Team-building tool for managers

Staff of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation participate in a Team Experience Builder tour of the Yale University Art Gallery.
Staff of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation participate in a Team Experience Builder tour of the Yale University Art Gallery.

Eric Vazquez remembers the especially good weather on the day that his manager took the team on a tour of the recently renovated Humanities Quadrangle at 320 York Street. “The hundreds of stained-glass windows in the halls of the Humanities Quadrangle must be seen on a sunny day,” said Vazquez, project specialist for Facilities, School of Management (SOM). “Each glowing-yellow portrait contained an ode to a specific medium of artistic expression or scientific exploration. Not one of the 50 photos I took captured what I experienced that day.”

Someone else has already put the work together of figuring out a tour and the logistics. You just pick a time and get your team there.

Vazquez’s experience is one of 13 that Yale managers can book through Team Experience Builder (TEB), now marking one year in operation. Specifically designed for Yale managers of staff members, TEB is a way to book unique tours, find resources for team meetings or town halls, and explore other events and venues across campus and in the local community.

Pre-packaged fun

Jill McSorley, director of Facilities at SOM, who arranged for Vazquez and her team’s introduction to the Humanities Quadrangle, says she is grateful that the program exists. “Someone else has already put the work together of figuring out a tour and the logistics,” she said. “You just pick a time and get your team there.”

That someone else is the Recognition and Engagement team, who work with site managers and tour guides across Yale to create meaningful moments for managers and their teams. Managers can visit the Team Experience Builder website and follow three simple steps to lock in an experience: Explore the available activities, book an experience, and share details with their teams using sample text for team invitations. Managers can also pair a tour with a meal or a happy hour at local eating establishments. Volunteer opportunities and other staff appreciation ideas are also available.

Easy-to-use tool

Like McSorley, Talent Acquisition’s Christina Hayden, assistant director, and Development’s Chris Seager, director of reunion giving, took advantage of what Team Experience Builder has to offer.

“There is little planning other than coordinating with your team on availability,” said Hayden. “The Talent Acquisition team welcomed several new members this year. The tours of SOM and Franklin and Murray residential colleges were great opportunities to bring everyone together to enjoy some of the beautiful spaces on campus. By scheduling the tours toward the end of our workdays, we were able to tack on a social gathering, which was definitely time well spent.”

The difference a year makes

This infographic highlights how, since launching last year, Team Experience Builder has helped managers create meaningful moments with their teams.

“I used TEB to schedule the Yale Art Gallery, drama buildings, and Cushing Center tours,” said Seager. “The tool’s ease of use and the draft language provided for the team invitation made it very simple, and I have promoted it heavily to managers within Alumni Affairs and Development. It’s often hard as a manager to identify meaningful team building opportunities, and TEB takes away a lot of the stress of figuring out where to start.”

TEB also appealed to School of Medicine’s Angela Gambaccini-May, associate director of academic reporting and analytics, who is new to her role. “It is a fun way to get my team out of the office together and learn more about Yale,” she said. “It is nice to do team building in a less forceful way. We are a small but busy team and need time away from ‘work talk.’”

Another tour that McSorley signed her Facilities team up for was the Yale Art Gallery, which she says was “very special because it was interactive.” At the end of the session, they had to write a poem as a team about a sculpture. “It was an exciting challenge for our team to step outside of our everyday roles and environment,” she said. “Before the tour, I was expecting to spend an hour appreciating amazing art, but I did not anticipate that we would also find new appreciation for our teammates. We learned about hidden talents and interests in our group.”

Resources for remote teams

Beyond on-campus experiences, TEB also offers content for managers with hybrid or remote teams. From off the shelf activities like seasonal tips and trivia, to recognition resources for marking milestone moments, managers can easily integrate moments of fun and celebration into their team meetings.

Choose your next adventure

Team Experience Builder makes it easy for managers to find and book unique experiences for their teams. Check out the latest additions: the Center for Collaborative Arts & Media, and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking.

There’s more to discover in the Resource Hub, from team meeting activities to volunteer opportunities.