145 Team-Building Questions to Encourage Employee Engagement

Gusto Editors

Team-building questions are a great way to get employees to talk and connect with one another. These questions can be asked during more formal work events (like meetings, retreats, or conferences) or during casual interactions (like a team lunch or when gathered in the break room). 

Team-building questions (also known as ice-breaker questions) may be a can be a helpful tool in fostering connection and reflection among team members, or they can simply be used to kick off a discussion. Questions like these may seem light, but they often can help build trust and bond colleagues in ways that lead to stronger teamwork and better outcomes. They are a great addition to an HR strategy for boosting employee engagement.

Whether you have an in-person, hybrid, or remote team, you can implement team-building questions to spur team bonding, because they are easily incorporated into both live events and remote activities (with help from tools like Zoom or Slack).

Team-building questions can be used to introduce new employees to a group or as part of regular, standing meetings. They do not need to be reserved for special events. In fact, incorporating these questions on a regular basis can be an ongoing way to boost employee morale.

In this post, we’ll provide tips on how to ask good questions in a team-building activity. We’ll also share different types of team-building questions and a (long!) list of example questions.

How to ask questions during team-building activities

It can be awkward to start asking team-building questions. Here are some tips to make the process smooth and comfortable for everyone:

  • Plan the questions to align with the goals of the team-building activity
  • Don’t ask too many questions in any one session; a little can go a long way to meeting your goals
  • Include the questions on an agenda and send it to participants in advance, so no one feels put on the spot
  • Address the reasons why you’re including these questions as part of your team activities
  • Acknowledge that some people may be uncomfortable with answering certain questions and offer alternatives
  • Kick off the activity by answering the question yourself
  • Ask for feedback from your employee on how to improve in the future

Different types of team-building questions

There are hundreds of possible team-building questions to ask during your events, programs, retreats, and meetings. Which types of questions you ask should align with your goals for increasing employee engagement.

Not all questions will be applicable or appropriate to each group exercise. When you select the right questions, you’ll help employees deepen employee engagement and contribute to a positive company culture.

Often, the team-building questions (or ice-breaker questions) encourage participants to share brief, personal details about themselves. It’s a good way for people who don’t know each other well to learn more about one another.

When designed well, good icebreakers can set the tone, mood, or theme of the work to follow. Team-building questions come in many categories, including the following:

Background questions

Background questions share personal and professional experiences. They give coworkers context about one another and allow colleagues a glimpse into the journies and experiences of their team members. These are an excellent choice when a group does not know each other very well.

Work-related questions 

Work-related questions help employees to understand what’s important to their colleagues about the jobs they do. The answers to these questions can also help leaders understand what employees value or where there are disconnects.

Pop-culture questions 

Typically, these are easy questions to answer. Sharing a favorite movie, book, song, movie, or actor can be great fun. After all, who doesn’t want to know who the biggest Taylor Swift fan in the room is?

Personal-preference or hobby questions

These questions are often used in groups that already know each other well. They’re an opportunity to learn a bit about what people do outside of work. By asking about hobbies, activities, or experiences that people have had, you can spark curiosity and discover commonalities.

Fun or quirky questions

Sometimes, you just want your questions to prompt a laugh or two. Fun and quirky questions help to set a relaxed mood and encourage people to let their hair down. They can also end up providing insights and surprises that the group didn’t know about their teammates.

Scenario-based questions

Questions that solve a problem, ask for thoughtful insight, or are provocative have a place in team-building activities. Such questions often require reflection or explanation. If your activity is meant to ponder big questions or complexity, these questions are an ideal way to spark conversation.

Values-related questions

These questions are a way to express personal values, beliefs, and principles. The answers can be quite intimate so take care when selecting which questions to ask.

Debatable questions

These are seemingly unanswerable questions that get people thinking. They can help people build an argument and can be used as a way to get people to advocate for their opinions.

Would-you-rather questions

These questions offer two or more options for people to choose from. These are a ton of fun and a great way to learn some reasons why people would choose from among given choices.

