Two years ago we (Carol & Jill) started this company with only a few clipboards, pieces of paper and a passion for bringing people together. Today we're excited to announce that as of September 5, 2017, Distel Wolfe is changing our name to GO Scavenger Hunts.
This is incredibly exciting news for our company. The Distel Wolfe story has always been one of growth: We started off less than three years ago with paper and clipboards in downtown Grand Rapids; today, we’re running events all over the country, using smartphone technology that allows teams, friends and family to connect and have fun together in new and creative ways.
In addition for recognizing our new name as a catalyst for further growth, it's also worth mentioning that the name "GO Scavenger Hunts" better reflects who we are as an organization. While most of you know us as creative team building professionals, many others know us by our “friends and family” sister company, GR Scavenger Hunt. By renaming the company, we can now bring both sides of the business under one name.
In the end, we know this change will allow us to design more creative hunts, better serve our amazing clients (and we have some of the best clients in the WORLD!) and give you even more value.
We appreciate your continued confidence in us and your support. Without you, GO Scavenger Hunts would not be experiencing the amazing growth we’ve seen over the past three years. We look forward to continuing to design wildly creative events that bond companies, communities and friends.
Follow GO Scavenger Hunts on social media:
Sign up for GO Scavenger Hunts newsletter!
“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
At Distel Wolfe, we’re big dog fans. Carol has two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels — brothers Gatsby and Brody, and I have a labrador/poodle mix named Howie. In fact, we are so much dog people that when we first started our company, we (briefly) looked at potentially naming ourselves using some variation of a dog theme.
As dog lovers, we sometimes tend to see the world through our dog's’ eyes. That means the work we do with companies and nonprofits. And often we’re struck with how our scavenger hunt team building activities reminds us of our four-legged friends. In that spirit, we’re listing the seven ways our dogs taught us about team building:
1. Always look for the best in people
It says something about Howie that one of the hardest things about owning him is how much he LOVES everyone. He just can’t help himself when it comes to meeting strangers, and has to introduce himself. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to be friends, but that’s ok. He just adjusts and moves on.
That’s what you need to do with your team, to the greatest extent as possible. While you can offer constructive feedback on performance (assuming you’re a manager, or at least have a good working relationship) assume that your colleagues are doing the best they can. This is one of the fastest ways to build trust, and improve team performance.
2. Get your paws dirty
Want to guarantee that you’ll have a great time at a scavenger hunt? Commit to putting yourself out there. Dogs know how important the power of play is, and they take every opportunity to put themselves to run, jump and roll around in the dirt. (Also, they never pass up a joyride.) We should spend some time thinking about how we can follow their lead in this respect. But getting our paws dirty can mean different things to different people. We may reach the same goal but in different ways.
Carol’s dogs Brody and Gatsby experience life differently, each offering a different lesson. “When taking my dogs for a walk, Brody calmly stands while I hook his collar to the leash while Gatsby completes backflip and cannot contain his excitement,” says Carol. “Once we start walking, Brody stays by my side walking with a big smile on his face content to be with his pack. Gatsby runs like a loose chicken darting from side to side. If we pass a lake, pond or mud puddle, Gatsby ventures in and if possible, takes a swim. If we are lucky enough to find something like a dead frog or freshly laid mulch, Gatsby rolls in it, taking in the full sensory experience.” But Carol says it turns out Brody’s calmness and ability to connect people brings big rewards too. “When a stranger comes along, Gatsby hides and Brody takes the lead, sitting attentively while getting all the attention.”
Just like Brody and Gatsby (and Howie), people learn and experience life in their own unique way. Some of us are comfortable meeting new people, others not so much. Some can learn from reading about a subject, others are tactile and need to touch and see how something works. Our experiences make up who we are and how we think. One approach isn’t better than the other, so be open to seeing things from another person’s perspective.
3. Adapt and thrive
Ever had a dog that’s been skunked? After the initial shock wears off, you probably realized that you’re really quite angry with your beloved pooch. It’s a huge process to try and remove the smell, and it can be weeks before your dog, and even your house, begins to smell normal.
