Great Team Building Activity for Big Groups

I enjoy planning for teambuilding activities. There’s something about people coming together and having fun outside of work that really energizes me. I’ve done more than 10 during my 7 year stay in P&G. The biggest I’ve done was for over 400+ people back in 2008. That was awesome. Or at least that’s how I remembered it. Last September I volunteered to lead a teambuilding for 120 people. One of the things that came up was that in our big organization, it’s a challenge to keep track of exactly what everyone’s area of responsibility is. You might know the people you directly work with, but for the others, you don’t. So one of the objectives was that, by the end of the activity, everyone in the organization knew what each other was doing or at least knew more than what they did before. Now, the challenge of coming up with these activities is that everyone needs to be engaged and at the same time hits the objectives you have set.
So we have:

  1. Good for 100+ people (but will also work for like 50+)
  2. Everyone has to be engaged
  3. Everyone needs to know what everyone else is working on
  4. Activity runs for 30-45 minutes
  5. Easy on the logistics

So I came up with: Human Role Bingo. Everyone’s heard about the human bingo, where you put personal entries like “has a sibling” or “is married” into a bingo sheet instead of the standard bingo numbers and then you go around the room asking people to sign in boxes that fits their description. This one has a twist where you put actual people’s roles or work description in like: “Makes sure that vendors are paid on time”; so obviously you would go to someone who handles accounts payables. It can also be a subject matter expertise like, “I want to know about Project Management Lifecycle” so you would go to someone who does projects and who knows what he’s doing. How I ran this was that I asked for help from our management to put together a list of all roles for all 120 employees so at least I have a master list. Next, we generated a random 5x5 card for each employee (so there’s no copying of answers). We put the 120 employees in a huge room, give them each a card, then release them into the wild. Folks who completed their cards after 30 minutes would win points.
This is what a sheet will look like

During the actual event, it was a joy to watch people engaging with other folks and getting them to sign their sheets. I could see some who get revelations like, “wasn’t this you?” or “OH, so you’re who I go to for this”. It was utter, but organized chaos. At the end of the activity, we flashed the answer key then asked them to check their own entries. Now there could be a few ones who don’t match the answers on the master list, and that’s completely fine, you just need to make sure they are able to justify the entry since it’s very possible that other people also know about the subject matter. 

So, just to recap, the steps were:

  1. Get a venue with a huge space. Enough for the people to walk around
  2. Get everyone's roles. (Get help from the managers so at least you don't need to talk to everyone. Org charts also work)
  3. Generate random bingo sheets based on the roles. You can use Excel formulas to generate random sheets
  4. Print it out for everyone. Make sure there's pens provided
  5. Unleash

As a result, I believe we hit our goals of having people gain additional knowledge about their own organization. I also believe people had a lot of fun. Try it for your organization and see for yourself.

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