Feel the force

first_img Comments are closed. Feel the forceOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article It can be hard to drum up inspiring exercise fot team building events whichis why Ceridian Centrefile called in TV gardener Tommy Walsh and directed itsefforts to supporting charityIt sounds like a tough challenge to take a sales force of individuals, usedto working independently, and instil a team ethic. But for HR and payrollspecialists Ceridian Centrefile the answer was linking up with children’scharity NCH and drawing on the popularity of TV makeover programmes to create atwo-day teambuilding event. Seventy sales people were brought together in January and split into seventeams to carry out makeovers of three NCH family centres for vulnerable anddisabled children in South West England. They were supported by makeover expertTommy Walsh of TV’s Groundforce. “Our sales people are all over the country, often on the road orworking from home,” says Ceridian Centrefile HR manager Sharon Douglas,”so creating a team culture is a real challenge. “This event was an imaginative way of encouraging teamworking becauseeveryone taking part knew they were doing something of real value for thecommunity and that gave the exercise an extra edge.” As well as the fact that the company’s sales people are used to workingindependently there was the challenge of firing their enthusiasm. Beating cynicism “In the past we’ve done more traditional teambuilding events, liketreasure hunts and outdoor exercises,” says Ceridian events manager Roger Clark.”It can be difficult delivering training to people who have alreadybeen on lots of exercises and who can be a bit cynical. Telling them they weregoing to spend two days painting fences and planting gardens probably didn’tsound like much fun, but once they started and saw how worthwhile it was theyreally got into it.” Like many companies Ceridian Centrefile has been trying to develop a‘corporate social responsibility’ strategy, in other words becoming moreinvolved in supporting community activities, and the venture with NCH fits intothat strategy. Ceridian used events company Synapse to help organise the exercise. “Weknew that Ceridian had supported children’s charities in the past so wecontacted NCH to see if they had properties that needed renovating and whetherthe job could be done in the timescale,” says Synapse director CaroleYoung. Once the properties had been found Synapse recruited project managers from aWelsh TV makeover programme to plan what would need to be done and to preparethe sites. It also recruited Tommy Walsh to advise and support teams during theevent. The seven teams were given 36 hours to complete seven projects, agreed inconsultation with the charity staff and its service users. These ranged frominterior renovation and decoration to reclaiming and renovating outdoor spaces.Their efforts were judged by a panel of designers representing each of thefamily centres and awards were granted to the individuals and teamsdemonstrating the best team-building and leadership skills. Teams were marked on a variety of skills, ranging from co-operation andcreative thinking to time management and artistic interpretation. Clark says about £5,000 was spent on materials for each of the NCH centres.He declined to give the total cost of the event, but equated it to that ofsending the sales force on an external team-building exercise. In addition to the cost of materials the budget had to pay the eventsorganiser Synapse, the project managers brought in to prepare the sites andplan the work, a handyman on call for tricky jobs on each of the sites, andTommy Walsh. “The fact we were dealing with three sites made it more expensive, butthey weren’t too far apart,” says Clark. “To a certain extent you can spend as much as you like on somethinglike this, but the key element was having the project managers. Without them itwould not have been possible.” People taking part were given a questionnaire to assess their handymanskills so these could be distributed equally among the teams. The main aims of the exercise were to build team spirit among a group ofpeople whose contact with each other was usually restricted to the telephoneand e-mail, to give them confidence in achieving challenging goals and todemonstrate how working as a team can achieve much more than working anindividuals. One participant, customer sales manager Steve Giddings, says: “I’vedone team-building exercises before, but this was different because it involveddirectly impacting on others and at the end you saw you’d contributed tosomething that would benefit children with disabilities. “We’d all seen these makeover programmes so we were intrigued to seewhat it would be like in practice. “My team transformed the outdoor space at one of the centres, whichincluded shifting tons of soil. It was the sort of job that looked impossibleto do in the time allowed, but made you realise what can be achieved by ateam.” Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more