Team-building is one of the best investments an employer can make in their business. It facilitates teamwork, improves communication, boosts people’s problem-solving abilities, and fosters healthy competition. Like scaffolding around a house, it literally helps you build a team from the ground up.
But you know all this already. You’ve heard it said a thousand times before. What you’re looking for now is proof! What evidence is there to back up the supposed value of this investment? Today, we’re going through 15 compelling team building statistics, facts, and figures that demonstrate its worth (and shed light on the state of the industry as a whole).
Top team building statistics (cite them for free!)
From research revealing the need for team-building to statistics proving its effectiveness, we’ve split the coming list of team-building statistics into sections to make it easier to digest. Feel free to use these facts and figures for whatever purpose you have in mind! To cite them online, link to https://www.surfoffice.com/blog/teambuilding-statistics – preferably using the text “team building statistics.”
Statistics showing the value of team-building
Bonding. Conflict resolution. Results. Read on for our favorite statistics proving the value and effectiveness of team-building activities.
1. Familiarity is proven to boost performance
Familiarity may breed contempt in some situations. However, when it comes to performance, it’s central to success. For example, one study1 found that cardiac surgeons performed significantly better (as measured by patient mortality) when they conducted more procedures at the same hospital vs. different hospitals. In short, becoming familiar with the team led to improved outcomes.
This is relevant because, in many ways, team-building can be defined as a process of co-workers getting more familiar with each other! Through games like “two truths, one lie” and “Minefield,” they learn about one another, find common ground, and develop trust. Workplace performance enjoys a boost as a result.
2. 90% of employers say a sense of community is key to success
In a recent Gusto survey2, almost all employers agreed that developing a sense of community at work contributed to their success. Enter the potential value of team-building, which exists almost exclusively to bring people together! Whether you play a quick game of “human knot” or go on a week-long team-building retreat, these activities inevitably create that sought-after sense of community.
As a quick aside, 84% of employees in the same survey said fostering a sense of community was important to their employers. The result? Any efforts you put into this team-building endeavor won’t go unnoticed!
3. Socializing as a team improves communication patterns by 50%
Over a decade ago, Harvard Business Review published an article entitled The New Science of Building Great Teams3, in which the author notes how important social time is to team performance. Apparently, this single factor can account for over “50% of positive changes in communication patterns.”
Of course, there’s much more to effective team-building events than the social element. Yet there’s also no denying that it’s a crucial puzzle piece! Co-workers get to meet and hang out in informal settings, engaging in conversation as they go. In effect, communication improves directly and indirectly. The actual activities are often designed to hone this key skill, while the social aspect does it automatically.
4. A sense of belonging reduces employee turnover
That same Gusto survey2 we mentioned earlier also found that 54% of employees had stayed in jobs longer than “their best interest” because of a strong sense of belonging. In other words, being and feeling like part of the team was enough to stop them from leaving! Conversely, 52% had either left or strongly considered leaving past positions because that wasn’t the case.
Thus, when done right, team-building can reduce employee turnover – another example of how it can pay for itself. After all, not only do job vacancies have an opportunity cost, but the hiring process can also be time-consuming and expensive. Given that 37% of employees say working with a great team “is the most effective way to retain strong employees,” investing in the quality of yours is a sensible step.
5. Workplace best friends boost engagement among women
Having your best friend in the office would probably make you less inclined to work, right? Wrong! Evidence from Gallup4 suggests the opposite – at least among women. Indeed, one article notes that female employees who have a best friend in the workplace are twice as likely to be engaged at work versus women who don’t.
Now, we’re not claiming team-building exercises will turn employees into best friends overnight (or at all, for that matter!). But by spending quality time together, having fun, talking, laughing, trusting, and learning more about each other, they will grow closer. And if the Gallup research is anything to go off, then the relationships formed along the way should lead to newfound engagement.