But eventually you do get back to normal, and you forgive and move on (of course, your dog was probably back to normal 30 minutes after it happened, and can’t figure out why you haven’t done the same).
In life, lessons aren’t always as clear as being sprayed by a skunk in the face. But when things go wrong, it’s best to figure out a solution as quickly as possible, and keep your eye on the prize. If we can learn lessons together during our team building, we’ll be better off.
4. Tailor your approach, based on the person
Once on a backpacking trip with Howie on the Manistee River Loop, I learned just how adaptable my dog can be. We’d just packed up camp early one morning and were hiking down the trail, and stumbled upon a giant porcupine standing in the path. My first instinct was to grab my dog and jerk him back close to me — I was afraid his over eager friendliness would get him a face full of quills. But despite Howie’s tendency to be friendly towards all creatures big and small, something held him back. He let out a little growl, but stayed close by me until the porcupine meandered off into the brush. Thank god my pooch somehow knew that friendliness was not going to work in this situation — we were miles from any kind of medical care.
Often in the workplace we have to tailor our approach to our audience. Sometimes a little caution is better than immediately bounding up to someone with unbridled enthusiasm. Certainly we see this with our scavenger hunt teams who approach strangers to help them complete a challenge. Sometimes folks tell them “no,” and they have to find someone else who is willing to have a little fun and help a group of people out.
5. Forgive and move on
Our dogs love us unconditionally. So if we don’t manage to walk them as often as we used to, or leave them locked up longer than they deserve, we feel bad. But the great thing about dogs is that all that is immediately forgotten. They’re just so damn happy that you’re there, and any slights or misgivings are immediately forgotten as soon as you open the door.
Effective team building requires that you make mistakes. You’re not going to get everything right the first time. It’s the competition, the working together that’s the fun part! So make the mistakes, learn from them and move on. As we like to say at DW, “There is no failure, only feedback.”
6. Give everyone a chance — but be fiercely loyal to the pack
My kids joke that Howie’s love for me borders on fanatical. They can be scratching his belly, giving him treats, throwing the ball — all things he loves — but the minute I walk in the door, all he cares about is me and what I’m doing.
That’s what we often see with our teams. They love playing the game, interacting with strangers, and even occasionally helping each other out with challenges. They convince the more introverted team members to do some pretty crazy things. But at the end of the day, it’s all done in the spirit of gaining points for their team, and reaching the goal of having a really great time together.
7. Be here now.
My dog never has anywhere to be, except right where I am. I have his full attention pretty much any time I want it. This is especially evident when I come home from a long trip (or even just a short trip to the grocery store) — the joy! The exuberance! It’s like he’s saying, “It’s YOU! I was HOPING it would be you!”
Before every hunt, I make it a point to tell all the teams, “Look, you have a lot going on in your lives. And not just at work. Forget about that dumb thing your spouse said this morning, forget that your kid is making you crazy with her attitude, forget all those emails and work projects that are looming on deadline. Right now — right here — I want you to be present. Do yourself a favor and go all in. You’ve only got 90 minutes to do this hunt, so you might as well enjoy it.”
What do you think?
“It’s not the size of the dogs in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight Eisenhower said that (or maybe it was Mark Twain — attribution is a tricky thing). What has your dog taught you about life and work? Is there anything you’ve seen a dog do that we’d be well-served to emulate?
Ready to get your pack out and working together? Contact us, we'd love to put together a "run with the big dogs" hunt for your team!
The college students I teach often use the word "adult" as a verb — as in, "Adulting is hard." And it's true! Paying bills, showing up on time, putting other people's needs in front of our own (this is especially difficult for women) is hard work. That's why as we grow up and take on more responsibilities, it's easy to lose sight of the power of a child-like mindset, and how it can actually improve our productivity. Let's look at the research that tells us why.
In what might be one of my favorite research studies, scientists at North Dakota State University asked participating students, divided into two groups, to imagine their classes for the next day were cancelled. Then the researchers distributed a questionnaire to both groups asking:
They then had both groups complete the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT), which measures creativity. It includes tasks like asking participants to come up with ways to make a simple toy more fun, or look at a picture and guess the story behind it.
