The Helping Hands Program is a corporate team building activity unlike any other and is guaranteed to change the way that employees see their work and give them a renewed sense of energy and purpose. We are the exclusive providers of this life-changing activity through Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.
For those of you who have not heard about us before, then we would strongly advise you to check out the below video.
Essentially, attendees at this activity get the chance to build artificial hands for later donation overseas. The artificial hands that teams build literally find their way to an amputee land-mine victim that would otherwise be unable to afford a prosthesis.
HERE’S HOW THE PROCESS WORKS…
Professional facilitation, as always, is key to ensuring that you get the most out of the activity. We have a team of facilitators that have all received specialist training in running this particular program. However, unlike other team building companies, we think that this activity is just too cool to keep to ourselves. So if you can’t afford for us to facilitate for you, then we also provide ALL the information and training that you will need to be able to facilitate the activity yourself!
Activity Kick Off
At the start of the activity, participants are provided with a bag of parts and an instruction manual. They typically feel a little overwhelmed and might even be a little cynical.
THEN, we show a video which reveals the true purpose of the activity and helps everyone connect with it on a deeper level. Participants all of a sudden realise that if they work well together, they will literally be changing someone’s life on the other side of the world….. At this point, you can normally feel the energy in the room as people begin to tackle the task at hand!
In groups of 3, 4 or 5 the teams then go about building the hands. There are detailed instructions provided, so all groups are set up for success. As an added challenge, normally participants bind one of their hands during the build process to further remind them of why they are doing the activity. Often individual participants will take on unique roles within the team and, as with any team, there will be interesting team dynamics that emerge to debrief at the end of the activity.
Decoration of the packaging
Each hand is put into a container which has been uniquely decorated by participants. This is a critical component of the activity. Some people will feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of building a hand and will prefer to use their artistic skills during the exercise. BUT it’s way more than just an outlet for those of us that are more artistic than others… It’s the artwork component of the activity that helps the recipient understand that this is a gift of love from one person to another. Read on further to find out how!
The help desk
During the activity a help desk is setup where participants can go to ask technical questions if they are having trouble putting together the hand. The person behind the help desk needs to be fully trained in building the hands before the activity commences. If you hire us to facilitate then we look after this for you!
Once groups complete the task, they bring their decorated container up to the front of the room and have a photo taken with it as a team. This photo is then put with the hand so that recipients can see the people that made their hand for them. It’s this stage that most clearly communicates for your hand recipient that this is a gift of love from one person to another.
Although we can use this program to debrief a wide range of topics, the following themes are some of the more common areas we focus on:
- The Power of Purpose and Meaning – Employees will leave the session with a clear appreciation of the importance of not just clarifying WHAT is expected of them but also WHY those accountabilities are so important. We will also explore how having a clear sense of purpose can help us overcome almost any challenges or changes experienced in the workplace.
- Collaboration – It’s human nature when we’re engaged, we tend to tunnel vision a little on the task directly in front of us. We want to feel proud and solve the problem ourselves. However, such behaviours also destroy value. Sometimes when we are at our best (ie. Engaged), we are also at our worst (ie. Tunnel-visioned). There is typically clear evidence of this occurring during our activity and we use this as a launch-pad to talk about silo-busting and collaboration back in the workplace.
- Customer focus and innovative thinking – When we truly commit to our customers and allow ourselves to challenge existing paradigms, incredible things are possible. In many ways the design of this hand challenged many existing assumptions about prosthetics design at the time. By sharing powerful real-life customer stories, our program aims to prompt thinking about how to deploy a more customer-centric approach within your workplace.
- Coordination in dispersed workforces – The remote-online version of our program precisely simulates the kinds of challenges teams regularly face when working in a dispersed team. Each team member possesses a different piece of the puzzle and it’s only through clear communication and connection with the “Big Picture” that teams will successfully deliver all outcomes required in the timeframes allowed.
- Personal and work-life integration – The remote version of this activity is also a great opportunity to share some genuinely meaningful work with your family. There are a several opportunities where all members of the family (young or old) may be able to help (if that’s the way your team chooses to approach the task). The coming together of each team member’s personal and work life often prompts powerful conversations about the norms that team wish to establish.
- Leadership versus supervision – The remote version of this activity intentionally provides for a supervisory role, together with a big-picture coordinating role. Contrasting these two separate, but complementary functions is a fantastic opportunity to talk about what leadership means for each individual in the team.
- Employee wellbeing – Both formats of this activity are a great reminder about what really matters. This activity can be a great entry into a conversation about self-care, resilience, and looking out for the health and wellbeing of our colleagues.
- Hand and finger safety – The most common workplace accidents in several major industries are acute hand and finger injuries. People lose part of their hand or wrist every day in workplaces all over the world. This activity has always been a fantastic way to get people to reflect on the importance of hand and finger safety. However, recently we partnered with a specialist safety organisation called Safer Together to develop a tailored version of our program to raise awareness of this important issue.
Once the debrief is completed, a “post build” video is played. This video is an opportunity for participants to reflect on the difference that they have just made. If they didn’t get a chance to try and strap the hand on themselves they will have a chance to see this done in the field. It is a fantastic way to complete the activity as it ensures that all participants are left energised and with a renewed sense of satisfaction and purpose.
A momento to remember the activity by
At the conclusion of the activity, each participant is left with a small gift that they can keep. It’s just a little thing (either a stubby holder or metal medallion). However, we think that its important as its a useful reminder about the activity and helps to increase the durability of any insights gained during our time together.
Once the activity is completed, all hands are shipped back to us to ensure that they are built properly. We then conduct a range of quality checks before shipping them off to where they are needed most.
Feedback from recipients
If pictures or videos of recipients with the hands they have been given (along with their uniquely decorated packaging) find their way back to us, we always do our best to share them with program participants. This part of the process is not something that can be guaranteed all of the time, but its an incredible bonus when we do receive photos back. We do not generally post individual recipient photos on our website or social media due to privacy considerations.
SOME OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Reuse and recycling
There are a range of spare parts, tools and plastic bags that are used within this activity. Any of these that are returned to us are then repackaged and reused for future participating groups. We are committed to this process and although it is more expensive for our staff to resort and repackage relatively inexpensive items like allen keys and plastic bags, it’s the right thing to do for our planet.
Helping Hands works best when there are 3 people in each group. Having smaller numbers ensures that the activity is as challenging as possible. There are also a few pinch-points in the build where everyone in the team will need to work together in concert on the same step if you’re building in groups of 3. Having said that, the activity still works really well in groups of 4, 5 or even 6. If building in a bigger group helps your organisation to get involved then we are all for it!
Duration and integration of the activity into your agenda
The activity takes between 1.5 to 3 hours to complete and is the perfect conclusion to a 1 day off-site or workshop. The most common amount of time that participating organisations would invest in the activity is between 2 to 2.5 hours. Participants are left feeling energised, inspired and filled with a sense of purpose.
Most people assume that the length of time required will be determined by how technically capable your team is, but that’s not really the case. Our expert facilitators will design the activity to perfectly fit into your available agenda timeslot. Just let us know how much time you have available, and what you want to achieve during the time that you have, and we’ll look after the rest.
Given we are now past the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of our customers have returned to running the activity in a face-to-face format. However, if your business context demands something a little creative, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE for social distancing options if required.