Marketers are so focused on the details of their efforts, from planning and creating content, to analyzing campaigns, and tracking leads, that that they can easily lose sight of their goals and feel stressed at work. In fact, a total of 80% of Americans reported being stressed on the job.
On the bright side, CMO’s have the power to lead by example and reduce employees’ stress by infusing motivation and productivity back into the workforce. If they stop every now and again to foster happiness, collaboration, and communication among their employees, they will notice them transform into united and refreshed professionals. Through the occasional team-building activity, CMO’s can help a marketing team gain a new perspective, improve work relationships, and reinvigorate their efforts.
But approaching team building doesn’t have to be as cliché or boring as some companies have made it out to be. It can be simple, informative, and imaginative. Since marketing departments know how to maintain a strong balance between data-driven strategies and creative thinking, team building can involve technology or even be integrated into everyday tasks.
Here are some examples and exercises that CMO’s can try out with their team to generate better outcomes in the long run.
Learning for Happiness
Employees who are happy are 12% more productive, help their companies outperform competitors by 20%, and are 7X more likely to fully engage in their work. To attain employee happiness, CMO’s should provide learning opportunities.
Learning is closely linked to happiness in the brain. As new synapses fire when learning something, the brain experiences a sense of pleasure. And when the brain experiences something positive, the nucleus accumbens is activated, accelerating the learning process.
To prompt this joyous cycle, learning should be integrated into every marketer’s job. As opposed to solely learning how to use a new marketing automation system or to analyze this quarter’s performance, marketers should learn new information and skills outside of their sphere so that they can apply them in their daily tasks.
The following activities provide great opportunities for employees to learn something new as a team:
- Attend a seminar. Attending a seminar related (either directly or indirectly) to marketers’ industry will teach new lessons and incite fresh conversations among the team. It can also enhance how teams already perform their tasks.
- Invite in an expert. Inviting an expert to speak about a completely unrelated topic to employees’ field of expertise will encourage them to think about different industries and how marketing can borrow ideas and tactics from diverse places. This expert can even be the company’s CTO who can explain trends and advancements in technology and how they impact marketers’ role.
- Tour at a factory. Taking a tour at any sort of factory, like a brewery, is a fun way to escape the daily norm. Learning how beer, candy, or ice cream is made brings people together and exposes them to something they probably didn’t know before.
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Communicating for Collaboration
Perhaps the most important quality of a well-oiled team is communication. A team with stellar communication skills can actively work through issues and arrive at success at a faster rate. Teams with poor communication encounter far more interpersonal obstacles, end up having to fix or redo more projects, and develop deep resentment toward one another.
If a team already has an environment of open communication, there’s always an opportunity to test its strength. If communication around a specific issue needs improvement, CMO’s can start off small and then reach the underlying problem. The following games (although they might seem silly) allow teams to exercise their communication skills.
- Just listen. This game forces two people to discuss a subject, with the intention of fully listening to the other person. The first person gives his/her opinion about the provided topic for two minutes, and then the partner recaps it before giving his/her opinion. Through this activity, employees can develop better listening skills, which are crucial for effective communication, and can help coworkers get to know one another on a deeper level.
- Blindfold guidance. This is a fun obstacle course relay. Setting up some type of obstacle course either in the office or at an offsite location. Then creating teams of two people. One person stands at one end of the course and must tell the blindfolded person on the other end how to navigate the course. They must only use words. To throw in another twist, players can be prohibited from using certain words. This makes people think more deeply about how to communicate instructions.
- Digital trivia. If employees are scattered across the world, CMO’s can still perform team-building activities online. They can find a digital trivia platform or simply create an email game. Asking everyone on the team a single question, then sending out the answers without attributing names, allows everyone to try and guess which answer fits each coworker. The player who gives the highest number of correct answers has to ask the following question.
- Tug-of-War. This game is physically demanding but it also requires teams to communicate between each other in order to beat opponents (who could comprise of employees from another company). The key is to divide up the teams in a relatively fair way.
Playing for Fun
Finding ways to build teamwork throughout the workday promotes a community that’s willing to always turn to each other for answers and to celebrate successes together. One way teambuilding can manifest itself within CMO’s marketing efforts is building a social advocacy program.
An advocacy program creates a playful environment in which employees are driven to reach two common goals – amplify their company’s reach on social media and establish thought leadership. This, in turn, helps to promote high morale and connect between team members.
Furthermore, advocacy opens up a window of gamification opportunities that CMO’s can take advantage of. For example, having an advocacy leaderboard will create a transparent work culture by enabling employees to view the clicks and shares generated by each member. This way CMO’s can quickly identify top brand ambassadors in order to create some friendly competition among them. As a result, employees will be extremely engaged in the program and empowered to succeed.
There’s no secret recipe to being a successful CMO. It’s a matter of being involved and taking the time to evaluate how well teams work together and what additional skills they may need to improve or progress. A CMO should initiate team-building activities to increase employee motivation, improve company culture, and reach his/her marketing goals. An ideal way to do this is through social advocacy. If an advocacy program is planned and executed thoroughly, then CMO’s will see a dramatic rise in employee happiness, communication, and collaboration.