Serving youth in the northern suburbs of Chicago, the high-functioning team at Northeast Illinois Council has hit upon a two-pronged approach to uniting behind a shared mission: Fun and Feedback. Cynthia Gentleman, who serves as the council’s Potawatomi District director, provided some insights into the simple yet effective methods their team uses to keep everyone racing in the same direction.
Step 1: Create a Family Atmosphere
Studies show that teams that mix in fun activities often increase cohesiveness and productivity. To help foster this, the council hosts quarterly events based around active (and competitive, in a friendly way) events such as laser tag, WhirlyBall, darts, Heads Up!, and arcade tournaments.
The events always start in the late afternoon and include everyone on the team. With a number of evening unit meetings and training events to schedule around, afternoons ensure a majority of staff members can attend. In addition, when a new person joins the council’s team, a welcome lunch or activity is planned for the entire staff.
Step 2: Feedback is a Gift
The Northeast Illinois Council is committed to maintaining a positive, collaborative working environment. To do this, emphasis is placed on soliciting — and then acting on — feedback from staff and volunteers whenever possible.
To help maintain an upbeat atmosphere and make the pursuit of annual team goals and processes less mundane, the team also hosts weekly meetings to discuss their goals and any obstacles they’re encountering along the way. This process creates a cadence of accountability, not only for the individual but also for the team. Once again, a little friendly competition, through the use of colorful scoreboards posted in the office, goes a long way toward encouraging productivity and teamwork.
Is your council taking similar steps to increase employee engagement and satisfaction? If so, let us know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engagement and satisfaction. Stay tuned for monthly stories that share the actions, commitments, and practices of councils that experience high levels of engagement and satisfaction within their teams. For more information, visit the BSA Engagement 365 website.