Recruitment Consultant James Bicknell discusses his experiences, and the benefits of taking the time to motivate a team in this way, from the perspective of the employee…

“Prior to starting with ClarkeWood Consulting one cold January morning, I’d typically worked with companies with a more traditional approach to staffing and topics like employer sponsored social events. As such, I’d tended to view them an unnecessary expenditure, which could have allowed resources to be allocated more effectively and was surprised to receive a call from my soon to be boss some weeks before, inviting me out for the ClarkeWood Christmas meal.

Having eaten with the new team, followed by a few drinks, I was surprised at how much I’d actually taken from the night. As a new employee of the company, it immediately allows you to feel more relaxed amongst your new colleagues, and to focus on the task at hand of learning your new role, and how to undertake it as effectively as possible. It took the apprehension out of the dreaded ‘first morning’ (one which would otherwise have been largely unproductive due to nerves.)

The following month our MD Lee, arranged for us to go bowling as a team followed by something to eat and a few drinks. With three of us having started with the company at the same time, the night really gave us the opportunity to gel as a team and share our experiences with the company so far. The positive impact on the team dynamic was immediately noticeable the following week. It allowed us to identify our strengths, where we could work together to develop and allowed for a friendlier, more relaxed atmosphere.

On a monthly basis since, there has always been at least one team social event, whether it’s a day at the races, or black tie charity event. Why? Because we’re a much stronger team for it. Such social events allow you and your team to discuss the inevitable challenges which arise in any busy working environment, in a relaxed atmosphere. They ensure your team get the time to "blow off steam" after a busy week and, most importantly, they allow your staff to build the kind of relationships with one another which mean they’ll enjoy their working day, and stay motivated because of it. As a team you respect your colleagues more for getting to know them on a personal level. The result? A more motivated team, pulling in the same direction, keen to do all they can to help one another meet and exceed the expectations of their customers. It also offers every member of the team another avenue of support at stressful times in their lives, whether they are personal or work-related. Through gaining a greater understanding of your colleagues on a personal level, you can identify signs of stress much sooner, thereby enabling a much swifter response and resolution of those issues.

Our most recent outing was to Network4Charity, an event raising money for the Education for the Children’s Foundation. With our own Victoria Taylor heavily involved in the organising of the night, there was a real buzz in the office in the run up to the event itself, and furthermore, it was great to spend some time getting to know a number of our clients who joined us on the night. With our upcoming attendance at an outdoor cinema at the Worcestershire County Cricket Club, I can honestly say, our approach to team building through events such as these, plays a massive part in the group effort to consistently provide the best possible service to our clients and candidates alike.

In short, yes, there’s an expenditure associated to sponsoring the "work hard, play hard" mentality within your team, but, the benefits of doing so are unquantifiable, and well worth it the long run. As a rule, people are good at what they enjoy doing, and your day job is certainly no different. Motivated staff are committed staff. They are happy to "put in the extra (maybe try go the extra mile)" when needed, work better together, and will stay with you for longer.”

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