By Elissa Bass

The term “team building” has been overused enough in the world of corporate jargon that it can send employees running when the memo goes out; but if done right, it can be an important and effective component of management.

According to The Team Building Directory, an organization promoting corporate activities, “In terms of corporate development, team-building exercises are important not for the immediate experience of the activities performed by the team, but also for the group skills, communication and bonding that result.

The activity is merely the means to the end: a high-impact learning experience. Teambuilding programs provide realistic experiences that empower individuals to contribute to common goals. The success of most organizations depends on the ability of individuals to build effective teams.”

Nowhere is the importance of working as a team more important than in healthcare. Pre-COVID, we asked about team-building activities at HHC, and here are some things you’re doing:

Christina Sutherland

Laboratory manager, Hartford Hospital Center for Anti-Infective Research and Development

Sixteen members of the department participated in an escape room activity, the first off-site event they did. “This let us have some fun together outside of the workplace. We got to know each other better, we got to know a little bit more about each other’s strengths when working in a group to solve these problems,” Sutherland said.

Melinda Lodge

ICP project coordinator, Wethersfield SSO site leader

With a team of more than 125, “teambuilding” activities allow us to get outside of our normal work environments, collaborate and get to know each other on a more personal level, Lodge said.

Creating a silver lining while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, Lodge said, “To keep in touch with each other virtually, we set up weekly all-staff virtual Zoom meetings on Thursday evenings. This is open to any staff able to join and gives us the opportunity to virtually meet ‘face to face’ with one another. It has also given us the opportunity to virtually meet our coworkers’ spouses, children and pets; and keep us all connected during this time.”

Submitted photo: The ICP Health Economics Team stepped up for an axe throwing session. From left to right are: Rick Hein; Steve Gilbert; Alisha Daines; Jeremiah Sievers: Jack Grad: Audrey Larkin; Dan D’Amico; and Eric Wester.

Elizabeth V. Szymanoski

Manager of philanthropy, Hartford HealthCare Central Region

Nine team members spent an afternoon “crafting” at Board & Brush in Southington. Everyone chose a project and the company provided materials and instructions. The team brought snacks during their three hours of creative time. “I think this time helped us to get to know one another more on a personal level,” Szymanoski said. “We hadn’t done something like this and we have a small team and our structure and team members had changed over the last year. It was a nice opportunity to do something together that didn’t involve our professional work and gave everyone an opportunity to learn more about one another.”

Submitted photo: Getting creative, in the front row from left to right are: Nancy Honore; Rhea Highsmith; Amanda Nardiello; and Elizabeth Syzmanoski. In the back row, from left, are: Cheryl Belomizi; Regina Woltmann; Tina Fabiani; Laura Libby; and Nicole Kaczmarczyk.