Q&A with Steve Perkins managing director, GOTO Events

In these uncertain times for the events industry we've been interested to find out how some of our partners have been adapting. We caught up with our principal team build partner GOTO Events and chatted to Managing Director Steve Perkins to find out more.

1. Tell us a bit about GOTO Events…

GOTO Events was originally established over 14 years ago when team building first stated to become a really recognised integration into companies training, meetings and event strategies.

Looking beyond a 'jolly', team building for organisations has significantly grown & evolved over the years to now become a major intervention for team development, motivation & interaction.

We've seen a huge shift in the way companies' host their internal and external meetings and events, with a high percentage now incorporating some form of interactive team experience into most experiences. From a simple conference energizer, to a half day meeting and half day activity to a fully-fledged company summer festival.

Businesses now look beyond stereotyped team building which often conjures up negative perceptions among employees. Teams want fresh, dynamic experiences that accommodate mixed groups & provide high levels of engagement, enjoyment and fun, whilst still supporting the core values of effective teamwork.

In today's modern times, GOTO Events we now deliver over 800 team building events a year, across the UK, for over 60% of the FTSE 100.

2. Why is team building important within the workplace?

Team building is quite often the taboo phrase. Do I have to dress up? Will I get wet? Will I have to stand up and talk about myself for 1 minute..? The foundation of team building however is still the same, but the way it's' delivered and the type of experiences available has changed dramatically.

As companies grow, teams form, functions change, leadership styles adapt, communication methods become more digital, but essentially the need for teams to work and perform in any shape, size or capacity remains the same.

The need for employees to know and understand their team members, appreciate their skills sets, learning styles and communication preferences is imperative for teams to succeed efficiently. It's often overlooked and can slip over time with busy schedules and increased workloads. This puts pressure on teams, but increases the need for them to work harmoniously.

Fun is the lynch pin. Team building has to be enjoyable and engaging. Development doesn't have to be someone looking over a group with a clipboard, it can be done in a lot more subtle enjoyable way enabling team members and leaders to learn, appreciate and practice the values of what makes teams perform.

3. Have you adapted any of your activities to manage physical distancing?

We have, and we've had to. Teamwork is even more important now with so many people working from home, but ready to re-connect and re-develop as companies slowly get back to more normal ways of working.

To do this we've had to adapt our experience to become compliant & safe, yet still attractive. Over 80% of the 100 activities we offer have been re-designed to incorporate safe physical distancing. The principals apply to our indoor and outdoor team building events, supported by revised running formats and risk assessments.

4. Hybrid events appear to be on the rise, are there solutions to be able to offer team building for both a live audience and a virtual audience?

We started to see this before the outbreak of Covid 19. Many of our clients wanted to connect teams from around the world without the need for them to physically travel. With modern technology and live links we've been able to offer this across the UK and internationally.

Using online virtual hosts and physical staff on site, we've run several hybrid team building programs based on our most popular team building experiences such as Master the Tasks (our adaptation of the popular Task Master TV show), The Qube, CSI Crime Scene Experience and Escape Rooms.

5. Should companies measure the success of a team build and if so have you got any tips on the best way to do this?

A lot of companies do measure the success of their events, not only to establish ROI, but gauge the participants perspective of their enjoyment and engagement levels. We would always encourage this to get a true measure of the success of the event at a delegate level. This can also frame the style of future events to ensure the right type of activity is delivered and the primary objectives are met. It also gives a great level of buy-in and inclusion amongst staff.

We offer solutions from simple surveys to more in-depth 'before & after' review platforms to measure the difference in attitudes and behaviours of teams and individuals, pre and post event.

Of course, let's not forget that a lot of team building activities are held to be something purely fun, relaxing and entertaining. Participation levels, smiles and laughter will always be the measure here.

6. Why should companies be considering team-building more than ever right now?

I've been stuck working from home for 4 months, I've got Zoom fever, I can't bounce off the energy of team members, I miss the energy and spirit teams and people create, and we haven't had an office social for god knows how long…

We've just endured unprecedented ways of working which may well shape the way we work forever, but the foundations of human motivation, teams working and achieving together, sharing ideas, collaborating, adapting and being a united force haven't changed. Companies will need to re-establish this to get the best from people and re-energise teams.

Isolation can lead to siloed ways of working which is never healthy. At the very least companies need to get their people back together, blow away the cobwebs, re-focus, have some good old fashioned fun and remind them how strong they are as a united force.

7. What is the most unusual team build you offer?

I'll name two here. Probably the most unusual is our Let's Get Ready to Jungle experience. Inspired by the famous I'm a Celebrity show, we recreate all kinds of bush tucker trials, some including crunchy critters! Next would be our Everest Challenge which takes teams on an indoor adventure up the worlds highest mountain to experience what it takes and what it feels like as a team to plan, prepare and succeed in standing on top of the world.

8. Finally we have to ask, what's your favourite space at Twickenham for team building?

Probably The Patch or Pitch-side. Both spaces are so versatile for team building, and really offer an immersion into the impact that Twickenham has as an iconic venue and stadium.

To find out more about Twickenham Stadiums team building options you can visit here, or to speak to a member of the team about an upcoming event you can get in touch here.

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