Team Building - How to Deal with Those Who Don't Want to Join

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Team Building - How to Deal with Those Who Don't Want to Join
Yazid Saman, Member
Hi, I am heading a learning center with 60 staff. As part of a transformation process, we plan to have a team building exercise 500 km away from the office. However 25% of the staff ~ mostly ladies ~ have sent in letters saying they are not going. I feel like canceling the event but some have shown high commitment. Please advise how I should handle 25% group. Yazid.

Team Building - Handling Those Who don't Want to Join
Edmund Adu-Danso, Member
Hello Yazid,
This is an interesting one. I get the impression the event is still in the planning stages.
I also get the impression this is an "old" team with set ways of doing things, and you are experiencing resistance to change.
It is possible there is a lot of rancour and uncooperativeness.
So what do you do?
Your staff may be suffering from some form of disenchantment with the job which makes them resistant to change; perhaps a result of unfulfilled promises, a non-listening management, or a glass ceiling environment. The 25% who have written to excuse themselves may actually be speaking for a silent majority.
When faced with a similar situation, studied the work environment, after which I drafted a questionnaire for them to respond to anonymously. From the results, I agreed with management on answers to their expectations. Then held small group sessions with the staff to orient them accordingly.
Staff interaction and cooperation improved after that. Try this perhaps.

How to Deal with People Who don't Want to Join a Team Building Exercise
Jaap de Jonge, Editor
Since a large percentage is having objections, you need to take this seriously and show that you do. I recommend the first 5 things you undertake are:
1. Discuss this situation and your approach with the client/sponsor.
2. Show you take the objections seriously (probably by canceling the event at least for now), while
3. Finding out what are there objections (possibly by distributing an (anonymous) questionnaire as @Edmund Adu-Danso suggested), to allow you to
4. Analyze the reasons why they don't want to participate.
5. Discuss/plan next steps. These depend on the outcomes of 1-3.



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