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Employee Training and Team Building Are Better Together

This article was originally published on Training Industry.

There’s no question that training is necessary in the workforce. From onboarding training, to keeping up with evolving policies and regulations, to gaining a better understanding of how to create a more inclusive work environment, there is no shortage of reasons to offer the right training at the right time. Employee training is also a way to provide professional development and personal growth opportunities to your team — and can help in retaining employees. For this reason, at the corporate training industry is thriving: The size of the global corporate training market was $376.3 billion in 2021 and is set to grow this year, according to Training Industry research.

Organizations have an opportunity to elevate the experience by offering employee trainings that can also be considered team building. In theory, any training could be considered a team-building experience if done right. With 54 percent of Gen-Z and younger millennial workers claiming to be disengaged at work — according to a recent Gallup poll, many do not feel a close connection to their managers or coworkers— it would seem there’s no time like the present to begin thinking about how employee training can be revamped to incorporate team-building components. Afterall, an engaged employee is often a happy employee, which allows for increased production in an environment where one can thrive. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

To that end, here’s a look at three employee training activities that double as team-building experiences.

3 Types of Training Activities to Encourage Team Building


Playing games at work sounds too good to be true, but gamification, which incorporates game playing elements into learning sequences to encourage learner motivation and engagement, is gaining some serious momentum in the workplace.

Several studies show that employees respond well to gamification activities— in one survey, 89% of workers indicated that gamification made them feel more productive at work. Using games in employee training activities is a great way to encourage team building. There are many ideas out there for games to incorporate into employee trainings. As you consider your options, be sure to know which kind of scenario would be best for your training goals. (For example, should the game ask participants to problem-solve? Or are you looking for more of a bonding experience?) Once you land on the game, prepare to have fun while learning along the way.

Ice-Breaker Activities to Encourage Collaboration

Almost everyone in the workplace has participated in an ice-breaker experience — whether at work or in their personal life. Sure, maybe they can seem basic, but people can get really creative with how they choose to break the ice in a group setting, which in turn allows participants to think more creatively. There’s get-to-know-you questions, like what book are you reading, or do you prefer sweet or salty? And then there’s some that dive deeper, such as sharing whether the main character of the book you’re reading would save you or not if you were in a hostage situation. Ice breakers are not only a great way to get to know one another, but can also help create a more relaxed atmosphere in an employee training. Group work can encourage good communication and team bonding, and helps participants feel more comfortable as they head into the training.

There’s no shortage of ice breaker activities out there, so enjoy exploring ideas and trying them out in your employee trainings.


Would you ever have imagined that assessments and testing could be a team building experience? Maybe not, but it’s true. Providing opportunities for learners to receive coaching and to provide feedback on their experience are great ways to build trust and encourage teamwork.

For example, not all assessments need to be taken by the learner. Instructor conducted polling can be integrated into various points of an employee training to solicit feedback — and the presenter can change the theme of each poll throughout the presentation to ensure that it matches the tone. Polling is one of those activities that can be done virtually or in-person (or both). The possibilities for what you poll your participants on are endless: they can be random questions with humorous answers to select from or pop-quiz-style questions that ask participants to weigh in on questions related to the company and the workshop they are participating in.

Polling is a relatively effortless way to encourage participation and generate discussion — both in real time and in online chats — which ultimately creates an opportunity for participants to interact with one another. There are many free polling apps out there to choose from, so test some of them out ahead of time to find the best fit.


As you develop or update your next training program, be sure to add activities that encourage collaboration for the best results. Learners that participate in groups are more engaged, motivated, and likely to retain what they learn due to increased attention. You’ll also improve the culture of your workplace, as employees are more involved. Use training activities such as gamification, assessments, and ice-breakers to encourage communication and collaboration.