Team Camaraderie: Why It’s Important & 7 Strategies to Build Team Camaraderie

employees taking selfie together

It’s no surprise you’re interested in team camaraderie — fostering a strong sense of team camaraderie has a direct impact on the overall success of your organization. Today, every company is looking to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive marketplace. To gain the advantage, you’ll need to ensure your company’s teams operate optimally. Understanding how to build strong team camaraderie is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal. In this article, we’ll explain how you can start investing in the improvement of your team’s strength through intentional team-building activities that improve camaraderie. 

employees with hands in center

Table of Contents

What is Team Camaraderie? 

Why is Team Camaraderie Important? 

Importance of Team Camaraderie for Traditional Teams

Importance of Team Camaraderie for Remote Teams 

Advantages of Team Camaraderie 

Disadvantages of Team Camaraderie 

How To Build Team Camaraderie 

Conclusion

What Is Team Camaraderie? 

So, what exactly is team camaraderie? Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines camaraderie as, “a feeling of friendship and trust among people who work or spend a lot of time together.” You’ll often hear camaraderie used in reference to the bond among sports and military teams. The workplace should be no different. As in sports and the military, company teams have missions and wins to accomplish and rely heavily on one another to get it all done. 

football players high fiving

Why Is Team Camaraderie Important? 

Strong team camaraderie is critical. That sense of friendship and trust is the secret ingredient enabling high-functioning teams to collaborate, innovate, communicate respectfully, share new or risky ideas freely, disagree amicably, and continuously learn together. 

The benefits of team building are clear. Companies with teams that operate with high levels of synergy produce higher profits, less turnover, and higher levels of engagement

Importance of Team Camaraderie for Traditional Teams 

Have you noticed decreased productivity or engagement? It might be a sign that your folks could benefit from some team-building activities. A renewed focus on cultivating a sense of connection can help take your in-person teams to the next level. Although teams may work together in person, high levels of trust and camaraderie are not a foregone conclusion. Even traditional teams can benefit from team-building activities! 

employees chatting around a table

Despite working side by side for months and years, there is always something to learn about how to optimize your team’s function and collaboration. Never rely on proximity as an indicator of camaraderie. Instead, check levels of engagement through surveys and observed behaviors like high levels of participation on calls and in meetings.  

Importance of Team Camaraderie for Remote Teams 

We know that employees today want remote work. In fact, according to one study, a majority of employees, more than 50%, require the ability to work from home at least three days a week. But here’s the challenge: When fully remote or hybrid teams lack team camaraderie, group breakdown can occur quickly. Without intentionally investing in fostering a sense of team camaraderie, the physical distance from each other can translate to team members feeling disengaged, disconnected, and dissatisfied. 

zoom-call-coworkers-waving

A study by McKinsey & Company suggests that remote workers are aware of the need for connection and the difficulties of virtual work.

  • 44% of employees fear the loss of community and connection to colleagues
  • 43% of employees fear reduced collaboration for individuals and teams

Managing projects and goals in a virtual environment has its challenges. That’s why higher trust levels and the ability to rely on one another to accomplish goals becomes even more important. 

Advantages of Team Camaraderie 

There’s no question that investing in team building and fostering camaraderie can be beneficial for any company because it drives employee engagement. By building trust and connection, your team and company will reap the benefits for years to come. 

  • Increase profits: Organizations that scored highest for engagement showed 21% higher levels of profitability 
  • Improve innovation: Workplace collaboration can increase successful innovation by 15%
  • Improve employee retention: Companies that promote collaboration are 4.5 times less likely to lose their best people
cartoon graph of profits going up

Investing in team building is well worth the return on investment and translates directly to key performance indicators for your company.

Disadvantages of Team Camaraderie 

As we’ve discussed above, strong team camaraderie can be a major advantage for your team. But if not approached carefully, your team-building efforts could spell trouble. Encouraging “friendship” among team members needs to be carefully balanced with maintaining focus on the goal-oriented nature of the team.

In other words, it’s definitely nice to be friends with your teammates, but keep in mind that the purpose of building and fostering strong workplace camaraderie is to produce business results and accomplishments.

When trying to foster camaraderie, avoid these common pitfalls:

Not Sharing Constructive Feedback

Camaraderie, trust, and friendship should encourage, rather than hinder, the ability to voice constructive criticism. Teams can fall into the trap of being so friendly that they can’t offer feedback for fear of upsetting one another.  

Wasting Time

Watercooler chats and spaces to socialize about non-work-related topics are essential. However, teams should be mindful of too much chit-chat on the job. If the friendship and connection start to become a distraction, your team won’t reap all the benefits of using that sense of connection to drive business results.   

employees goofing of at work

No Work-Life Balance

When work becomes more than just work, it can be hard for some team members to disconnect. High camaraderie and trust should lead to increased work-life balance as teams accommodate one another when folks take time off. Be mindful of teams spending time together during and after the workday, you might find that a few employees struggle to take a much-needed break and disconnect. 

