Keep team bonding a tail-wagging time

Apr 01, 2008

Debbie Allaben Gair
Hosting special events for team members and their families can build better working relationships and strengthen the support system in your practice, says Debbie Allaben Gair, CVPM, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and president of Bridging the Gap in Sparta, Mich. And to ensure a good experience, make attendance optional and designate a manager to keep the atmosphere fun and positive. "Forcing employees to attend outings can cause resentment," Gair says. "And events can turn into complaint sessions when no one's watching."

If you're the manager on duty during a practice outing, watch people's body language. If they're leaning back, crossing their arms, or frowning, they're not enjoying themselves. The solution? Get creative to engage the entire group. "You may need to offer incentives, such as a paid day off or a gift card, to break the ice. But once people relax, they'll start having fun," Gair says.