Is it appropriate for companies that have experienced downsizing to offer team building?

Team Building After Downsizing

by Anne Thornley-Brown, President
Executive Oasis International

  • Has your company recently gone through downsizing?
  • Are you thinking that, under this scenario you can’t possibly justify team building?

Think again.

If you’ve recently laid off workers, the staff that remains is even MORE valuable. They are also overworked as they have to do more with less in a turbulent marketplace.

Investing in team building is most important during stressful times and will have a higher payback and measured bottom line impact (e.g. reduction in stress leave, lower turnover, and reduced absenteism). Expertly facilitated business team building is one of the most leveraged investments a company can make during turbulent times with no downside.

It is, therefore, PRECISELY the time to invest in employees and re-building the company “esprit de corps”. Team building is also an important tool to:

  • reassure your people about the future direction of the organization
  • tap into your team’swisdom and creative ideas to generate solutions to some of the business challenges that led to the downsizing in the first place

The beauty of team building is that you can still offer it and get the same value even if you are facing budget constraints.

  • Use an internal instead of an external facilitator
  • Establish a consulting partnership with an external facilitator to work with your teams over an extended period. The day rate will be less than if you just do 1 or 2 team building sessions.
  • Bring all or part of your team building session on-site

You can produce the same business results as you would if you went to a resort if you offer all or most of your session on-site. There are affordable options like campsites, summer camps in off-season and conservation areas that will make it possible for you to incorporate a 1/2 day or recreation at a fraction of what it would cost to stay at a resort. You can even build in a lunch or dinner at a local restaurant and still offer an affordable programme.

So, instead of asking:

  • can we afford team building?
  • can we justify team building at this time?


  • how can we afford NOT to offer team building when our employees need it most?

2 thoughts on “Is it appropriate for companies that have experienced downsizing to offer team building?

  1. Inge Van Belle says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I get that question from time to time too and my answer is similar to yours, but you say it more eloquently. If you don’t offer team building to your employees after a downsize or in times of crisis, you will lose them as soon as they are offered another opportunity. Once again, it’s about executes who have VISION and LEADERSHIP, remarkable qualities in these hectic times. Thanks a lot.

  2. Myles says:

    Great post! I completely agree. Why should the few remaining, with the sword dangling over their heads, be denied some sense of security, morale, or being given feedback that their wellbeing is of importance to the company? Thanks for this article.

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