Playing Favorites

Favoritism in the workplace is highly toxic. Camaraderie doesn’t mean that you get to elevate any one person over another. Keep the focus on fairness to ensure you don’t contribute to feelings of frustration among your people.  

How To Build Team Camaraderie 

1.    Plan Team Building Activities

Team building games and activities can help produce more harmonious and effective teams. You can use these experiences to build communication skills, encourage problem-solving, promote creativity, and improve trust all while having a blast with your team!

Prison Break The Escape Game

Escape Rooms

One of the nice things about escape rooms is that they can be done in person or virtually with similar team-building effects. Escape rooms encourage participants to collaborate to uncover clues, solve problems, and communicate in order to accomplish a shared goal. Teams reap the benefits because the tools used in escape rooms mirror the skills needed to accomplish business goals. 

But in addition to being highly effective, escape rooms are also a lot of fun! Nothing beats the rush of dopamine and serotonin that comes from accomplishing a difficult challenge. Plus, there are themes to fit any group dynamic. From prison breaks to art heists to hunting for forbidden treasure, there’s something for every unique team.

Scavenger Hunts

Group scavenger hunts are a fantastic way to promote collaboration within teams. In the race to find or create the items on the list, teams will get creative and partner with one another as they race against the clock. 

Like escape rooms, scavenger hunts can be done in person or virtually. There are endless ways to customize your scavenger hunt for your teams! Here are a few ideas:

  • Selfie Scavenger Hunt: Teams take selfies with particular items or in specific locations
  • GooseChase: This app takes scavenger hunts to a new level using a dynamic dashboard that elevates the experience for the entire team
  • Good Deeds: Encourage team members to snap pictures of them completing random acts of kindness
  •  Italian Scavenger Hunt: No flights necessary, this company hosts live hunts in Italy as teams learn about the country history and culture 
employees building wooden tower

Giant Jenga

Few team activities can get as fun and competitive as playing giant Jenga outdoors. When blocks are stacked in a tower, teams take turns strategizing and sending one player to remove a block without allowing the shaky tower to fall over. 

Jenga quite literally forces teams to collaborate and look at a problem from all sides to strategize the best option for victory. 

Mystery Games

Looking for an epic team competition? Try a mystery game! As detectives, your team will race to solve a crime before the other team pieces together all the clues. Evidence lies in every corner of this fast-paced virtual game. 

From surveillance videos to hidden websites and decoded phone numbers, teams will need their best thinking and communication skills to get to the bottom of the crime.  

online game show example

Online Game Shows

Light-hearted, fast-paced, and fun, teams will work together in this online game show to rack up as many points as possible in a battle of wits for game show glory. Along the way, teams will work together, communicate, and problem-solve. With several rounds of gameplay, like puzzle pyramids and phrase craze, there’s something for every team. 

Which group will get the coveted top spot on the leaderboard? There’s only one way to find out!

Trivia

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, trivia is sure to get the party started for every team. There are lots of different trivia games, but the idea remains the same. Teams race to answer questions correctly to score points. 

Trivia can produce a rush of dopamine, or the joy hormone. This means your team will have a blast while answering questions on topics ranging from general knowledge to company history. You can try decade, music, literature, or even historical themes for an activity your team won’t soon forget.  


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Icebreakers

Build camaraderie with fun icebreakers before you start your next team call. You can learn a lot about your teammates through quick and easy games and questions. 

For example:

  • Coffee or Tea?
  • Apple or Microsoft?
  • Classic Disney movies or live-action remakes?
  • Late nights or early mornings?
  • Tell a story in 30 seconds or less.

These quick questions help warm up your team and spark conversations about shared interests or perspectives.  

2.    Provide Trust and Autonomy

Team camaraderie requires trust; it’s built right into the definition. And high levels of trust enable teams to be autonomous or self-governing — which is what employees really want. Here are a few strategies for building trust and autonomy levels: 

Don’t Micromanage

No one likes being micromanaged. Leaders or team members that micromanage leave their colleagues frustrated at the lack of trust. When trying to build team camaraderie, micromanaging every detail can quickly deplete your team’s energy.

Instead of specifying how to get a task done, encourage team members to focus on communicating the desired outcomes and results. Allow teammates to experiment with their own ideas about how to get things done and you might end up pleasantly surprised.  

boss looking at employee under microscope cartoon

Encourage Creative Thinking and Out-of-the-Box Ideas 

Creative thinking and the ability to voice off-the-wall ideas is a sign of a strong team with high levels of camaraderie. Encourage team members to ask one another for new, fresh ideas and to treat each idea with respect. The best ideas and brainstorms occur when team members feel empowered to share their thoughts.  

Encourage Disagreement

When teams have high levels of camaraderie and psychological safety, they are more likely to voice dissenting opinions and reduce the team’s tendency towards echo chambers. Teams that don’t foster trust end up wasting time when disagreements arise instead of considering each idea.  

Invest in Strong Collaboration Tools and Guidelines

Team building doesn’t happen overnight — it requires intentional effort and smart tools. 

