By: Robin L DeVido
Here at Port City Escape, our goal is to provide each guest with an interactive experience solving puzzles, finding clues and getting out of the room in an hour or less.
For human resources and talent managers, today’s tight employment market creates its own unique “challenges.” Many might argue that employee engagement is crucial to a company’s success.
According to a Gallup poll, in the U.S., 70% of workers aren’t engaged, and it costs businesses a total of $500 billion a year.
Imagine a company where the “just to earn a paycheck” employees are few and the ”excited to contribute to the mission of the company” staffers are plentiful.
Team building exercises provide one simple and relatively cost-effective strategy to encourage motivation and engagement, as well as to attract the best and the brightest employees available.
In particular, escape rooms offer a valuable tool for companies that want to assess their employees, grow their skills, and engage them outside the workplace.
Are you game? You should be. And here’s why…
Team Building 2.0
Gone are the days of icebreakers, dry erase board activities and bland pastries at coffee breaks. Corporate speak needs to be left in the boardroom with the focus on allowing the activity to guide the growth. That being said, extreme hiking adventures might not fit the bill for everyone. Team bonding event should all come equipped with the ability to create a fun, learning environment. More than any other option, escape rooms allow employees to practice work-related skills in an immersive environment with themes to please just about everyone.
Mix it up
Team building events should allow employees from different areas of the company to get to know each other. In fact, for escape rooms, the more diversified skill set, the better. Pair linear thinkers with creatives, executives next to interns. When you’re locked in an escape room everyone will have an equal opportunity to help advance the group to the next clue.
Better mental health?
Headtohealth.gov suggests that, “People who work in healthy workplaces are more likely to share ideas, work efficiently, engage with each other socially, and feel comfortable being themselves. The culture of a workplace is important for employee mental health.” By prioritizing frequent team building events, you are demonstrating to employees that you are in tuned with the overall well being of the team members.
Engage. Engage. Engage
With so many employees working remotely or on flexible schedules, it’s more common than ever for employees to only know each other via digital communication channels. There is nothing like physically being locked in a room to bring everyone together and can make even the most isolated of employee feel more part of a team.
Pause for the Cause
Even under the best of circumstance, sometimes taking a break from the list of things “to do” is just what your team needs. Offering paid time off work to try something new that doesn’t require athletic skills or breaking a sweat? Now that’s something nearly every employee can get excited about. By allowing your employees to build connections in a more relaxed environment he/she will feel more valued and engaged at work. As mentioned before, truly engaged workers will be more productive, which will inevitably result in a stronger bottom line.
In fact, as reported by Forbes.com, studies show that companies with engaged employees earn as much as 2.5 times more income than competitors with low employee engagement. Having issues with employee attrition? It might be helpful to know that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave a company.
Develop Communication and Collaboration
Escape rooms are designed specifically to foster small group communication. Ideally, communication bonds made during a team building event will continue to resonate at the office. Employees become more acquainted with the communication styles of their co-workers and might be more likely to seek out projects that invite collaboration. They are open to creative solutions to challenges, work to each other’s strengths, and encourage facilitation of innovative strategies ways to get the job done.
Trust is earned over time. Observing a C-level executive working with an entry-level employer to work a puzzle offers a glimpse into each person, not the title associated with the person. By offering the ability for employees at all levels to transition beyond a strictly professional relationship builds trust and increases collaboration within the organization. And when some friendly completion arises between groups of diverse employees, everyone can gain new perspectives.
Sharing a memorable experience away from the walls of a workspace can be one of the most meaningful tools to build lasting connections. Everyone can get to know their co-workers on a more personal level, perhaps learning more about their interests, hobbies and home lives.
A Better Corporate Culture
Team building goes a long way towards fostering a culture based on strong, communication, positive employee relationships and inherent trust. The result will be more engaged and productive employees. It’s an investment in the future and one that growing organizations really can’t afford to not make.
And then what?
So your team had fun. Lots of laughs, some heart pumping moments as the clock winded down. Perhaps a few great selfies and team photos to celebrate breaking out of a room. Now the ongoing challenge is creating opportunities for people to continue to connect and interact in meaningful ways both inside and outside of the 9-5 workplace. Here’s where the escape room team bulling experience really stands out.
Producer and partnerships lead Doc Preuss of SCRAP Entertainment, an escape room development company, sums it up nicely:
“When everyone contributes, there are more opportunities for shared learning and bonding. With everyone working toward the same goal, there’s a lot of good decompression that can happen after the game. Corporate groups can host a session with a facilitator afterward to talk about what happened during the game and analyze the skills it took to solve the room. People can talk about their team’s strategy and compare it to their coworker’s team. Managers who are watching can see how people do and determine what lessons can be taken back to the office based on what they observed. And players can reflect on what they accomplished, or how they could have gone about things in a different way.”
A case in point for HR managers
Because all the action is captured on video, managers can observe how staff members approach “time crunch” challenges, conflict and problem solving. You have the unique opportunity to assess an employee’s strengths and weaknesses in real-time. Later, skill-based training or additional continuing education opportunities could be developed to build skills that merit improvement for one employee or many.
About Port City Escape Team Building
We believe escape rooms represent the best team building activity in the world. At escape rooms like Port City Escape, groups of players do exactly two things:
Using their brainpower, they work as a team towards a common goal.
Have a stupendous amount of fun.
That’s all there is to it! We see it time and time again at Port City Escape. Leadership will bring a team to play, and the players automatically assume they are in for another tedious team building event. Then, once the game is going, they experience their first “a-ha!” moment as they overcome a mental obstacle as a team. All of a sudden the players buy-in to the experience. They use their brains, they work together, and they have an incredible time. And when they’re done, they contact us to tell us two things:
Their Port City Escape experience built new relationships, strengthened existing ones, and vastly improved the team’s performance.
They want to know when they can come back and play our other rooms.
Studies have found that those who play games are better learners. Team building events such as escape rooms builds stronger relationships and can lead to a more collaborative focused culture in the workplace. To us, there is no better investment.