So how did thinking like a seven-year-old change the results? The data was pretty impressive: students who approached the TTCT after being asked to imagine how they'd spend their day as a second grader scored significantly higher on the creativity test. The data seem to point to the fact that sometimes a simple action like switching to a "play" mindset allows us to be more creative, innovative and find more meaning in our work.
How to add more play in the workplace
Silicon Valley is famous for playful, often goofy, benefits in the workplace: Twitter provides a rock climbing wall for employees, Google workers can play volleyball on company courts, and countless other startups have added foosball tables and office chair hockey tournaments to their list of perks. But honestly, these amenities aren't practical for most companies. But fear not! Here are a few more sensible strategies to help ourselves and our employees achieve a more playful mindset:
Kristen Cozad of the National Institute for Play puts it best: "Many [people] grew up being told that to be good enough, to be competitive and find good jobs, to belong and have meaning, they had to be continuously measured and managed and meet standardized objectives," she said. "But now the rules have changed. Fifty percent of jobs will be lost in the next ten years to robotics and AI. Those who were measured and managed and driven by extrinsic reward and validation systems will now have to re-create themselves, find their way through play."
Sounds like pretty good justification for more play in the workplace if you ask me!
"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." — Plato
My students are right — adulting IS hard — which is why we shouldn't be so quick to make our workplaces into bastions of drudgery. Instead, adding some play to your workplace might be the perfect antidote to absenteeism, presenteeism and lack of innovation.
We've created a way to remove all the forced, lame elements that typically come with team building, and left in all the good stuff — like building trust and deep engagement: We do this through uniquely-designed scavenger hunts.
Free scavenger hunt giveaway! Win a team building hunt for 15 in honor of national Scavenger hunt day on May 24
In honor of National Scavenger Hunt day on May 24, Distel Wolfe is giving away a free scavenger hunt to an office team of 15! All you have to do is sign up for our newsletter, and on May 24 we’ll draw a random subscriber’s name to win!
(Want a bonus entry? Complete the social media challenge from our May newsletter and we'll add an extra entry with your name on it in the drawing!)
SHOW PRIZE RULES AND REGULATIONS
I. NAME OF SPONSOR
Distel Wolfe Events (hereinafter referred to as “DWE”). Win a scavenger hunt for up to 15 people from your company.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Eligibility is limited to persons at least 18 years of age, with a valid e-mail address, who are legal residents of Canada and the United States or its territories and possessions. The giveaway is void where prohibited or restricted by law and is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.
The following individuals are ineligible: Any individuals (including but not limited to DWE employees, consultants, independent contractors, and interns) who have, within the past six months, performed services for DWE, any organizations responsible for sponsoring, fulfilling, administering, advertising or promoting the sweepstakes or supplying the prize, and their respective parent, subsidiary, affiliated and successor companies, and immediate family and household members of such individuals, are not eligible to enter or play. “Immediate family members” shall mean parents, step-parents, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, or spouses. “Household members” shall mean people who share the same residence at least three months a year.
III. HOW TO ENTER AND PARTICIPATE
Beginning at 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday, May 8, 2017, through 12:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, visit http://www.distelwolfe.com/newsletter to sign up for the Distel Wolfe monthly newsletter.
IV. SELECTION OF SWEEPSTAKES WINNERS
Winners: All emails on the Distel Wolfe email list by 12:00 pm will be placed in a drawing. A winner will be selected at random. The random drawing will be conducted by DWE, whose decisions are final. One (1) Grand Prize Winner will be selected at random. Odds of winning will depend upon the total number of eligible entries received.
DWE is not responsible for electronic transmission errors resulting in omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction or unauthorized access or for technical, network, electronic, computer, hardware or software malfunctions or limitations of any kind, or inaccurate transmissions of or failure to receive entry information by DWE or presenter on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof.
