Team building goes back to school

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The University of Surrey in the UK has invested in employee relations with a new fun team–building session.

The Library & Learning Support Services at the University of Surrey has a number of diverse sub–teams that draw from different professional backgrounds. Recent changes in the staff structure meant that different teams were suddenly working closely together, without necessarily any initial integration. Library & Learning Support Services felt that staff needed to bond and get to know each other better, so that they could work together more efficiently. After searching on the internet for team–building solutions, the Library & Learning Support Services Staff Development Group found White Rhino Event Solutions. Initially interested in the company due to its locality and wide range of different activities, the group contacted Timmon Whitehead, founder of White Rhino for more information. The group decided that a team–building activity would work well with the planned annual conference at the end of June. The chosen team–building event for the Library & Learning Support department was 'Team Work of Art'. "We wanted an activity that was a bit different to reward staff for their level of commitment over the past year, " said Kate Price, head of e–strategy & resources at the University of Surrey. "White Rhino has quite a few activities that we hadn't come across before and a huge choice, but with staff of all ages, backgrounds and levels of fitness, we thought that 'Team Work of Art' would be ideal. " The 'Team Work of Art' session begins with an introduction and brief from a White Rhino facilitator. The idea behind session is that everyone works with others in small groups, but each group also has to communicate with other groups in order to complete the task successfully. Each team receive a small part of a larger photo at the start of the session, which they have to re–create by sketching and painting. This re–created part of the photo should fit in seamlessly with the other parts, so the groups must communicate what colours are used and where. For the end result, all the individual groups' smaller sections of the image are brought together to create a version of the original photo, which the team get to keep. The Library & Learning Support department was particularly positive about their experience. "People enjoyed the event and spoke to lots of people that they didn't usually, which was great" said Vivien Sieber, head of learning and research support and development at the University of Surrey's Library. "People can now put names to faces, and have had an opportunity to get to know each other more, " added Price. "It was such a success to see that every group produced something creditable, and White Rhino Event Solutions were very friendly and efficient throughout. " The department's experience with White Rhino was extremely positive. "We didn't have a huge budget and we wanted to stay onsite, " explained Price. "White Rhino Event Solutions were very responsive and happy to accommodate any preferences we had, and organised the session for us at fairly short notice. I'd definitely recommend the White Rhino Event Solutions team to others. "

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