbers

Team building helps us go deeper, developing friendships and relationships that strengthen our trust in each other and boost our collaboration on client projects. As explains, “it’s important to promote a sense of connection, communication, and teamwork in your company culture. For leaders who think workplace friendships are distracting, studies find that employees who have a best friend at work are actually 7 times more likely to be engaged in their work.”

Through our varied activities, we’ve learned that one of our team members wins a prize at every event he attends, that another was in a junior bowling league as a child (after she put a shellacking on the rest of us), that another is quite the “foodie”… and has shown her skills cutting vegetables while volunteering at the local community kitchen and in treating us to breakfast casseroles for a recent teammate’s birthday event.

Relationships Enhance Retention

In reality, most of us spend more of our waking hours at work than anywhere else, so it’s critical to our well-being to build relationships with our coworkers. It also helps sustain our workforce. “Fostering work friendships is one of the most powerful yet underutilized employee retention techniques. Admiration and affection for colleagues inspire employees to perform at higher levels and remain at the company out of loyalty.” You can read more about these relationship benefits at

Teamwork Makes the Art Work!

Our day-to-day work can be challenging and so can some of our team-building activities, but pushing through the latter somehow fuels our confidence to keep tackling the former. For example, we recently planned a ‘surprise’ afternoon art session that required the participation of our core team and was guided by a professional, who encouraged some sharing of colors and brushes for efficiency, and that resulted in a mural depiction of our “Building your Presence on Purpose” process. Knowing that the result of our collective effort would be hung in our conference room was both exciting and intimidating, as not all of us consider ourselves artists.

After washing our hands of the residual paint, we deeply exhaled and debriefed. I asked each team member to pick a word or phrase that they will think of when they see this mural. Here are the responses: creative, collaboration, synergy, trust the process, vibrant, interdependence, and strategy. Wow! Teamwork made this artwork and achieved many more intangible benefits to fuel our future.

With statistics supporting the fact that a team that plays together stays together, what’s holding you back from investing in team building? Don’t count the costs only. Focus on the benefits. Get started. Give your team something to look forward to by scheduling a fun outing, a volunteer activity, or an office event this spring.