By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA

Sometimes teambuilding gets a bad rap, and busy schedules can keep it from reaching the top of the priority list, but it is something every leader should have in their repertoire.

Teambuilding promotes employee engagement by improving group dynamics and strengthening bonds. It can help with morale and motivation, improve mental health and boost confidence. It allows for interdepartmental collaboration, and it may even reveal potential leadership candidates.

Most importantly, teambuilding encourages employee engagement, and engaged employees are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. And that is something worth striving for.

Making teambuilding part of your workplace culture can start with the simplest of ideas. For example:

  • The world’s best playlist. Music is a great unifier, and it always triggers conversations. Challenge your team to create their definitive playlist. You’ll certainly learn more about each team member in the process, and you may even discover some hidden musical talent.
  • A question a day. Ask your team a question each day. Thumbs-Up Thursday: What’s one great thing that happened this week? Fun-Fact Friday: Share a little-known fact about yourself.
  • Pick a penny. We’re banks, so we must have pennies, right? At the start of a meeting, ask staff to pick a penny from a jar and then share a personal memory from the year written on the coin. Or leave the jar in the lunchroom and have staff stick their memories to the wall with Post-it Notes.
  • Scavenger hunt. Create a treasure hunt to complete inside the bank. Have your team search for hidden items, take pictures and learn new things about the bank’s departments and mission along the way.
  • Field day. Looking to up your active game? Create cross-departmental teams and hold a competition with nostalgic games like egg toss and tug-of-war, or hold a 5K walk or run.
  • An anything tournament. Pick your favorite anything: sport, game, movie or music, and turn it into a trivia tournament. Better yet, select a week and host a different themed tournament each day. A quick search for “trivia platforms” will reveal tools to help you digitize your tourney.

You may be surprised how much lighthearted activities like these can help teams get out of their daily routine, communicate without overthinking, and practice critical thinking and collaboration.

For teambuilding to work best, leaders need to make sure that everyone is involved, that the activity is easy to understand and that corporate agendas aren’t forced on the team. Incorporate it within the workday by establishing shifts or timed sessions to ensure coverage for operating the bank when necessary.

The investment you make can be large or small, depending on your budget; you don’t have to take the team ziplining in Costa Rica for it to be worth doing. There are no quick fixes when it comes to human relationships, but teambuilding activities can positively contribute to a bank’s culture, and every effort counts.

Lindsay LaNore ( is ICBA’s group executive vice president and chief learning and experience officer

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