5 Ideas for Team Building in the Workplace

teamwork scrabble tiles

If the words “team building” make many of your employees roll their eyes and head for the exit, you may need to add some new exercises to your repertoire. At Whitman Associates, Inc., our experts know all the best strategies to help your employees bond, work together and trust each other. With five new in-office and remote team-building ideas, your employees may be a little more enthusiastic next time you suggest team building in the workplace! Explore our top exercises to find the best ones for your team.

1. Code of Conduct Exercise

We recommend this exercise for the beginning of any retreat, event, or workshop. It sets the tone for your day and allows employees to feel like they have a say in what’s going on while team building in the workplace. In addition, this simple activity ensures your employees are building bonds through shared values.

Exercise Details

  • Duration: 30+ Minutes
  • Objective: Build Trust & Establish Group Values

How You Play

  1. Write the words “Meaningful” and “Pleasant” on a whiteboard.
  2. Ask employees to give ideas on making this workshop meaningful and pleasant.
  3. Add everyone’s suggestions to the board in the form of a mind map.
  4. Ask employees to elaborate on their suggestions in relation to the workshop.
  5. Create a code of conduct for the day based on the mutually agreed-upon ideas.

When the group has guidelines they created to dictate their behavior, your entire team-building event in the workplace will go a lot more smoothly. The Code of Conduct exercise is ideal for both in-office and remote team-building ideas.

2. Memory Wall

The Memory Wall is a physical activity that allows your team to share memories, build camaraderie and enhance working relationships. Conduct this team-building exercise in the workplace early during your event and keep it up for the rest of your time together.

Exercise Details

How You Play

  1. Provide your team members with paper, markers and tape.
  2. Ask them to write positive memories of each person they’ve worked with.
  3. Once they’ve written something down, have them draw these memories.
  4. Tape the completed images to a wall that’s visible throughout the space.
  5. Have a few volunteers share their creations and what they mean.

Illustrations can be simplistic, abstract or detailed. As long as the employee can draw a meaningful connection and explain it, that’s all that matters. Even funny depictions can enhance the exercise and add much-needed levity to the workplace. The visual memory wall encourages people to talk about their relationships and reinforce good teamwork from their past.

3. Magazine Story

This in-office and remote team-building idea offers employees a fun, creative way to bond. Use this kind of team building in the workplace to explore the hopes, goals and dreams of your team members.

Exercise Details

  • Duration: 60-90 Minutes
  • Objective: Visualize Future Success & Encourage Employees to Think Bigger

How You Play

  1. Break your employees into small groups.
  2. Ask them to create a magazine cover about themselves, complete with quotes, images and side stories.
  3. You can provide a template, have them work in an image editing program or provide art supplies for them to create a physical poster.

These magazine covers should be goal-oriented, focusing on what employees want to achieve in their careers in the years to come. You can offer a prize for the magazine cover that’s voted the best!

4. Shark Tank

woman in an office pointing to sticky notes on a wall

Pitching an idea Shark Tank-style encourages employees to work together, get creative and find their inner entrepreneur. You can also use this type of team building in the workplace to hone a competitive edge.

Exercise Details

  • Duration: 90 Minutes
  • Objective: Promote New Ideas & Collaborations

How You Play

  1. Have teams pitch mock products to secure investments from the group.
  2. Play some clips from the show to inspire your teams.
  3. Pitches must include brand name, slogan, business and marketing plan, and financial data.
  4. Choose upper management to play the “Sharks.”
  5. Encourage the Sharks to ask questions and offer investments.
  6. The team with the most investments wins!

Creating your own version of Shark Tank is about stimulating big thinking in your employees. Furthermore, the collaborative element of this team-building idea in the workplace will promote better teamwork and bonding.

5. Trivia Time

You don’t have to make every exercise during team building in the workplace part of the event. Sometimes, a quick break for some fun trivia can help re-engage employees that are losing interest.