If for any reason the Internet portion of the program is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Promotion, DWE reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Promotion. DWE reserves the right to select winners from eligible entries received as of the termination date. DWE further reserves the right to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process. DWE may prohibit an entrant from participating in a Promotion if it determines that said entrant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion by cheating, hacking, deception or other unfair playing practices or intending to abuse, threaten or harass other entrants. Caution: Any attempt by a participant to deliberately damage any Web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, DWE reserves the right to seek damages from any such participant to the fullest extent of the law.
VII. PRIZES AND PRIZE NOTIFICATION
The Grand Prize Winner will be contacted by DWE via the email account used to enter the contest. Prize winners must respond to this email within (30) thirty days in order to claim their prize. If no response is received within (30) thirty days, the prize may be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. For the name of the winner (available after May 24, 2017), check http://www.distelwolfe.com or send an email to email@example.com.
VIII. PERSONAL INFORMATION and PUBLICITY
Your email, first name, last name and physical mailing address will be collected for verification purposes only. Subject to applicable law. Void where prohibited. You agree to allow DWE to post your first name, last name, or initial of your last name and state of resident for publicity purposes on distelwolfe.com and on DWE’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/distelwolfe
IX. CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION
Participants agree to be bound by these rules and all decisions of the prize judges, whose decision will be final. Prize must be claimed within thirty (30) days of first attempted notification or will be forfeited. If, for any reason, the fairness or integrity of the prize giveaway becomes compromised, DWE reserves the right to terminate or modify the giveaway, and to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process or the administration of the giveaway. By accepting the prize, the winner agrees that DWE may use the winner’s first name, last name or initial of the last name and state of residence for advertising and promotional purposes without further consideration, unless prohibited by law. By participating in the contest, the participant agrees that DWE, it’s subsidiaries, its affiliates and all of DWE’s officers, directors, employees and representatives, will have no liability whatsoever for, and will be held harmless for any and all liability for any injury, loss or damages of any kind to persons, including death, and property, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of the prize or participation in this contest or any prize related activity. Void where prohibited.
Distel Wolfe Events, PO Box 6081, Grand Rapids, MI 49516
One of the best things about having a scavenger hunt business is people's reactions when we tell them what we do. Some are shocked: "You get paid to do that?" Others are confused: "That's a job?" (One of the best jobs in the world!) But frankly, most seem delighted: "That sounds amazing! What a fun job you must have!" And we always nod, high-five each other and say, "Yeah, it actually is pretty great."
Because it's such an "out-there" kind of profession, we do a lot of question-answering (which is another great part of the job). Here are the top 5 questions we get about our team building scavenger hunts.
1. What kinds of challenges do you use?
We've written a good overview on our "Kinds of Challenges" page, but suffice to say that we try to be creative as possible with our challenges, and look to our clients and the world around us for inspiration. Is today "National Grass Is Greener On The Other Side of The Fence" day (an actual day)? We'll create a challenge based on that. Is there something the city is known for (our hometown is famous for its craft beer)? Is there a new art exhibit in town? A famous historical landmark? What's the latest viral video craze? We bring all these things together to make challenges that ask people to be their most creative, fun-filled selves.
But it's not just fun stuff (though we like to think all of our challenges fall somewhere on the fun spectrum). For new employee orientation, we have teams learn something about the departments where they'll be interacting the most. We've designed Pay it Forward hunts where participants solve clues to earn items for care packages. The challenges we create for your hunt all depend on what you want to accomplish with the hunt.
2. Do I have to be super-competitive?
No. While we love our competitive teams who will do almost anything to win, we find most teams just enjoy the creative nature of the activities and don't even check in to see where they stand on the points. Don't get us wrong, we love winning and those teams who go above and beyond to complete a challenge are some of our favorite people, but we also love the group who starts of awkward and skeptical, and by the end grudgingly admit they had a really good time.
3. How much does it cost?
Once people understand how the hunt works, the next question we always get is around how much it costs. The answer depends on a few factors, like how many participants you have (the more people, the lower the price per person), whether you need us to be on-site to facilitate the hunt and how custom you'd like the hunt to be. Prices generally start around $22.50/person (for a standard, non-facilitated hunt), but we can reduce the price if you've got more people (and increase it if you want a bunch of bells and whistles to add on to the hunt, like designing an "Amazing Race" style hunt.)
