Here’s how to encourage teamwork and boost employee connection at work
“Teamwork makes the dream work”. A cheesy cliché? Absolutely. True? Definitely. Whether you’re attempting to win the Premier League or trying to build a business, teamwork is fundamental to success. In fact, poor communication in the workplace has a tangible financial impact, costing businesses $1.2 trillion annually. But how do you stop talking about teamwork […]
“Teamwork makes the dream work”. A cheesy cliché? Absolutely. True? Definitely. Whether you’re attempting to win the Premier League or trying to build a business, teamwork is fundamental to success. In fact, poor communication in the workplace has a tangible financial impact, costing businesses $1.2 trillion annually.
But how do you stop talking about teamwork at work and start doing it? Let’s get into the hows.
Build in regular in-person time
While remote working isn’t going anywhere, there’s no replacement for in-person time when it comes to building connections. From all-hands meetings to team catch-ups over coffee, after-work drinks to employee book clubs, there’s no shortage of excuses for bonding. Try unusual approaches to get everyone involved like team vision boards
Make sure you acknowledge successes and offer recognition for team achievements, whether that’s with public shout-outs or rewards they can use to celebrate as a group (like a team lunch on the company dollar).
A few times a year, break up the typical routine, skip the awkward icebreakers and get out of the office for some fun. It doesn’t have to be a full company retreat with a massive budget. Bowling, laser tag or crazy golf (ahem) don’t break the bank but bring people together without it feeling forced. Plus, what’s not to like about gourmet street food, cocktails and some friendly golfing competition?
Create a listening environment
Nothing feels worse at work than being unheard, unappreciated and underutilised. To build healthy, effective teams you need to create an environment where people listen to one another and feel safe to share their ideas. This starts from leadership: if you want to encourage collaboration, you’ve got to be collaborative. Implement an open door policy and let people know they can come to management with any questions or concerns.
In meetings and brainstorms encourage contributions from everybody and offer respectful feedback. By making every team member feel valued you create a culture that fosters debate and creativity, rather than hierarchy and conflict.
Share the company vision
If people don’t understand what they are trying to achieve and why, they’ll get distracted, bored or demotivated. Quiet quitting – doing the bare minimum to get by at work – is on the rise, particularly amongst employees who feel over- or under-worked, under-compensated or burnt out.
As well as creating a respectful environment, keep people engaged by getting clear on your company vision and then sharing it loudly and proudly. Keep your team up to speed on progress and any shifts in strategy by holding regular all-hands meetings.
Define teams – and then trust them
Every individual team member should know who is doing what and how that contributes to the overall goal. Not only does this avoid people stepping on each other’s toes, it also makes it easier to create well-balanced teams with a strong mix of skill sets. Personality profiling such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or StrengthsFinder can be a great way to help your employees learn more about themselves and each other. Plus it helps you to make sure you’re not hiring more of the same type of person and to build a properly diverse workplace culture.
Once you’ve built clearly-defined teams, step back and let them get on with it. Nothing kills teamwork faster than micromanagement.
Have a conflict-resolving strategy
As those of us with siblings will know, in any team some conflict is inevitable. But if left alone to simmer, mild tension can escalate into resentment and rivalry, or even fully-fledged arguments – not ideal for a workplace environment.
Stop conflict in its tracks by acting quickly and making sure both parties feel heard (no finger pointing). Let each person express their side of the story and take steps to help them reconcile and move forward. And if one person has clearly crossed a line, it’s important to hold them accountable.
Bring people together via mentorship
Mentorship is a great way to help your more junior team members develop their skills while also encouraging cross-company connection. Create a programme where people can volunteer to be either mentor or mentee and offer a few guidelines to help them get started (such as how frequently they should meet and how to structure sessions). You can keep things fresh by introducing reverse mentoring – when a junior employee shares their expertise and perspective with a more experienced or older colleague.
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