Exercise Details

  • Duration: 30-60 Minutes
  • Objective: Engage & Excite Employees

How You Play

  1. Create trivia questions based on your work environment.
  2. Break your employees up into teams.
  3. Ask questions aloud and keep track of the team with the most right answers.
  4. Give out a prize to the best players.

The trivia game is fun, easy and the perfect idea for remote team building. It highlights what everyone has in common and helps connect your employees.

With these unique team-building ideas for the workplace, you can rejuvenate and refresh your employees with games that help the entire office thrive. Find more workplace advice for employers when you explore the Whitman Associates, Inc. blog today!

Working Remote

For many of us, remote work is something new and exciting, but it also requires diligence to stay productive and engaged. We are grateful to our clients for enabling our employees to work as much as they can in these very unusual circumstances. We also recognize that this may be a new way of life for many. We must all be aware that it is our responsibility to provide our very best each day whether we are working remotely or physically in the office. We are accountable for our productivity while out of the office just as we are when in the office. A couple of key points:

  • You are getting paid to WORK remotely
  • Prepare for you workday just as you would if going in-person
  • Be grateful your commute is so peaceful
  • Be on-time just as if you were commuting to work
  • Be prepared to intentionally engage with your manager:
    • Ask the manager for a schedule of the day’s work
    • Demonstrate progress on the work assignment
    • Notify the manager of task completions
    • Schedule your lunch break (the manager knows you’re off-line)
    • Be accessible (chat, text, call, video) during the entire work day

There are many tools and methods that enable you to be productive and remain engaged during your work-at-home opportunity. While this is a new initiative for most employees and employers, some industries have been leveraging mobile employees at home, off-site, or on the road for many years.

Don’t be alarmed if the company you are employed by asks to load virtual private networking (VPN) access applications on your desktop, tablet, or phone. Recognize that companies engaging in tele-work are exposing themselves from a security perspective. They have a right to protect their company, their mission, and their intellectual property. As an employee, you have an obligation to comply with their security requirements and you must follow their policies when connected to their network.

Remote Interviews

If you are actively interviewing for jobs, part of the process is being prepared for different types of remote interview possibilities. It is best to practice with the tools to insure you have the capability to interview via the most popular web conferencing platforms. It is important to verify your camera, microphone, and audio speakers will work with the device you intend to use for each collaboration system. In addition, your device may need to download plugins and grant permissions to the application in order to interact with the microphone, video, and speakers. It is your responsibility to support the client’s collaboration app and have it functional ahead of time. The company you’re applying to most likely has a specific one they use for all their internal and external collaboration.

We recommend you verify access to GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, and Skype for starters! You do not need to create an account in each of these collaboration platforms as you will be a guest on the client’s platform.

Whitman Associates will assist any of our candidates with a trial run of the client’s application platform so that you may prepare the collaboration tools in advance. We want our candidates to focus on the interview when the time comes and not be frustrated by the tools.

Excellent advice exists on preparing for phone and video conference interviews, but here are some key points:

  • Insure the environment you’re using is appropriate:
    • The background of a video chat is important. Bright lights from windows behind you can cause video of your face to be dark. You certainly don’t want the background to present your bedroom and all your belongings. It is best to sit in front of a blank wall or wall with minimal graphic distractions. You may need to turn on a light somewhere else in the room to insure your face is well lit.
    • The audio is critically important. Many people will tolerate bad video to a certain extent, but clipping audio and background noises make it impossible for you to convey important responses. You need to make sure the environment is free from background noises (mowers, air conditioners, bathroom showers and toilets, construction, etc.). Find a quiet room where the background noise is minimal. Shouting over these background noises will certainly not make a good impression.
  • Equipment used to perform the interview is very important. It is best to use a device with all the tools integrated such as a phone, tablet, or laptop. If you want to use a desktop, you need to make sure all the external components work well together.
    • The integrated microphone of a laptop, tablet, or phone may be sufficient; however, it is far better to use a Bluetooth or wired attached headset. This will allow your voice to be clear, enable your hands to be free, and allow the camera to be placed at a distance from your face.
    • It is important to set the phone, tablet, or laptop down on a fixed surface such that it is not moving. It is incredibly distracting for the camera to be waving around your head while you’re trying to explain how successful you can make your client.
    • If you need reference material (resume, PostIt notes, website of the client), make sure this material is positioned directly above or below the camera. The client is not interested in seeing a profile of your face as you turn away to find material.
    • If you need to make notes, place your notepad directly below the camera so that the client can see that you are writing information down. It is best to avoid T-Y-P-I-N-G notes while listening to the client as the keyboard noise is very distracting and may lead the client to think your doing something other than listening to their pitch – they are trying to sell you on how great a company they have.
  • Be prepared! There are many reference materials available describing how to prepare for an interview. A phone call, chat session, or video collaboration is just as important as an in-person interview. In fact, it is more difficult to convey body language and capture voice inflections that might indicate your excitement for working with the company. Your goal is to make the next step happen – get an opportunity to meet the hiring managers face-to-face and get that job offer.

