- CMO Elyse Estrada organized a virtual offsite to help her team build camaraderie and have fun.
- Their best team-building moment was a group lip-sync performance to “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen.”
- Estrada says it started off awkward, but the activity helped bring more clarity to the team.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Elyse Estrada, a 42-year-old global CMO at Aleph Group, Inc from Miami, Florida. It’s been edited for length and clarity.
I manage over 40 people on a mostly remote and hybrid global marketing team. In the fourth quarter of 2022, I worked with a small group from my team to organize a two-day virtual offsite team-building experience.
The people on the team sit in 28 different countries and span time zones from Mexico to Malaysia, so we have to get really creative regarding our team collaboration.
After we finally got all our brands utilizing Google Suite, which helped us feel less like we were operating in silos, we worked out the best ways to get together as a team to have fun and build camaraderie.
One experience in team-building was surprisingly the highlight
We selected four people from the team to organize the event. The first day was heavily content-driven, but the second day was dedicated to getting to know each other.
We’d worked with a team-building experience company called “The Go Game” to plan the day, which included breakout trivia groups and other interactive activities. The last activity, chosen by that group of four, was a group lip sync where teams would be highlighted on a virtual stage.
At first, most people were shocked at the idea of a group lip-sync
Only the four organizers knew the full agenda, so when it came time for the lip-sync activity, it was originally met with very mixed reactions as it caught us all by surprise.
The entire team got to choose from a selection of songs, and we unanimously chose “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.” Most people worldwide are familiar with that song, I realized that day, and the song has pretty universal appeal.
Then the song started and it felt awkward
Because we were all sitting in our respective work areas just staring at a screen, it was a bit slow at first. But since I was in musical theater and cheerleading when I was younger, I’m used to being the first to get things going — so I did.
As it was the holidays, I grabbed a stuffed snowman and quickly braided my long hair to get into character as Elsa, the main character in the movie. I could see on screen that other people were grabbing sunglasses and hats and other “wintry” props as the song was going on.
As part of the activity, random teams were highlighted and pinned on the virtual stage, and you could see some people start to unleash their inner Elsas. Some people had dramatic arm gestures. Others threw their heads back when mouthing the lyrics and really “let it go.”
I did notice that a few people on the team who are more introverted didn’t participate as loudly. Even so, I could see their faces on the screen and saw that the shy ones were at least smirking, amused by the show.
It was a joyful moment — and we rewatched it afterward
The next day, one of the organizers shared the recording of our performance in our team chat. Immediately it was flooded with emojis and comments — positive ones — as people rewatched and congratulated each other on their stellar performances.
The chatter lasted for days in our Google group chat about how much people enjoyed the entire virtual offsite experience — but most of all, singing “Let It Go” together.
The offsite had given everyone more clarity
We’ve been using that single chat as our digital watercooler ever since. The offsite had given everyone more clarity into how each person is contributing to our business priorities and, most importantly, who they can go to across the team to ask for help. The volume of conversation increased — and has stayed that way.
Getting to know new coworkers was our goal. Getting to see them be people and participate in a silly lip sync was what has made us a team.