6. Expect reduced turnover, fewer safety incidents, and greater productivity
This team-building statistic comes from Gallup5 data, too. Apparently, just 30% of employees in the US strongly agree that their opinions seem to matter at work. When that number goes up to 60%, though, businesses can enjoy a:
- 27% drop in employee turnover
- 40% drop in safety incidents
- 12% boost in productivity
Gallup5 discusses these figures in the context of what’s called “psychological safety,” or “a climate in which people are comfortable being (and expressing) themselves.” As psychological safety improves, employees should be more likely to express themselves and feel like their opinions matter, prompting those valuable benefits.
Team-building activities naturally boost psychological safety. They’re a chance to mingle in a casual setting, with nothing but fun, togetherness, and group learning on the menu.
7. Science proves that collaboration supercharges performance
Over the years, a wide range of scientific studies have investigated the benefits of teamwork. For example, a 2014 Stanford Study6 found that participants who were primed to act collaboratively worked on a challenging puzzle for 64% longer than control groups, saying they’d done so because they found it interesting. Their engagement and success rates were higher, too, while fatigue was lower.
What’s more, these participants weren’t even working together! They’d simply been exposed to cues that signaled an opportunity to collaborate. Here lies the power of collaboration – the mere perception of it can boost performance. Similarly, another study described by Forbes7 revealed that companies that promote collaborative working are 5 times more likely to perform at a high level. The conclusion?
Because collaboration’s at the heart of team building, doing these activities with your employees should make them perform better in the workplace.
8. Team-building helps remote teams outperform colocated ones
Many people continue to believe traditional in-office teams are more effective than remote ones. And they can be. However, even research from back in 2009 proved the opposite can also be true – especially when factors pertaining to team-building are present.
Frank Siebdrat et al.8 found that virtual teams outperform colocated ones when they have higher levels “of mutual support, member effort, work coordination, balance of member contributions and task-related communications.” They continue, “…organizations must also ensure that team members commit to the overall group goals, identify with the team and actively support a team spirit.”
Statistics showing the need for team-building
The state of work is changing. Employee needs have shifted. And there have never been more obstacles stopping them from being productive. Having seen how team-building can help, let’s turn to some statistics that demonstrate why now’s a good time to do it.
9. 55% of employees don’t know their co-workers well
Another notable finding from the aforementioned Gusto survey was that the majority of employees said they didn’t a) know their teammates very well or b) feel personally connected to them. The good news is 45% of respondents did feel that way. Yet there’s clearly room for improvement.
If you’re unsure how these figures match up to sentiments among your own employees, consider surveying them to find out. And, while you’re at it, consider asking about their overall job satisfaction! Gusto found that 24% of small businesses don’t measure this key metric.
10. Less than one-third of employees are engaged
Gusto’s Community at Work report begins with a startling statistic: just 32% of workers in the United States are currently engaged in their jobs. Furthermore, 50.8% are “not engaged,” and 17.2% are “actively disengaged.” Team-building may be unable to re-engage such workers completely, but it’s a good place to start! You’ll bring everyone together, do something different, put a smile on their faces, and start cultivating that vital sense of community that helps drive loyalty and productivity.
In addition, employees of larger companies report lower levels of engagement than those of smaller ones. This suggests the need for (and value of) team-building grows as organizations increase in size.
11. Productivity can decline over 20% due to employee isolation
According to Gallup9, studies have shown that a sense of isolation among employees can impact productivity by up to 21%. That’s a troubling statistic at any time. But it’s of particular concern now remote work and distributed teams are so commonplace. Employees in these situations may never meet their colleagues in person, suggesting isolation will be a growing problem for businesses to address.
With employee connectedness at its core, team-building offers an effective solution. Even if you can’t meet face to face, doing these activities online still creates an opportunity to connect, socialize, and form new friendships. Feelings of isolation should decrease, which may boost productivity in the process.
12. 36 Million Americans will work remotely by 2025
According to Forbes10, that’s a 417% increase from what it was a few years ago. And in addition, 68% of Americans would now rather be fully remote (citing work-life balance and lower stress as primary incentives). Clearly, what it means to work in a team is changing. More employees than ever are entering a setup with little to no face-to-face interactions with colleagues.