Recruiting Trends To Watch In 2019

Each year, HR leaders anticipate learning about — and possibly adopting — a new crop of recruiting trends. It probably comes as no surprise that 2019 is brimming with its share of innovative hiring ideas and strategies.

Since recruiting has shifted so drastically over the past few years, it is more important than ever to keep up with all the latest industry inclinations to make sure you reach and attract the best talent to your organization.

Our recruiting specialists have discovered five trends to help you navigate and streamline your upcoming year in recruiting:

1. Employer Branding

There is no denying that hiring leaders are working in a candidate-driven market and must adjust accordingly. One way to meet this challenge is through the use of a focused marketing strategy to build your organization’s brand.

Forbes recommends working with a marketing team to come up with your ideal branding, using some of the following tactics:

  • Define how you want your company to be seen in the eyes of prospective employees — in terms of company culture and overall mission.
  • Make sure your reputation is in good condition, since 69 percent of jobseekers recently shared that they would decline a job with a company with a bad reputation, according to a recent survey.
  • Develop an employee value proposition that provides appropriate benefits in exchange for the education, skills and experience that a candidate can bring to the organization.

2. Inbound Talent Recruiting

Marketing strategies have evolved to tap into the vast resources available online. Since 45 percent of jobseekers check their mobile device at least once each day for a new job, this strategy continues to gain traction. With inbound marketing techniques such as search engine optimization and search engine marketing, you can effectively use various media to attract, convert and engage the talent needed for a given position.

3. Candidate User Experience

Candidate user experience refers to your prospective employees’ overall experience with the recruiting and hiring process — from filling out the application to orientation day. Your talent’s positive recruiting process will ultimately help your organization build its brand.

A positive candidate user experience might include the following features:

  • Simple and flexible application process: Provide a simple application process online and in your office.
  • Allow for initial phone or Skype interviews: Offer to perform the first round of interviews via telephone or Skype for added convenience.
  • Follow up with the candidate: A short note or form letter informing candidates of your choice of another candidate can spare your organization poor online reviews.

4. Text-Based Recruiting

Decades into texting, and many hiring managers have left text-based recruiting as one of the last media holdouts. However, given the employee shortage and the fact that today’s younger workers are texting devotees, it seems that HR representatives and recruiting specialists are ready to fully embrace this communications medium.

Here are a few reasons that text-based recruiting is highly likely to be a trend in 2019:

  • Texting has become the top form of communication among generations actively seeking employment.
  • Texting is quick and convenient while still personal and confidential.
  • The Society for Human Resource Management reports that recruiters receive relatively high response rates when using texting as the prime communication mode with talent.

5. Collaborative Hiring

Collaborative hiring may involve your HR department, managers from other departments and a trusted recruiting team. Together, you can all work to find excellent hires and avoid high-turnover rates.

Are You Interested in Learning More About These Recruiting Trends?

At Whitman Associates, we understand that it can be challenging for busy organizations and their HR teams when it comes to keeping up with the latest hiring trends. We are here and happy to help you navigate how to find the talent you need for your vital temporary, permanent and temp-to-perm positions.

Contact us to discuss your candidate needs today.

