Organizations large and small, long-established and new, face a tougher competitive climate in the 21st century business arenathan ever before. Most spend time, money and energy in thinking what they can do to deliver their product or service better, faster or cheaper than the competition.
While investing in customer feedback and marketing intelligence is hugely important, it is easy to spend so much time looking outward, that the organization misses one of the most fundamental ways in which it can add value. And that is through its people.
Benefits of a teamwork culture
By creating a culture in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, businesses derive a range of benefits. When people feed off each other and exchange opinions, they are more likely to come up with innovative ideas regardingthe products and services being offered and the internal processes by which they are delivered.
Working well as part of a team also increases employee morale. Humans are social creatures by nature, a truth that was first observed by Aristotle almost 2,500 years ago. Improved morale means better productivity and reduced staff dissatisfaction andabsencerates.
It is definitely worthwhile for businesses to invest in creating a teamwork culture. Here are five ways of doing so:
1) Reassess bonus structures
There is more to work than the pay check, but it would be disingenuous to look anywhere else without first assessing the reward structures in place. If employees are looking to hit or exceed personal sales or performance targets to get their bonus or commission payment, then you cannot be surprised if they are focused on the four walls of their specific role or clients.
If instead it is based on overall team performance and distributed equally, there is automatically more of an “all in this together” atmosphere.
2) Hold regular meetings
Assemble the team as often as you can to discuss strategy and assess both successes and failures. The meetings do not have to go on for hours, but just getting everyone together for, say, 30 minutes on a Monday morning to talk about the week ahead fosters greater cooperation and understanding of how each person’s role fits into the bigger picture.
It is also a great opportunity for team members to get to know each other a little better. Monday morning is the perfect time for these meetings, as you can also spend a few minutes exchanging stories about what everyone was doing over the weekend.
3) It doesn’t have to be work, work, work
Following on from the above, if team members get on well together socially, they will inevitably feel more comfortable in each other’s company and work better as a team. Encourage and foster social activities that have nothing to do with work. These might be sports clubs, or given the ease with which you can buy lottery tickets online these days, you could think about setting up an online lottery syndicate, in which even remote team members who are based in other locations can get involved.
4) Celebrate success
If you have a bumper month, land a massive new contract or complete a project ahead of time and under budget, make sure the team gets the credit for it. Ordering in pizza for lunch or taking everyone out for a few after work drinks does not cost much, but is the sort of gesturethat can strengthen a team.
When the opposite happens, and you have a bad month, it is time as a manager to stand up and take responsibility, while inviting input from the team as to what can be done better in future. Nobody ever said that being the boss was going to be easy!
5) Remember the remote workers
Plenty of teams are now spread across the globe, so it is not possible to take everyone out for lunch once a month. Pay particular attention to the remote workers, to ensure they feel included. Remember to “reply all” on emails, and consider setting up virtual spaces where people can indulge in “water cooler” chat as well as discussing the latest work project.
Look after your teams
Any business needs to view its people as its most important asset. But it is important to remember that to get the best out of them, the whole needs to be greater than the sum of its parts. Invest in team building to create a workforce that is motivated, engaged and pushing together to take the company to new heights.