4. Can this REALLY help my team bond?
Absolutely! Research shows that surprise improves happiness, physical movement improves mood and moments of authenticity among team members builds stronger, more effective teams. Our hunts and their challenges are all designed around bring people together in new and creative ways. Of course, a lot depends on the type of culture you have when you get back to the office, but our hunts create an excellent place to start when it comes to have teams that truly enjoy working together.
5. Can our pregnant/elderly/recovering from surgery employee play?
Yes! Plenty of challenges can be completed by just being creative. In fact, our teams that have one or more people who are physically not as strong as the others sometimes have an edge, because they're forced to problem solve and be innovative by sheer will power. Those are some of our favorite teams!
Got more questions? We got more answers! We're happy to set up a free, no obligation demo if you're interested in learning more.
This is a guest post written by our intern, Jade Villanueva (one of the coolest millennials we know).
The cubicle neighborhood has never really appealed to me as a dream workspace, and as a millennial, I know I’m not alone. My creativity, productivity, and motivation all suffer when I’m packed into a desk that’s big enough for an 8 year old. I need a comfortable chair, room to spread my things out, some natural light or warm lighting, and music. I tend to channel productivity and creativity differently by changing up my workspace. Instead of the traditional cubicle, today we’re seeing coffee shops, bright offices with large windows, and bubble chairs. Millennials have been taking over the workplace and changing corporate culture and the workplace dynamic to better suit the needs of employees. Not everyone works efficiently in the same setting, and millennials are voicing the issue and working to change it.
Earlier generations didn’t usually speak up about work culture, because a hierarchy was set in place and a better route hadn’t been discovered. There’s still a hierarchy, but the dynamic of workplace culture has become more collective and I give credit to the millennials entering the workplace. We’re not afraid to speak our minds and we’re more understanding when it comes to different people and how they function. Giving people options for them to give better results is totally worth the change in work environment. There are situations where we’ll be unable to choose where we’d like to work from day to day, but it’s important for employees to have some sort of control on how they work. Giving your workers at least a little of bit of control of their environment could greatly boost work culture and productivity. Happy employees means happy workplace and better results!
Be More Like These Guys
Austin-based Whole Foods Markets allows their employees to use laptops so they can work from anywhere in the building, whether it's from a hammock on an open floor or a standing desk. Google is another company that values their employees’ need for productive work spaces. Google has a person whose job it is to make sure that Google’s workspaces fit their employees personalities and meets all of their needs. Google wants their employees to own their workspace and not limit their potential.
It’s important when finding a place to work whether it’s an agency or corporation, that aligns with your values and allows you to work in an environment that maximizes your potential, productivity, motivation, and creativity!
At Distel Wolfe, we love interns. In fact, we couldn't do the work we do without them! This semester we're incredibly lucky to have Jade, a Grand Valley State University senior majoring in communications studies. Welcome aboard, Jade!
What were you like in high school?
In high school I was friends with everyone and I was very study oriented, I enjoyed playing tennis and hanging out with my friends on the weekend. A sort of funny story is that I signed up for Biology 2 during my junior year and I was so excited because my best friends also signed up for the class and I loved biology. Well I came to find out that it was a dissection lab and every week we dissected a new thing. We dissected frogs, squids, starfish, and many other things. I hated the class because dissecting things and the smells made me nauseous so every week I would make my group members dissect and I would just fill out our lab manuals.
What new thing could you teach me in 5 minutes?
I could teach you the arabic alphabet in 5 minutes or less! There are 28 letters and once you know the letters you can sound out words!
What inspires you?
I’m really inspired by creative people like myself who aren’t afraid to speak up or show their craft. I’m inspired by people who will do what they love and they aren’t afraid of what people say or how they perceive them. They care about what they’re doing and they have confidence in what they’re doing. They’re able to create conversation, and inspire others to not only be good at something but to hone their skills and perfect them.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be successful PR pro when I grow up (which is soon), I want to be able to use my skills to help companies and their brands get their messages to their audience. I also want to help brands analyze their messages and how people are perceiving them.