Given our previous comments on the downsides of such isolation, there’s further incentive to organize some team-building. Whether it’s done together at a company offsite or held virtually, you can counteract the negative effects of remote working and develop a strong team dynamic despite the distance between you.
13. Teamwork suffers with remote working
The steady move away from traditional working models to remote working is a problem for teamwork as well. Gitlab’s 2021 Remote Work Report11 has a fascinating insight on this topic. In their survey of 3,900 adults, 80% said they’d recommend remote working to a friend, and 81% were satisfied with productivity.
Despite this, only 37% said their organization managed to successfully align work across projects. As Gitlab puts it, “There’s a disconnect between the ostensibly high levels of satisfaction with remote work and the actual pain people are feeling day-to-day…teamwork across organizations is struggling.” Later in the report, they note how one-third of respondents felt disconnected from peers and that two-thirds of those aged 21-38 reported “siloes created by different teams using different tools.”
Once again, for all the reasons we’ve discussed, face-to-face and virtual team-building promises to fill these voids. Not only is it designed specifically to improve teamwork, but it should also promote a sense of connection to each other, no matter where colleagues are in the world.
14. Only one-third of remote companies take simple team-building actions
Another of the most noteworthy team building statistics in Gitlab’s report11 is that just 33% of remote organizations implement simple actions to promote a sense of community. Here’s what they do:
- 33% hold virtual tea/coffee breaks
- 28% hold occasional in-person team meetings
- 27% hold virtual happy hours
- 25% hold occasional team events in-person
- 24% schedule spontaneous meetings
- 23% have occasional in-person team meals
Clearly, there’s a lot of room for improvement! Well-organized and professional team-building activities (whether for remote or traditional firms) would plug the gaps.
15. Remote workers miss face-to-face connections and struggle to fit in with the company culture
Owl Labs’ 2022 State of Remote Work Report12 found that 41% of remote employees expressed difficulty fitting into the company’s culture. And Hubspot’s 2022 Hybrid Work Report13 found that 40% of remote employees miss spontaneous, in-person meetings with their co-workers.
Team-building activities of all types, shapes, and sizes can address both of these problems! Whether you’re on a team retreat in a Portuguese fishing village or having a virtual trivia night, attendees re-engage with each other and the organization at large. United by the company for which they work, spending time together in this way should also re-acquaint teammates with its culture.
Build a better team on a Surf Office retreat
Team building isn’t just a feel-good gimmick. As most CEOs and managers will attest, when it’s done well, it fosters outcomes crucial to business success. Everything from communication and teamwork to productivity and employee retention can receive an invaluable boost. Ultimately, employers end up with a cohesive group of co-workers who work more effectively together.
With any luck, these team building statistics have proven why these activities are so beneficial and left no doubt in your mind about the ROI they offer. Given the current changes to working models and challenges that every work team faces, there’s no better time to invest in them than the present.
Are you interested in reaping similar rewards by organizing a team-building event of your own? Contact Surf Office for help with the logistics! We have years of experience organizing company offsites and team-building retreats for businesses of all sizes. You tell us what you want, and we can take it from there.
- 2006 Cardiac Surgery Performance Study
- Gusto’s Community at Work Report (PDF)
- HBR, “The New Science of Building Great Teams”
- Gallup, “Why We Need Best Friends at Work”
- Gallup, “How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety”
- 2014 Stanford Study on Collaboration
- Forbes, “New Study Finds That Collaboration Drives Workplace Performance”
- 2009 MIT study, “How to Manage Virtual Teams”
- Gallup, “Lead Your Remote Team Away From Burnout, Not Toward It”
- Forbes, “Here’s What’s Happening to Remote Work in 2023”
- Gitlab’s 2021 Remote Work Report (PDF)
- Owl Labs’ 2022 State of Remote Work Report
- Hubspot’s 2022 Hybrid Work Report