As the end of 2011 approaches, your employees may be stressed out with holiday to-do lists, and productivity may be impacted by missed days and other holiday distractions. Team building exercises should be a part of your year-round employee motivation plan; however, as the end of the year approaches, it may be time to take a more creative approach.

Creative team builders can get your team on track.

Break out of the “ordinary” team builder shell and motivate your team with these three creative ideas:

1. Volunteer in the community. Your employees may be stressed this time of year. Family responsibilities, holiday shopping, and other personal stressors may be creeping into their on-the-job performance. Bring your team together — and make an impact in the community — by taking a day or half day to volunteer with a local nonprofit organization. To involve your employees even more, open up the specific organization to a vote, and let your employees choose where to spend their time.

2. Solve a murder! Yes, you read that correctly. Ever watch a “whodunit” show on television? Why not bring the fun and intrigue into your office. This can also be a fun way to involve your clients, if you feel comfortable enough to bring them in on this activity. Right in your office, create a “murder” (or another silly-type crime), and break your employees into teams. Offer clues, and scatter other clues throughout the office to help your employees solve the case. If you want to take this activity up a notch, invite a local high school or college drama club to serve as actors and create an even more exciting team builder. You can offer fun prizes to the first team that solves the case as well (extra lunches, paid time off, or something similar).

3. Flex some muscles. For the colder months, many indoor sports leagues will accept new teams – band enough employees together to get an indoor basketball or volleyball team started. To make sure no willing employees are left out, regardless of their physical ability, involve employees as coaches or referees, and not just players.

When you take the time and small investment to engage your employees in team builders, the short- and long-term rewards can be dramatic. And if you’re looking to add to your team, contact Masiello Employment Services. We help organizations across New England find the top talent they need to get to the next level.