Why did you apply for this internship? What are you most excited about for this experience?
I applied for this internship because I’m in the mentality where I want to learn anything and everything. I think internships are so important to getting experience with working in a real-life situation. And this internship in particular sounded exciting and fun, but I also was interested in learning a whole different side of communications industry. I’m most excited to see how this internship will expand my knowledge of communications as well as business. I’m excited to learn new skills from two entrepreneurs!
Attracting top talent is hard work — but workforce talent isn't the only thing that hiring managers and corporate recruiters need to worry about. Internship programs have at least as much of an impact on a company's long-term effectiveness — if not more — that traditional benefit packages. So how can organizations maximize their impact by designing effective intern engagement programs (while still saving time and money)?
Comprehensive orientations are as good a place to start as any. When done right, these day (and sometimes week)-long programs expose interns to your company's corporate culture, as well as its values and expectations. It's also helpful to pair interns with carefully selected managers who can provide one-on-one mentoring to the interns, as well as assign them meaningful projects with real-world learning opportunities. Of course it's also helpful if you can be thoughtful and strategic about your intern selection process in the first place.
All of these methods can help quickly and effectively create an authentic internship experience that is satisfying for both the company and the intern.
Yet, as with all the best laid plans, many interns choose not to return or accept full time employment.
What's missing from intern engagement?
To better connect with this generation, today's most progressive companies are turning to designing enjoyable, deliberate experiences that move beyond corporate-speak, long, ineffective meetings and outdated performance evaluations. Instead, these carefully created experiences give interns the opportunity to authentically connect not only with each other (building a network of supportive future colleagues within the organization), but also with the culture of the company.
What doesn't work with interns
Thomas Edison famously said, "I have not failed. I've only found 10,000 ways that won't work." When it comes to intern engagement, there are plenty of activities that often simply don't work. Here are just a few:
Why scavenger hunts work
It's a concept that's been around for awhile — think summer camp and even pirate treasure maps — but it's also a concept that, when combined with smartphone technology, we've found to be extremely effective at engaging millennials (who love both tech and feeling like part of the team). Scavenger hunts work because you can use a combination of friendly competition and your interns' natural curiosity, and create challenges that integrate your unique products, services and culture. Suddenly you have an effective, meaningful and frankly FUN activity that the interns actually care about.
Here's why these hunts can be so effective:
1. (Thoughtfully) choose the teams.
More and more of today's companies rely on effective teams in order to maintain their competitive edge. So why not initiate your interns with an activity that has teamwork as it's foundational concept? You can choose to place interns from different departments on teams so they can learn about each other, or pair departmental teams together so that they have a strong, immediate bonding experience from the very beginning. Either way, the dividends for this pay off months and even years down the line, when interns reach out to each other because they have a connection. Alternatively, we can help you create teams according to DISC profiles or based on work location.
2. Design meaningful scavenger hunt challenges.
Although having teams complete challenges that are simply fun and enjoyable are part of a great intern scavenger hunt, it's also important to include challenges that speak to your unique culture. Perhaps the teams need to find a local building that has a connection to your organization, or seek out a work of public art that the team feels best represents one of your company's core values.
3. Integrate technology — carefully.
We've found experiences are most meaningful (and run more smoothly) for interns when you can use technology as a tool to make real connections. Scavenger hunts are now high tech and app technology has replaced handwritten clues on a piece of paper. For millennials who have grown up with technology, this is a must. Millennials are also experts at taking selfies and documenting their life on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook….so why not engage them to learn about the co-workers with the tools they use everyday?
4. Get them out of their comfort zone.
We've all experienced the discomfort — and subsequent learning — that comes with doing something we've never done before. It's one of the best ways to learn and grow. Scavenger hunts allow interns to try something new and expand where they feel comfortable. With support from teammates, scavenger hunts allows for the group to offer encouragement and support which leads to stronger work relationships.
