How to Team Build: Startup Edition

A startup team can triple overnight, which means strange faces can overrun a once small, intimate group. Strong teamwork usually results in more productivity, so startups should try to carve out time for team building exercises. Of course, startups don't want to break the bank on non-essential tasks, so team building usually gets pushed aside. However, there are budget-friendly ways to bring a startup team together. Here are our top five suggestions on how to "team build" on a startup budget.

1. Going to the Bar is Not Enough!

Yes, you’re all stressed out, but instead of the regular beers down the street, go to happy hour with goals or discussion topics:

– Each team member’s highlight of the week or month

– Questions they have about other team member’s tasks

– Challenges each team member faces (allowing others to jump in with problem-solving solutions)

2. Change around work spaces

We're creatures of habit, so everyone usually sits in the same place or near the same people. This is practical since marketers need to talk to marketers and developers need to talk to developers. But on Fridays, try making everyone move around. The small talk even about what people are doing for lunch helps team members get to know each other a bit better.

3. Play a Game

Try playing games where teamwork is necessary. You can go to “Escape” rooms where everyone must work together to get out or even try a trivia night or scavenger hunt. Split up your team (make sure programmers are teamed up with designers, etc.) and encourage cohesive team bonding.

4. Take a Class

Learning together is another way to bond. Research Groupon classes such as cooking courses, bartending, or even a physical fitness class and learn something new together. Try to make it a theme that everyone agrees on or allow the team to take a vote. Learning and completing a course together is a great way to have fun and find out more about individual team members.

5. Start an Internal Newsletter

If you have the bandwidth, start an internal newsletter that tells fun facts about individuals each week. Using a simple MailChimp template, you can throw in a picture and quote from individual team members and email it out company-wide. This most likely won’t take very much effort, but it will help teammates get to know each other a bit better.

What works for your startup? Share thoughts in the comments.