A major part of the success of any organization relies on employees working together as a team. But how do you build a successful team environment? A recent study by Wakefield Research reveals that team building activities can be counterproductive in the workplace if not executed properly.

Why Teamwork is Essential

Teamwork is what holds an organization together, especially the more the team grows. If your business is a High Reliability Organization (HRO) that deals with hazardous or fast-paced situations, teamwork must be a core component of your business model. Hospitals, for example, are considered HROs. These types of hyper complex industries use a wide variety of components and require seamless teamwork, often from a large mix of full-time and part-time employees, as well as contractors and consultants.

When it comes to teamwork, it’s important that employees trust each other. Trust can be challenging when employees work on very differing schedules and rarely cross paths. If you are hiring for a highly interdependent team, here are some important characteristics to look for in “team players”:

  • Sense of accountability
  • Good understanding of organizational structure
  • Ability to gain immediate feedback on decisions
  • Strong communication and negotiation skills
  • Understanding of and synchronicity with common goals
  • Quick conflict resolution

Team Building Components

There are many ways you can encourage team building, from simple socialization to formal programs, i.e. corporate retreat, mentorship, charity fundraising.

Regardless of the vehicle, the following attributes make up the building blocks of a successful team building program:

  • A shared set of goals and a commitment to achieve them
  • An awareness that the end product is bigger than the sum of its parts
  • Interpersonal skills comprised of honesty, trust and respect for others
  • A willingness to listen to others
  • Open communication with positive feedback
  • Strong team composition in which each member makes a contribution
  • Commitment to team leadership and processes

Integrating Full-Time and Part-Time Employees

Your organization needs to be conscious of letting full-time and part-time employees work together in such a way where status doesn’t get in the way. The modern workforce is demanding more and more flexibility; the traditional 9 to 5 is becoming a thing of the past. Today’s work ethic has a more team-driven spirit that relies on workers being inspired by common goals to do quality work.

How do your employees like to communicate? Do you have the right systems in place to make sure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals? How can employees log questions and share best practices with employees outside of their immediate surroundings? From high-tech intranets to a simple corkboard, there are lots of ways to communicate internally but as a manager, you need to know what works best for your employees.

Mixing up the Generations

Since millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, young workers need to be groomed to be future leaders. Interestingly, 26 percent of millennials believe that one year is a long enough commitment to a job. To avoid high turnover, managers need to create an atmosphere where employees feel recognised and rewarded. Just as older and younger workers need to work together, experienced workers need to help inexperienced workers expand their knowledge.

Lack of learning and development opportunities is one of the most common reasons for people to leave their job. Investing in cross-generational mentorship and professional development programs will not only improve job satisfaction, it will increase your team’s overall performance and sense of camaraderie.


Image Credit: 드림포유