With this 3-part series, I’ll be looking at how to run a great scavenger hunt team building event. If you have any questions on how to use specific concepts, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer them. For this first post, I’ll be looking at how to properly prepare for an event. Part 2: In-Hunt can be found here and Part 3: Debrief can be found here.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. -Seneca
One of my favorite quotes on preparation is by Seneca. He proposes that luck isn’t really chance at all, but the result of hard work done well before an opportunity arises. The sad thing is, most people don’t prepare adequately and team building events often fall into that category.
The excuses are always creative (too busy, don’t know how, or *gasp* too lazy), but the reality is if you wan’t a great event, you have to prepare properly. With team building events, proper preparation could be the difference between a smash hit and a snoozer. To help you avoid putting on a sleep clinic, here are 5 tips to help you nail your next event.
1. Clarify the Purpose of the Hunt
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people jump right into the event details without any thought to the ultimate goal. For corporate team building events, this is especially important, as goals will often differ substantially between organizations.
As an example, a company that has been struggling with friction between marketing and sales will want to focus on building inter-departmental relationships. Alternatively, you may just be looking for something fun to do as a reward. Either way, take the time to clarify the purpose of the hunt. Some common examples are:
- Rewarding employees with a fun event.
- Icebreaking new employees.
- Integrating employees from separate departments into one big team.
2. Define the Budget & Get Multiple Quotes
Talk to anyone who has recently organized a team building event and they will likely complain about the cost. That’s because most professionally-run team building events cost ~$80-120/person. For someone who had $20/person in mind, it’s quite the shock. Setting a reasonable budget ahead of time will help mitigate this shock and keep you focused on the options within your budget. Once you have your budget, we recommend you get quotes from at least 3 providers.
3. Set an Event Duration
We’ve found that the best hunts are around 90 minutes in the field. Add on approximately 30-45 minutes for instructions and debriefing and you have a total event time of just over 2 hours. A 2 hour event is perfect because you can hold it in the morning or the afternoon. No meal times are influenced and there’s buffer time before and after in case things don’t go as planned.
The ability to run an efficient event ensures maximum value is squeezed out for a given amount of time. There will be times when it makes sense for a longer event (e.g. gala dinner’s, corporate offsites, etc.). If this is the case, duration isn’t that big of a deal. But if you are fitting this into a normal workday, you want to keep the event as efficient as possible and 2 hours is a great target.
4. Setting up the teams
Remember clarifying the purpose of the hunt? This is where it comes in handy. If you need to improve inter-departmental collaboration, match employees from different departments. If you are just wanting to better integrate the team, split up employees who hang out together regularly so people create new connections.
In a recent event that we ran for two organizations, we made sure that each team had at least one employee from each organization. The result was several key inter-organizational relationships that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
5. Get buy-in from everyone in the company
Of all the preparation steps, this one would easily win the award for “Most Neglected”. As an employee, when management doesn’t participate, it says, “Our time is too important for team building”. How do you expect team building to be effective if the message from upper management says otherwise?
Cultures are created at the highest levels of an organization and trickle down from there. If you don’t have management buy-in, it’s all but impossible to convince the participants otherwise. I would even go as far as saying that getting buy-in from all levels in the company is the most important step to a successful event. So make sure you get participation from as high up as possible and we bet you’ll notice a big difference.
And there it is! Our top 5 tips to properly prepare for a team building scavenger hunt. While these tips will work for most organizations, there are going to be use cases when they require some tweaking. If you run into a situation where you expect these tips won’t work for you, think about it from a participant’s perspective or feel free to contact me at email@example.com! I’m more than happy to help.
If you liked these preparation tips, check back next week for part 2 of the series: creating a killer in-hunt experience! I’ll show you how we keep participants engaged throughout the event while delivering long term results for an organization - what I call meaningful fun.