How Do Shared Experiences Enhance Trust in Working Relationships?

What’s the most important aspect of a successful working environment? While many elements contribute to a great team dynamic, trust is perhaps the bedrock of all prosperous working relationships. Employees who know they can rely upon one another feel confident and comfortable in the office, thus boosting performance and work ethic.

One of the best ways to enhance trust in the workplace is through teambuilding activities and exercises. An endeavour into which everyone puts effort can be immensely rewarding, not only in the sense of achievement which results from its completion but from the camaraderie and community spirit that it helps to foster.

The power of sharing

Experiences are amplified when shared. A pair of recent studies from Yale University showed that those people who experienced the same thing at the same time as someone else (in this case, eating chocolate) had more heightened emotions than those who experienced it alone – even when the subjects in question did not communicate. The very presence of another human undergoing the same experience was enough to add meaning and depth to the occasion.

While this might seem far removed from the workplace, the same principles are at play in any office, business or other working environment. A workforce which has gone through the same experiences together will understand each other better and subconsciously feel greater trust towards their colleagues, resulting in enhanced harmony and increased productivity. In order to install these values in your own organisation, it’s important to cultivate cohesive team building in the workplace.

Add meaning for optimum team building

There are a multitude of business team building ideas out there for you to take advantage of – even something as simple as a work lunch or exhibition visit can be conducive to strengthened bonds between employees. For such activities to have maximum effect, it’s vital to inject a sense of meaning, since this will heighten the emotional involvement of the participants and encourage them to work together with more commitment.

One way to do this is through the competitive angle – a team building quiz or sports match can bring out your employees’ competitive side and inspire them to work together to achieve victory. This shared experience can even encompass other companies and brand, facilitating opportunities for business networking at the same time.

Another way is through a formative activity which has real consequences; for example, through a charity fundraiser. Found.’s director Kieran Morgan recently completed a 1500km bike ride to raise money for children’s charity Coram, and found the experience to be immensely rewarding. The initiative was spearheaded by Club Peloton, a charity which uses cycling to raise money for deserving causes and encourages business networking in the process.

Support breeds strength

Crucially, it was the sense of camaraderie and the support of others engendered by the event – from both colleagues and fellow cyclists – which helped him to win through.“The enormity of what I achieved by completing the ride took a few days to sink in but the lessons I learnt about myself and my interaction with my fellow cyclists has taken a little longer. There were some very difficult times during the ride when the physical and mental exhaustion was starting to take its toll,” explained Kieran.

“The best way I found of combating this was to talk to whoever I may have been cycling alongside and it was amazing how the simple act of sharing even a few words with someone could take your mind off things. It’s probably not the most obvious example of team work, that would be the work the peloton does, but it was the support that a fellow cyclist would give during those moments that helped me get through it.”

The shared experience that Kieran enjoyed with his fellow cyclists not only gave him the boost he needed to finish the course, it also forged strong bonds with other professionals in the same industry. Therefore in addition to the main aim of raising a substantial amount of money for children in need, the event also served a useful secondary function of expanding his business network.

Well done to Kieran and his fellow cyclists, who raised a total of £600,265 for a great cause.