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Team in the building

In recent years, the traditional annual team-building activity has evolved into an important and integrated component of HR policy. Funkey, a Ghent-based team-building platform offering more than 650 team-building experiences to companies, is confident in its positive impact. For corporate entities, there is the Funkey Bizz division, which Volvo Cars has recently enthusiastically embraced.

For us, team-building activities represent a way to focus on inclusion and collaboration, resulting in respect,” says Taina Verbesselt, HR Manager at Volvo Cars. “We believe that this builds the foundation of our productivity and contributes to the quality of our vehicles.”

Volvo Cars Ghent needs no introduction, but let’s simply state that, with a huge workforce and over 300 teams, it is one of the most significant economic players in Belgium. So, it’s not an easy task to find a team-building activity that can please every team. “We have 6,500 employees, which means a great deal of diversity. Funkey is connected with everything and everyone. That’s why they offer a wide range of activities, allowing each team to choose a team-building experience that brings them closer together,” Taina explains.

What is the importance of team building in the current economic and societal context?

Cobus Van Gheluwe, founder of Funkey, states: “The war for talent is a fact. Today, as an employer, you almost have to convince the applicant to come work for you, rather than the other way around. Especially for starters and junior positions, feeling comfortable within a company holds significant importance. Company culture plays a major role. If you can demonstrate that you are fostering a close and positive company culture through team building, this can enhance attractiveness and increase employee engagement.

Another factor driving the increasing popularity of team building in recent years is remote work. The distance between employees has grown, underscoring the importance of scheduling moments to meet and get to know each other.”

Team building provides a way of focusing on inclusion, collaboration, resulting in respect.

Taina Verbesselt

Taina adds: “In a production environment, you are mainly working individually, it’s not a team activity, and everyone is very focused. Breaks are short, making it challenging to foster team involvement. Digitalisation also has an important impact. We have a lot of long-standing employees and, on the other hand, there’s the new generation, which results in a noticeable generation gap. Often you hear: ‘Things were different in the past, we were more of a team, the younger generation is only focused on their phones.’ The need for team building and cultivating and motivating it is thus crucial.”

Why is an integrated team-building policy so appealing?

Cobus: “The usefulness of team building is now widely accepted and evident. Clients who come to us already know that they should incorporate this into their personnel policy. However, most team-building activities are still organised by a volunteer and not structurally integrated. An integrated team-building policy determines who, what, why, when, and how often. Not complex questions, but very important to carefully consider beforehand.

How do you ensure that it becomes successful? An integrated policy needs to be embraced by the entire company, aligned with company objectives, and tailored to the company culture. Furthermore, it needs to be flexible and customisable, so that it can be further adapted to a changing environment. A sustainable, long-term plan.”

Do you already see the effects of the new team-building policy within Volvo?

Cobus explains: “The immediate difference, of course, is that organising team building runs more smoothly and allows for a greater variety of activities. In the long term, we expect team spirit and productivity to increase, but it’s not something our clients effectively measure. Both team spirit and productivity are influenced by a variety of factors.”

“At Volvo, we see that it’s gaining traction and there are numerous inquiries coming in,” says Taina. “Teams are utilising it, and the feedback is positive. The use of Funkey Bizz is still in its early stages at Volvo, but we believe that, in the long run, it will certainly make a difference.”