Employees know this; a quarter of employees say they want training on digital technologies and tools for remote work. Likewise, 26% of employees want clear guidelines and norms for remote and in-person employees. Teams need to understand how collaboration looks in the new world of work.

Tools like Slack, Trello, Zoom, GitHub, Calendly, and Microsoft Teams can help your team stay connected. 

3.    Encourage Employee Networking Groups

There’s a reason 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Employee Networking Groups

They are one of the most powerful tools a company can use for building connections, morale, and a sense of camaraderie among teams and employees. These voluntary, employee-led groups with individuals who share common interests are designed to meet the needs of employees while driving key business results. Win-win. 

By nature of being identity-based, mission-based, faith-based, and more, these groups can quickly foster a sense of connection among colleagues. Importantly, these groups can also have a significant impact on levels of engagement among employees. 

4.    Promote Peer-to-Peer Recognition Programs

Everyone likes to be appreciated. Recognition is a key driver for employee engagement — when employees believe they will be recognized, they are 2.7 times more likely to be engaged. When you encourage peer-to-peer recognition, employees are more aware of the efforts and accomplishments of team members, producing higher levels of team camaraderie. 

Giving credit where credit is due is also a sign of high-functioning teams. Create processes and channels for your teams to shout out good work.

Tip: Provide employees with a stipend that allows them to send a small gift along with their shoutout to a team member. Receiving even a small token of appreciation helps boost morale and improves productivity. Here are some gift ideas to get you started! 

employees dancing in office

5.    Host Social Events

Your teams want the opportunity to connect in more relaxed environments. In fact, one study showed that in their top five desired company policies, 26% of employees listed regular small team connectivity events to facilitate social cohesion. In other words, your people are looking for you to create opportunities for connection and camaraderie!

Here are a few ideas: 

Happy Hours

Team happy hours are a fun way to connect over food and drinks as you chat and do various team-building activities. These highly customizable events can have a variety of themes to fit any team dynamic. In recent years, virtual happy hours have been commonplace, if you’re looking for a fun way to mix it up, try one of these awesome happy hour ideas and games

team-happy-hour-coworkers

Virtual Going Away Parties

Sending off employees in style is sure to foster a sense of camaraderie among teams. There are lots of ways to plan and throw a virtual going away party. When companies demonstrate an effort to thank employees for the work they’ve done over the years, it communicates to remaining employees that they aren’t taken for granted either. 

Retirement is an important milestone in the employee lifecycle and taking time to celebrate a company retirement and honor your employees is always a good idea! 

Holiday Parties

Holidays are a fun excuse to laugh, play games, and socialize as a team. With plenty of themes and games to choose from, you can create a memorable experience for your people as they build meaningful connections during the festivities!  

6.    Develop Strong Onboarding Processes

A new employee’s first few months are critical to ensuring retention and building camaraderie. One survey of 1,500 American workers revealed that 33% of them quit their jobs in the first 90 days. High turnover is also really expensive, costing U.S. businesses up to a trillion dollars per year.  

In those first 90 days, ensure new employees are firmly embedded and connected to their new teams and that they have the support necessary for success.

new employee greeting other employees

You can try:

  • Rolling out the welcome wagon: Leave a great impression by making a splash on that first day! Have team members sign a welcome poster or card for each new hire. You’ll encourage a team-focused mentality from day one. You can also take your new team member out for lunch or send them a DoorDash or UberEats gift card.
  • Implementing a buddy system: Assign a mentor or buddy to every new employee to kickstart a sense of camaraderie. Choose someone in a similar role or one to two levels above the new employee. Providing a dedicated resource to answer questions and provide helpful tips can help ease the transition.
  • Holding weekly check-ins: Before you lose folks in that crucial window, check in with them regularly to see how things are going. Ask: What can we improve in this process? Do you have what you need? Are your expectations of the role matching your lived experience? By checking in, you’ll help build a sense of connection to the team and encourage each new employee to voice concerns and offer much-needed constructive criticism about the process.  

7.    Have a Listening Strategy

While the ideas and strategies above are sure to help you foster a strong sense of team camaraderie, often some of the best tips and tricks can be found right within your teams! 

Every so often, survey your people and ask them what activities they’d like to see for your next team-building event. After all, if your employees have a say in the activities, they are more likely to participate and feel engaged. You can have an open call for ideas or present some of the ones above and ask folks to vote on the next team activity. 

The act of gaining team buy-in on the activities also helps foster camaraderie by giving your people a voice. Team members will be even more likely to share other ideas and solutions. 

Tip: Not only can you solicit feedback from your teams, but you can try passing the baton to different team members and have them take turns planning and hosting the activities! 

cartoon boss listening to employees

Conclusion

Team camaraderie can play a large role in the success of individual teams and companies overall. When the bond and trust among teams is high, you’ll find that communication, feedback, and constructive criticism are more likely. Effective team camaraderie needs to be carefully built and cultivated through team-building efforts that produce the qualities your business and team needs to thrive. Don’t hesitate to invest in the relationships and connections between your people because the returns are often well worth the effort!