Team-Building Exercises for a New Human Services Team

by Gina Scott

Careers in human services involve helping people adjust to various situations in life caused by issues like aging, illness and prior criminal activity. Careers in the fields of probation, social work and gerontology are examples of human services positions. People working in teams fit together better when they feel connected and like they can trust each other. Team-building exercises help departments feel this camaraderie.

Pick a Side

Present a human services-related dilemma to a new group with two possible real-life solutions. Instruct everyone in the group that they must choose one of the two fixes and then have the members divide into the two different groups who support either position. While in their groups, have the members come up with a defense for their solution and then present their arguments to the other group. This exercise helps people listen and negotiate with each other to come up with the best case to give for their chosen scenario.

Watch Out

Direct and efficient communication among new team members is a challenge for many office settings. One activity that helps employees be specific with their words is playing a game of Watch Out. Divide team members into pairs and blindfold one of the two individuals. Instruct the sighted member to guide his blindfolded colleague to safety around benign objects placed in their path, such as office chairs or simple pieces of paper on the ground. The exercise opens up different methods of speaking to clients in the real world as well, where it may be difficult for an employee to get his point across.

Catch the Balloon

A simple and fun exercise to present to a new team in human services is called Catch the Balloon. Especially for larger groups, this is a good activity where people can learn each others' names. Have a group stand in a circle and toss a balloon in the air, with a word or phrase related to the career field written on it. For example, in social work, "Children" could be written on the balloon. Toss the balloon into the air and instruct the worker closest to the balloon to catch it, say his name and explain what his experience is working with the subject written on the balloon.

Volunteer Together

One of the most significant ways to bond a group interested in human services is having them volunteer together for a charitable cause. Send out a memo explaining that the company will be taking a half-day off to volunteer for a local group of people in need, like an organization that serves meals or builds home for others. Choose an activity that involves several different aspects so those employees who have limitations, such as the time they can spend on their feet, also can participate. Getting out into the community also sparks interesting conversation among the team and adds perspective to office squabbles.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.

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