Whether you are a sports fan or not, chances are, if you were asked to name a successful sports team, you could list more than one in just a few seconds. Whether it’s rugby, football, cricket or other team sports, what is it that makes those teams so successful and, ultimately famous? And, even more importantly, is it possible to replicate that in your workplace?
Because teamwork isn’t just about sport, is it? People coming together and playing their part in the successful outcome of a project is important in all walks of life. It might be a group of people performing the same task in order to complete a project. Or, as with many team sports, it can be a group of people working on different areas of a project – areas that play to their strengths – so that the project is completed quickly and successfully.
In sport, the team management and coaches are responsible for building successful teams. Not only do they need to headhunt those with a reputation for being amongst the best in their field, they also need to scout out the new young talent that is going to carry that team into the future, hopefully with the same success.
Continued success will only come if all of those different people with their own sets of skills and strengths can be brought together to work for a common aim. And that can be easier said than done.
- Within that team, you might have more than one person who is full of confidence and vying for the position of leader.
- You might have people who just have complete personality clashes and will never be friends outside of the workplace. How do you get those people to work together for a common aim?
- Some of your staff will be extroverts whilst others will be introverts. All will have useful skills and attributes to bring to the table.
- Your staff will be from different educational, social and ethnic backgrounds. Depending on the type of company you are, your staff’s age range might be from 16 up to 60s and beyond.
These are the people that need to knit together and form a successful team.
What is the teamwork ethic in your workplace? Do you think you have already have a successful team or could there be more emphasis on teamwork?
There are different steps you can take to start building a culture of teamwork in your workplace. And, for you, this could result in an increase in productivity and a more motivated team of staff.
Eventually, this can also filter down to boosting your recruitment success. Young people – whether they be school leavers, students or graduates – are always looking to work in a place where they feel valued. If your workplace gains a reputation for a happy staff that works well as a team, that new young talent will be applying for your future roles.
Let’s take a look at some steps you might consider for building that top team.
Steps For Building A Team Culture In Your Workplace
Make Sure You Create A Holistic Team
Many workplaces use the vocabulary around teamwork. You might have staff members who hold the position of Team Leader or Senior Team Leader, for example. This usually means those people are in charge of group of more junior staff so it is used as a hierarchical term.
The staff who are part of that particular team often work on a similar task, or part of a task, doing the same job.
Creating a successful team in the workplace is about having staff working in their own roles in order to create a common outcome. Of course there can be sub teams within that who work on smaller projects but a teamwork ethic is one where everyone understands their own roles and the roles of others in what makes your company tick.
How Well Do Your Staff Know Other Roles?
A successful team is a team of staff who know where and how their role fits into the chain. They also know how their role relates to those of others. Arranging work shadowing amongst your staff can give them an idea of the different environments others are working in and a broader understanding of the company as a whole.
This means, when working on a project, your staff are not just completing their part as a standalone job. They will be more sensitive to targets and completing their tasks on time so that the project isn’t held up with others waiting for that ask to be completed.
In cricket, a world class batsman isn’t necessarily going to make a world class bowler or wicket keeper. That doesn’t mean, however, that those players don’t have a thorough understanding of the importance of each other’s positions and where they fit into the team.
It is the same in the workplace. Nd each team member must be made to feel important and a valued part of the team so that their performance isn’t diminished.
How Well Do Your Staff Know Each Other?
With such a diverse range of people – and therefore lots of personalities – in your workplace, no one is expecting everybody to be best friends. However, it can still be possible to foster a team ethic by encouraging your staff to get to know each other outside the workplace, too.
Creating social gatherings or encouraging running clubs or cycling groups, for example, can help your staff to get to know each other on another level. Some people behave completely differently outside of the workplace when they are more relaxed. It’s good for your staff to see these different sides to each other’s personalities.
Social events can also be good for your younger staff such as graduates or Apprentices who may have relocated to work for you. It can help them settle in and feel like they belong.
Are Your Staff Clear About Expectations?
This is about communication in the workplace. When a new project is getting underway, how is that project presented to your team? Is there a culture in your workplace where a meeting will be held and a clear intended outcome is presented? Do staff feel able to contribute their ideas and opinions on the project – to you, to the team leader and to other members of the team?
If team members contribute ideas or suggest looking at the project from different angles and these ideas are taken onboard, they are likely to feel more ownership of the project and perform to the best of their ability.
Everyone needs to be clear about the purpose of the project they are working on and open communication between staff at all levels is an important part of this.
Realistic Goal Setting
Whenever a project needs to be completed, there needs to be realistic goals for each member of the team to meet. Depending on the type of project, this could be time management goals or a financial target where some team members need to sell a particular amount of product or service. What is important is that these goals have been discussed and agreed upon.
Regular meetings where staff can discuss these goals and will ensure everyone is engaged and on track with the project. It also reminds them of the bigger picture rather than just the role that they themselves are playing.
If goals and targets are met, do you have any reward or celebratory system in place? This can help to keep your team of staff motivated and they know their efforts have been valued and appreciated.
When building a successful team in your workplace a culture where staff feel they can support each other is an important building block. Support from other staff can be especially valuable when you employ school leavers, students or graduates who are new to the role or who have little previous work experience.
As mentioned above, goal setting is important when working as a team but reaching these goals needn’t be a competition. Working together and supporting others so that they can make their contribution to the effort will ensure everyone is working towards completion of a project and some staff don’t feel left behind.
For younger staff like Apprentices or new graduates, having a mentor system in place where they have a designated person they feel they can go to about any work-related issues can give them a feeling of belonging. It can also highlight any areas where you could offer them structured further training so that they can carry out their role to the best of their ability.
Is Your Team Of Staff Diverse?
Diversity in the workplace can foster highly successful teams. A lack of diversity means your staff might be able to come to decisions quickly but these decisions might be similar with the same ideas being brought to the table.
A diverse workplace – people of different ages, genders, races, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, people with disabilities – means lots of different ideas can be brought to the table. Whilst some of these ideas might challenge how things have been done traditionally in your workplace, it opens up new ways of thinking and encourages innovation. It can also open up your products and services to a whole new set of customers who might have been missed out previously.
When you are recruiting new staff and are actively trying to create a diverse team of staff, make sure your interview questions remain on the right side of the law. There some interview questions you are not allowed to ask.
All great teams need a great leader. Depending on the nature and the size of the company, this leader might be you or you might have different leaders for different projects. Someone with good leadership skills will keep the momentum of a project on track whilst keeping the team motivated and enthusiastic.
A strong leader will also listen to team members and take their suggestions and ideas onboard both before the project begins and during the project.
A good, motivated team of staff has benefits for you as an employer. Not only does work get completed on time and to a high standard, if you build a reputation for having a motivated team, this can boost applications in future recruitment drives and also boost your staff retention.