Team Building Challenges for Employee Engagement

Discover how to engage your employees & get your teams pulling together to achieve their goals through team-building activities.

December 21, 2022
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There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Team building exercises might get a bad rap, but if you get them right they can do wonders for your employee engagement levels.

Get to grips with the four stages of team building and the five types of team building activities and you’ll know exactly what you need to do to get your teammates pulling together to achieve their goals.

Read on to learn how to use simple team building challenges to boost employee engagement across your business.

What are the four stages of team building?

Every team goes through four distinct stages. Learning how to recognize which stage your team is at will help you understand how to get the best from them.

The four stages of team building are:


When a team is forming, team members tend to be equally excited to be part of a new team and anxious about how they’re going to fit in and how things are going to go. 

You can expect team members to ask a lot of questions at this stage as they try to find their footing and relieve their anxieties.

It’s crucial at this early stage that you focus your team’s energy around:

  • Establishing clear goals and expectations,
  • Building trust between team members,
  • Setting clear processes and defining responsibilities.

Book a demo of Assembly to make it easy to create a project plan your whole team can access from anywhere. 


Teams always set off with big goals. But sooner or later, they’re going to fall short of their own high expectations. This is the storming stage, and it’s when your team learns how to handle setbacks and conflict together. It’s the team building equivalent of the terrible twos – which every parent is well acquainted with.

When you hit this stage, it’s time to regroup and:

  • Break your goals down into manageable steps you can tackle more easily,
  • Help your teammates learn how to work together more effectively, 
  • Rethink how you share responsibility across your team.


Any team that makes it through the storming stage comes out the other end stronger. Team members become more comfortable with how the team operates and where they fit in it. They feel free to express their “real” thoughts and feelings, and can start to give and receive the kind of constructive criticism that’s going to take your team’s performance to the next level.

Telltale signs your team has shifted into the norming stage are your team members:

  • Making an effort to proactively resolve conflicts before they start affecting the team dynamic,
  • Being willing to ask for help when they need it, 
  • Developing their own nicknames and inside jokes. 

You can help encourage this with some well-chosen team building activities (we’ll dive into some examples later).


When a team hits the performing stage, they’re comfortable asking for help when they need it and offering it where it’s needed. 

Team members look out for each other, roles become more fluid as members take on responsibilities where they’re most needed, and the whole team is fully engaged. And each team member believes that when the team wins, they win.

As a leader of a team that hits this stage, it’s essential you keep your team going in the right direction with some team bonding activities (more on those in the next section).

What are the five types of team building activities?

The right activities at the right time will fast-track your team through the four stages of team building. 

To help you get things note-perfect every time, here’s a rundown of all five types of team building activities – and some examples of each one you can try today:


It’s all about breaking the ice with teams in the forming stage. The faster your teammates get to know each other, the sooner they’ll be comfortable sharing their honest thoughts and feelings with each other.

Here are some classic icebreakers to help get a new team opening up with each other:

  • Two truths and a lie: Ask each member of your team to share two facts about themselves and one lie. Then get their teammates to guess the lie. 
  • 18 and under: Go around the room asking each member of your team to share one thing they accomplished before they turned 18. Discovering each other's hidden skills can help bring your teammates closer together.
  • Invent a secret handshake: Divide your team into pairs and give them a minute to come up with the most creative secret handshake they can. Then go around the room and ask each pair to demonstrate their handshake to the group. This one is bound to get everyone laughing.

Need more icebreaker activity ideas? Check out a list of over 400 icebreaker questions.


Good communication is the cornerstone of any effective team. And when your team hits the storming stage you need to develop effective lines of communications – fast. These simple exercises will help:

  • Scavenger hunt: Split your team into small groups and give them all the same list of items to find. The first team that takes a selfie with each item on the list wins. Teams will have to split up and communicate effectively to claim first place.
  • Blind retriever: Divide your team into small groups. One member of each small group is blindfolded and the rest have to guide the blindfolded team member to an object. 
  • Island survival: Break the group into teams, then explain they’ve all been stranded on a desert island after a shipwreck. They find 20 items washed up on the shore, but they’re only allowed to keep five – and they need to decide together which items they’re going to keep. Then they need to present which items they’ve kept – and why – to the other groups.

Try Assembly to see how easy it can make effective communication across departments.


The faster your team can solve the problems they’re inevitably going to face, the more effective they’ll be. These simple activities will help your team learn how to work together to overcome obstacles:

  • Egg drop: Split your teammates into groups, provide them with some basic construction materials (like newspaper, balloons, rubber bands, and popsicle sticks), and ask them to create a device that will protect an egg when it’s dropped from a height. The team who’s egg survives the farthest fall is crowned the winner.
  • Marshmallow spaghetti tower: Split your team into groups and ask them to build the tallest possible freestanding tower using only marshmallows, uncooked spaghetti, tape, and string. Tallest tower wins!
  • Escape room: Taking your team to an escape room is the ultimate way to put their problem solving and teamwork skills to the test.

Creative thinking

Helping your teammates unlock their creativity is one of the best things you can do for their performance. These exercises will encourage them to think outside the box:

  • Alternate use pitches: Split your team into groups, give each one an object from around the office, and ask them to come with a quick sales pitch about an alternative use for it. Breaking the real life “rules” of the object can spark creativity. 
  • The backronym game: Split your team into pairs and present every team with the same jumble of random letters (RAOB, PWL, etc.). Ask each pair to come up with a backronym that fits the letters – and only give them a minute to write it to encourage quick thinking. 
  • Telephone pictionary: Ask your team to sit in a circle, then give each team member a stack of paper. Get everyone to write a well-known phrase on the top piece of paper (“the early bird gets the worm”, “better late than never”, etc.). Ask your team to pass their stack of paper to the person on their right, then give them all a minute to draw the phrase on the next sheet. When the minute is up, they need to pass the stack of paper on to the next person, who  writes down the phrase they think has been drawn. Repeat the process until each stack of paper reaches its original owner and see if you managed to keep the thread.

Book a demo of Assembly to see how much of the stress it can take out of managing teams and projects.

Employee bonding

For a team to reach the performing stage, its members will need to form strong relationships with each other. Encourage that with these activities:

  • Potluck: Hold regular potluck lunches to bring your employees together for a meal and let them share their favorite foods and recipes.
  • Community service: Bring your team together to support a cause that’s close to their hearts. 
  • Fun activity: Karaoke, go karting, laser tag, and cooking classes are all fertile ground for team building opportunities.

The final word

Once you recognize which stage of the team building process your team is at, you can pick the perfect activities to help them reach the next stage as quickly as possible.

Stick to the tips we’ve laid out here to make sure your team bonds as quickly as possible.

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