Forget training seminars in hotel conference rooms. Or those dreaded catch-and-fall trust exercises.
These days, companies are using creative activities to build morale, camaraderie and teamwork among their workers.
They include team skydiving or bungee jumping (sounds more like a scare tactic), a group Segway tour and line dancing on the beach with matching outfits. These examples were given in a recent survey of 250 marketing and advertising executives by the Creative Group, a staffing agency.
M&T; Bank is bringing together 300 of its workers from the Northeast, including Maryland, to its namesake Ravens football stadium this week for a two-day training session built around teamwork.
M&T; executives say they wanted to do something a little different and fun to train their commercial bank relationship managers in selling investment products and services to their customers.
"We are all one team, and we could serve our customers the best if we could work together as a team to come up with solutions," says Michael P. Pinto, who is head of the bank's Mid-Atlantic division and based in Baltimore.
The first day of training today will feature a football game-like atmosphere where employees can test their skills in punting, passing and field goal kicking at stations set up on the field.
Don't know what you're doing? On the field will be Ravens offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel and former Ravens punter Kyle Richardson acting as coaches.
All the activity will be broadcast on the stadium's jumbo screens.
Tomorrow, M&T; says, workers will attend fast-paced, interactive 30-minute sessions at the stadium, with titles such as "Scoring a Retirement Touchdown: Going Beyond the 401(k)."
Members of the bank's investment group will instruct relationship managers on products and services for their commercial customers.
"We have training going on all the time," says Jane Kennedy, manager of product strategies for M&T; Investment Group, which is based in Baltimore. "It's traditionally somebody goes out, and [we] have meetings. In order to create energy, if you get all of these people together to hear the message in the same way at the same time in the backdrop of the stadium, you couldn't launch the commitment in any better fashion."
Workplace tidbit: We know meetings can be a bore.
What is it about these seemingly endless meetings that irritates us so much?
Well, here are the top 10 reasons, according to recent survey of 1,037 workers by Opinion Research USA:
1. Disorganized, rambling meetings: 27 percent say.
2. People who interrupt others and try to dominate the meeting: 17 percent.
3. Cell phone interruptions: 16 percent.
4. People who fall asleep: 9 percent.
5. Meetings with no bathroom breaks: 8 percent.
6. Long meetings without refreshments: 6 percent.
7. People leaving early or arriving late: 5 percent.
8. People who check their BlackBerrys: 5 percent.
9. Meetings starting late: 4 percent.
10. No written recap of meeting outcomes: 4 percent.
What's your meeting pet peeve? Send your stories, tips and questions to working@baltsun. com. Please include your first name and your city. On the Job is published Monday at www.baltimore.com.