145 Examples of team building questions

Now, it’s time to put together your question list—and we’ve got you covered. Here are good questions to consider in each category.

Background questions

  • What’s your favorite all-time vacation destination?
  • Did you have a pet as a child? What was its name?
  • What’s your favorite animal?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What was your first job?
  • What’s one word you’d use to describe yourself?
  • What’s the kindest thing someone has ever done on your behalf?
  • What was your first car? What’s your dream car?
  • How did you end up in the community in which you live?
  • Do you speak any foreign languages? Why did you learn it?
  • Have you ever been on a radio or TV show?
  • Who was your favorite teacher or professor and why?
  • What was your favorite class in college or high school?
  • Have you ever lived in a foreign country?
  • What’s the best thing you cook?
  • Are you a morning person or a night person?
  • What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
  • What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
  • What’s your favorite cuisine and favorite restaurant?
  • What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
  • What’s your favorite season? What’s your favorite thing to do during that season?
  • What screensaver is on your computer or smartphone?
  • What clubs were you in in high school or college?

Work-related questions

  • What do you consider to be your greatest professional success?
  • In your opinion, what’s the most effective way to collaborate with team members?
  • When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What are your deal breakers when it comes to a job? 
  • What’s your favorite thing about your job?
  • When you work from home, where do you work?
  • Describe one item that you keep on your work desk and why it’s important to you.
  • What’s one work-related skill you think everyone should learn?
  • What’s a piece of career advice you wish you had received earlier?
  • What’s one piece of career advice you would give to someone just starting out in your profession?
  • What’s the best part of your work day?
  • How do you like to be recognized for a job well done?
  • Have you had a previous career? If so, what was it and what did you do?
  • What are you looking forward to most about retirement?
  • If you were to change paths and choose another career, what would it be?
  • What do you value most among your colleagues?
  • What do you value most about your job?

Pop-culture-related questions

  • What’s your favorite movie released recently? 
  • What’s your favorite movie of all-time? (For both this question and the one before it, you can substitute favorite book, television show, play, musical, video game., or other media type.)
  • What was your favorite TV show as a child?
  • What game show would you like to be on?
  • Who is your favorite character in pop culture?
  • What’s your guilty pleasure in pop culture?
  • What’s your favorite reality show?
  • Have you ever walked out on a movie? What was it and why did you leave?
  • Who is your favorite actor or actress?
  • What’s your favorite concert?
  • What was your first concert and who did you go with and where?
  • Do you have a go-to album you listen to over and over?
  • What fictional world would you like to be in? What character would you be?
  • Are you a “Star Wars” person or a “Star Trek” person?
  • Are you a DC or Marvel comics person?
  • What’s your favorite genre of music? What’s your least favorite?
  • Who is the most famous person you have ever met? What were they like?
  • If you could be friends with one celebrity, who would it be?
  • What celebrity do you follow religiously on social media?
  • What was your favorite cartoon or cartoon character as a kid?
  • Do you have a favorite Disney character?
  • Do you have a favorite Disney movie?
  • Is there a movie you watch every time you find it on television?
  • What movie have you seen over and over?
  • Is there a television series you have rewatched the entirety of?
  • What house would you belong to if you attended Hogwarts?
  • Who is your favorite Harry Potter character?
  • You’re stranded on a deserted island and can bring one book, one movie, and one song. What are they?
  • What movie always makes you cry?
  • As a teenager, what was your favorite band or singer? Is it the same today?
  • What’s your favorite quote from literature, TV, the movies, or a play?

Personal preference and hobby questions

  • What’s your hidden talent people here don’t know about?
  • What charity or cause is important to you?
  • Do you volunteer? If so, what organizations do you support?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
  • What is your favorite sport to watch or participate in?
  • What is your favorite cookie, ice cream flavor or fast-food French fry?
  • What are two things you are particularly good at outside of work?
  • Do you have any collections? What’s your prized possession in one of your collections?
  • Have you ever played a musical instrument? Do you still play?