How To Write The Perfect Job Description To Attract The Most-Qualified Candidates

Is it once again time to write a job description for a recently vacated or created position in your organization? Regardless, you may be exploring ways to maximize your job posting to attract the most-qualified candidate as effectively and quickly as possible.

By blending the facts you know about the position with some new strategies for conveying that information to awaiting candidates, you can certainly streamline the job description writing process.

First, Determine What You Want Your Job Posting to Accomplish

Following are five key points that you want your job post to accomplish, regardless of the nature of the position:

  1. It sells the position and your organization by sharing key information about both.
  2. It provides a list of technical requirements, soft skills and personality traits candidates need to prove they obtain.
  3. It homes in on candidates who will quickly adjust to their position and corporate culture by providing details about their respective nature. For example, more introverted job candidates may skip applying for the position if they see your company prides itself on its highly interactive culture.
  4. It is friendly and welcoming to anyone considering the role, whether a particular ad reader is ultimately the right candidate or not.
  5. It offers clear instructions on how and where to apply, along with the application deadline.

4 Steps to Writing an Effective Job Description

Review these four tips to see if they might help you enhance, debug or fully revamp your job description writing process to get the results you want:

  1. Define and summarize the position. In this step, you will gather the most vital information about the position. Set up a meeting with the department manager, requesting that he or she provides as much overarching information about the job as possible, as well as five or six day-to-day functions of the role. Here, you have the chance to paint a vivid portrait of the position for prospective candidates.
  2. List and clarify all experience and qualifications needed. It is important to let candidates know your requirements for a position early in the description, so they can either move on to the next posting or settle in to learn more about your organization and the job. List necessary qualifications — which may include the level of education completed, previous experience in the field, required certifications obtained and maintained, computer languages, data entry proficiency, writing and editing, and anything else crucial to performing the position and adding value to your business.
  3. Provide a detailed list of responsibilities and duties. Expanding on the overview of daily functions you provided in the summary, give potential candidates a more precise idea of what the job entails. For example, let candidates know whether their job is more teamwork-focused, or if they will regularly work independently. Additionally, let readers know how their position works within the larger framework of their department and the organization. This context informs prospects of the value that your organization places on their responsibilities.
  4. Use bullet points, numerical lists and strategic keywords for easy eye-scanning. Just like you end up reviewing multiple resumes and applications, your potential candidates spend countless hours reading through job boards, social media posts and employment forums. Putting the same volume of information into a tidy list is easier on the eyes for you and candidates. Also, make sure to use keywords germane to the position and the prospective candidates’ possible qualifications. For example, if you are a recruiter with an accounting firm and need a new accounting professional, season your job description with keywords such as “CPA”, “financial professional”, “certified public accountant” and “auditor”.

Would you like additional tips to tackle a particularly tricky job description in your queue? No matter what you need, our recruiting team at Whitman Associates features nearly five decades of collective recruiting success to help streamline your process and connect you with well-suited candidates.

Take the next step by calling (202) 659-2111 or filling out our staffing request form.

Strategies For Getting Employees To Buy Into Their Jobs

According to some estimates, the cost of disengaged employees can be as much as $550 billion a year. It’s no wonder, therefore, that U.S. businesses are urgently committed to finding ways to get employees to buy into their jobs and to reap the benefits of full-on employee engagement.
Continue reading “Strategies For Getting Employees To Buy Into Their Jobs”

An Unexpected Transformation: How To Move From Temp To Full-Time

In 2018, employers have greater access than ever before to an incredibly large pool of candidates. As a result, an increasing number of employers are embracing the luxury of taking their time to find the perfect new team member via hiring people on a temporary basis prior to offering permanent, full-time employment. While this may seem disappointing for those seeking full-time employment, that doesn’t have to be the case. As David Shindler, an employability specialist, explains: “It’s a two-way street, as employers can see how you perform and how you fit in. I know of people who have had jobs created for them as a result of the impact they have made.”

Continue reading “An Unexpected Transformation: How To Move From Temp To Full-Time”