5. Engage their creativity.
Millennials are a naturally creative, innovative and optimistic group. So give them some creative challenges that force them to find new and surprising ways to solve problems. Finding a rock in the shape of New Jersey won't do much to foster working relationships — but asking team members to discover what 5 things they have in common will create real connections.
6. Learn by doing.
Known as implicit learning, many of us learn best when we integrate physical movement with lessons learned — when we can do, see and feel the problem solving. Reading a brochure to learn that your company was founded in 1967 is a much less effective learning experience than asking finding the number 1967 on a building. Now your interns are actually working together, and regardless if they find the number or not , they will remember the date.
Intern scavenger hunts work well because they start with a format almost everyone is familiar with — the scavenger hunt — and gives them a twist. Not just fun and games, scavenger hunts ARE a really great time, but they're also a really great way to provide an experience that interns won't soon forget — and will have them coming back for more.
Need help designing a hunt that's both fun and effective?
It can say a lot about you — the job you wanted to have as a kid, but never ended up actually pursuing. Maybe it says something about dreams deferred, but more likely it speaks to what kind of a kid you were (and thus, what kind of adult you turned out to be). It's a question we often ask teams to contemplate during our hunts, and while we see a lot of astronauts, teachers and superheroes, we also get the occasional rodeo rider and exotic dancer submissions as well. Here's to who we were as kids, and dreams never quite achieved — and the amazing people we've become today:
Slideshow: What I wanted to be when I grew up:
Millennials are famously known for blurring the lines between the professional and the personal, and that extends to having friendships at work. While that tendency may clash with previous generations who prefer to keep their heads down and not share too much at work, research shows that having a best friend at work may be one of the best things you can do for your career (assuming you can find someone who's a match).
What the research says
"Gallup, one of the biggest organizations that studies workplace culture, uses its Q12 measurement tool to gauge "the twelve key dimensions that describe great workgroups" — essentially, how effectively companies are engaging their employees. One of the most-talked-about question is item number 10: "I Have a Best Friend at Work." According to Gallup, this is one of their most controversial questions, but it's also one of the most powerful ways to differentiate highly productive workgroups. As it turns out, employees who have a work BFF were:
Get workplace effectiveness tips delivered right to your inbox:
Why your work BFF is important
It turns out that having a work BFF has a bunch of benefits:
Friends have increased trust
According to Stephen M. R. Covey's book The Speed of Trust, when trust goes down, both costs and inefficiencies increase. In today's environment of constant change — mergers & acquisitions, reorgs, steady turnover (something else work friendships help reduce) — a work BFF could offer employees the best defense against stress, isolation and disengagement.
Acquaintances have worse communication
Research shows that acquaintances who work on projects together prefer to work alone & communicate only when necessary. Acquaintances are also less likely that friends to ask for help or point out mistakes.
Better feedback when things get off track
If you're friends with a co-worker, defensiveness often takes a back seat. We're more likely to accept and act on constructive criticism from people we like and trust — Pam is much more likely to let Jim know that he left out a bullet point on an important client presentation if they have a solid working friendship.
More committed team members
An organization's success or failure is closely related to the motivation of its employees, and employee motivation is directly related to job commitment. Often it feels like there's more on the line with friendships (as opposed to customers). If you know that your lack of motivation or commitment is going to negatively affect your friends, you're much less likely to drop the ball.
Encouragement is a natural byproduct of employees who also happen to be friends — we want the people we like and trust to succeed. Our friends who help move us forward when we feel fear, isolation and overwhelm.
It's clear that our work BFFs do more than just save a spot for us in the breakroom or let us borrow their staplers — they cover for us when family emergencies strike, and offer a sympathetic ear when we falter. Work best friends can make the difference between a job you hate — and a job that you're willing to invest in.
Want to help your team find their own work BFF?
A high-tech scavenger hunt might be just the thing!
Co-founder Jill Hinton Wolfe is a communicator, entrepreneur and Army veteran who is passionate about designing surprising and unique experiences for her clients.