To maximize its success, your company’s employees must be able to work together as a team. While workers understand that their jobs depend on the viability of the company they work for, optimizing teamwork in the workplace is not something that happens by itself. Instead, the managers of a company must set an example and lead the way in establishing a work environment conducive to fostering teamwork. Accomplishing this takes time, but the resulting boost to productivity makes the effort worthwhile. The tips listed below provide insight into how to go about building a culture of teamwork at your company.
Schedule Team Building Activities
Any company that relies on collaborative effort should schedule events that promote group cohesion and teamwork. You can hold these meetings both onsite and at remote locations, depending on their scope. Even simple activities, such as group lunches or get-togethers at sporting events after work, can be used for this purpose. While such events may not be directly related to work, by giving team members a chance to bond you can engender a company culture of cooperation and camaraderie that can enhance productivity.
There are a variety of approaches you can take at these team building events to get your employees to collaborate more effectively, including:
- Give employees chances to ask questions as well as offer advice and seek help when necessary.
- Before beginning team building exercises take some to time to conceptualize your vision: write down what it is you expect to achieve with the program and how you plan to make it happen. These objectives should dovetail with your company’s overall goals to ensure that your employees’ work habits are optimized to your company’s specific circumstances.
- Make them fun, with friendly competitions and other activities which enhance employee engagement.
It’s not enough for your team members to know the tasks they are expected to undertake. Also, team members need to be able to collaborate productively – and to do that they need to communicate effectively. To encourage this, explain to each worker how the various roles involved in the project are connected to each other in terms of project implementation. This will make it easier for team members to reach out to the right individual if they have comments or questions about particular portions of a task.
To facilitate communication, use collaboration solutions to optimize sharing of information such as status reports and project feedback. These solutions, by allowing comments from multiple individuals on a single topic, allow for more efficient communication than can be obtained by individual team members emailing or calling each other.
Team members should be informed that they are expected to live up to company standards. Open and straightforward communication in the workplace should be emphasized when communicating with employees. Feedback should be delivered in the form of constructive criticism when improvement is needed. Management should stand ready to deal with issues of underperformance when they arise.
Focus on results rather than the individual – if a team member’s results are subpar, outline the steps they can take to improve them. The idea is not to criticize but to encourage each member of the team to find ways to do things better – both for themselves and for others. To ensure optimal results, a project leader needs to closely monitor results on a worker by worker basis.
If a team member’s results fall behind schedule, action should be taken immediately to help them get back on track. Make team members aware of their progress on both an individual and team level to encourage everyone to work together to achieve the common goal.
Develop a Shared Vision of Success
Simply laying out the goals the company, team, or individual employees are expected to attain is not the most effective way to encourage teamwork. Instead, meet with your team members and discuss the methods that can be used to reach the stated objectives. Give them the chance to provide their input into what successfully achieving these goals entails.
Taking this approach helps develop the bond between the members of a team and increases their engagement in the process of working together to meet an objective. To increase buy-in, stress that all members of the team share the responsibility for achieving the group’s goals. Make sure that the team receive all applicable information about deadlines, milestones, and progression towards project objectives. If every team member feels the success of the project depends to some degree on their efforts, the chances that the group will meet its objectives are likely to increase.
Reward Group Achievement
While individual competition certainly plays a part in motivating and compensating employees, to enhance teamwork rewarding the achievement of the group is essential. In addition to any individual performance rewards or bonuses that apply, make sure that similar incentives are in place at the group level.
Practicing transparency in regard to progress towards group objectives encourages team members to work with each other to help meet those objectives. This approach provides a platform by which more experienced employees can be motivated to help mentor newer employees. Because doing so benefits the group as a whole and thereby the veteran employees, the results are likely to be better than if they were simply instructed to act in this way without receiving any tangible benefit in return.
When setting group goals, consider the following:
- Focus on making initial goals attainable, especially when the team is new. Shared success is a powerful stimulus to building camaraderie among team members.
- As the group’s cohesion and skills grow assigning tougher tasks is more appropriate.
- Be careful of ramping up the difficulty level too steeply; a gradual approach where group objectives slowly become more difficult to achieve over time is the preferred approach.
- Leaders should provide goals that are subject to measurement and monitoring over the course of a project’s life cycle.
- Metrics relevant to the project’s progress should be shared with team members on a regular basis so that implementation strategies can be changed if necessary.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps managing your team more efficiently. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…