Into the wild

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 January, 2008, 12:00am

Firms eager to improve staff retention and build a stronger sense of corporate identity are boosting training and development budgets, including many team building activities in orientation programmes and management retreats.

These range from the 'pretend that's a crocodile-infested river, now build a raft' variety to those with themes borrowed from popular films or television shows, and others designed to take people way beyond their comfort zones with a wilderness experience.

Some of the more popular choices for HR directors and training managers, who opt for external assistance and have the necessary financial resources, include:

Building a bicycle - given a selection of parts and tools, teams race to put together a children's bike. An alternative is to build a doll's house; improvised comedy workshops - run by a professional performer and guaranteed to break down barriers; quests, treasure hunts and mock investigations - tend to draw on the basic premise of TV shows Amazing Race, Prison Break, Mission Impossible and CSI to create a scenario requiring each team to interpret clues and overcome physical challenges; cowboy or outback challenge - an MBA will not help much when you are riding horses, branding cattle and sleeping under the stars.