Fun/quirky questions

  • Do you ever work in your pajamas? 
  • What’s the strangest or funniest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  • What’s your favorite emoji and why?
  • If you had a superpower, what would it be?
  • Who would play the lead in a movie based on your life?
  • You’ve been transported to a room where you find every item you’ve ever lost. You can take one item with you. What is it and why are you taking it back?
  • You have won a spot in the Olympics. What’s your event?
  • Make up one word that you can add to the dictionary and its definition.
  • What is your favorite decade?
  • What fashion trend were you glad to see go away? What’s one you’d like to bring back?
  • Did you have a favorite stuffed animal as a child?
  • You’ve won a lifetime supply of one item from your favorite restaurant. What did you win?
  • What’s your favorite food you could eat every day?
  • What’s one food you refuse to eat?
  • If you could relive one year of your life, what would it be?
  • What was your most fun birthday?
  • What would be your walk-on song if you were a professional wrestler or baseball player?
  • What’s your favorite board game?
  • When you’re going on vacation, do you prefer a road trip or an airplane ride?
  • If you HAD to perform one song in karaoke, what would it be? What’s the last thing you’d want to sing?
  • Build your own Mount Rushmore with four people who mean the most to you.
  • Name one word that is overused.
  • What’s a favorite smell from your childhood?
  • What would be the title of your autobiography? What would be the first sentence?
  • Congratulations, you have been given the BLANK prominent award. What have you won and for what?

Scenario-based questions

  • You’re hosting a dinner party and can invite three historical figures. Who are they?
  • Name one item on your bucket list, either one you’ve completed or that’s still to be done.
  • You have a personal robot assistant who can take on one task for you. What would it be?
  • If you were running for office, what would your campaign slogan be?
  • You’re suddenly given a day off that morning. How will you spend your day?
  • Would you like to be famous? Why or why not?
  • If you could immediately learn a new skill or ability, what would it be?
  • If you were given $1 million, what’s the first thing you’d buy?
  • You’ve won the lottery. Would you quit working?
  • You are host of a new late-night television show. Who is your first guest going to be?
  • What scientific discovery would you like to see in your lifetime?
  • You can tell one thing to every person in the world. What would it be?
  • You’ve won a plane ticket to anywhere in the world. Where are you going?
  • If you could live on another planet, would you? Why or why not?
  • Extraterrestrials have landed on Earth and offered to bring them to their world. Would you go?
  • What three items would you bring with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
  • You are put in charge of the world with unlimited power and authority for one year.  What would you change?
  • You are going to move to a different country. Where will you be living?
  • You can go back in time to any period in history. To “when” would you go?

Values-related questions

  • Do you have a favorite family tradition?
  • What would you like to be remembered for?
  • What was the best piece of advice a family member ever gave you?
  • What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in the past year?
  • If you were offered $1 million to give up your smartphone forever, would you take the money?
  • What are three things for which you are most grateful?

Debatable questions

  • Is pineapple an acceptable pizza topping?
  • After using watercolors, is the water used to clean your brush colored or discolored?
  • How many holes are there in a straw?
  • How many armrests does a person get when sitting in the middle seat on a plane?
  • You have a pair of pants. Is that one article of clothing or two?
  • You’ve just mixed dirt and water. Is the water dirty or is the dirt wet?

Would-you-rather questions

  • Would you rather take a vacation at a ski resort or the beach?
  • Would you rather receive a gift or have an experience to celebrate your birthday?
  • Would you rather see 10 years into the future or 100 years into the future?
  • Would you rather be able to fly or become invisible?
  • Would you rather stay in on a Friday night or go out?
  • Would you rather know all the lyrics to every song or the answers to every trivia question?
  • Would you rather have a pause button or a rewind button on your life?
  • Would you rather listen to music or read a book?
  • Would you rather eat breakfast for every meal every day for two weeks, or eat dinner for every meal every day for two weeks?

Team building is an important part of your employee engagement strategy. Connecting employees to each other by using strategic team-building questions helps deepen relationships.

At Gusto, we help companies with their HR strategy, employee engagement, benefits, and talent management

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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