A teamwork culture involves a collection of attitudes and behaviours that create the work environment surrounding a team.
A successful teamwork culture is characterised by:
- A drive to work together — the teammates believe proper collaboration will help the team move forward;
- High empowerment — the team is empowered to make decisions;
- High support — the teammates have the resources they need to do their jobs, but also take care of their personal needs;
- Training opportunities — the teammates have relevant cross-training opportunities.
A successful teamwork culture helps shape a successful organization:
- It strengthens teamwork, because it values the team’s contributions to the organization’s overall success. This helps make individuals feel a part of a community.
- It increases employee productivity, because it establishes a positive, supportive workplace. This increases employee happiness, and, in turn, their productivity. After all, research at Oxford University shows that happy employees are 13% more productive than unhappy employees.
- It increases employee well-being, because it promotes a proper work-life balance. This helps improve the physical and mental health of teammates, but also the organization’s overall image.
But, despite the clear benefits of a successful teamwork culture, toxic workplaces are still common. One survey shows that as much as one-third of 40,000 employees at 125 companies report having left their jobs due to “workplace conflicts”.
To promote a healthy teamwork culture at the workplace, you’ll need to make the right efforts. Here are 4 tactics that provide quality results.
1. Define clear common goals
The first step towards promoting a successful teamwork culture is ensuring the team has clear common goals to strive for.
To define clear common goals, first, think about the values, mission, and vision that shape your organization’s identity. Then, think about the norms you want your team to follow.
The values, mission, and vision are vital because they affect how people inside and outside of the organization will view you. A positive identity will help demonstrate the organization’s social responsibility and professionalism.
The norms are vital because they define the workflows and behaviour patterns teammates should adopt at the workplace. Clear directives about the dress code, meeting etiquette, onboarding processes, training programs, and workplace behaviour will not only help establish a successful teamwork culture, but also improve your business’s chances for success.
It’s crucial you make the team values, mission, vision, and norms transparent and precise. They will help the team outline clear common goals.
Once you’ve outlined your common goals, it’s time you ensure they are S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound:
- To make team goals Specific, ensure everyone understands what the team wants to accomplish, and why;
- To make team goals Measurable, ensure it’s possible to track progress towards them;
- To make team goals Achievable, ensure they match your team’s skills and talents;
- To make team goals Relevant, ensure they match your broader business goals;
- To make team goals Time-bound, ensure they have realistic timings.
Clear S.M.A.R.T. goals based on transparent and precise team values, mission, vision, and norms will help your team cultivate a sense of togetherness — a vital component of a healthy teamwork culture.
2. Establish effective team communication
The key to a successful teamwork culture lies in proper collaboration. And, the key to proper collaboration lies in effective team communication.
The first step towards effective team communication involves the 7 Cs of communication. When conveying information to teammates, ensure the said information is:
Coherent communication implies the information is logical and consistent. Coherence ensures the information is relevant to the topic discussed.
Concrete communication implies the information is specific. Concreteness helps avoid misunderstandings.
Courteous communication implies the information is delivered in an open and friendly manner. Courtesy helps you build great team rapport.
Correct communication implies the information is void of grammatical and other errors. Correctness enhances professionalism, but also the impact of the information conveyed.
Clear communication implies highlighting a specific piece of information. Clarity makes information specific enough to be understood faster and easier.
Confident communication implies assertive communication. Confidence underlines your words with the credibility they deserve.
Concise communication implies conveying information in as few words as possible. Conciseness helps you save time and money.
Yet, learning how to convey information is only half of the equation. To establish effective team communication, teammates will also need to learn how to actively listen to information presented by others.
Some best practices include:
- Providing nonverbal feedback — maintain eye contact to indicate attention;
- Providing verbal feedback — ask follow-up questions to encourage the speaker;
- Being patient — focus on what the speaker is saying, instead of what you want to say in reply;
- Reflecting on what you’ve just heard — summarize the speaker’s main points to ensure you understand everything.
Learning how to properly convey and listen to information can be covered in a couple of simple team training sessions — but, it will build a strong foundation for future collaboration and a successful teamwork culture.
3. Organize team-building activities
Team-building activities are used to improve teammates’ interpersonal relationships and help them better define their roles within the team.
Types of team-building activities you can consider include:
- Ice-breaking games for new teammates. For example, “Two Truths and a Lie”, a game where every teammate needs to provide three personal statements — two truths and one lie. The other teammates need to guess what are the truths and what is the lie.
- Problem-solving games. For example, the “Big Picture Puzzle Challenge”, a game where a group of teammates needs to solve a puzzle. But, they need to do so without the “Big Picture” that tells them where each piece of the puzzle goes.
- Conflict management games. For example, “Divide the Loot”, a game where teammates need to contribute fake money to a group pot, without revealing how much they contributed. Afterward, the same teammates need to negotiate how they want to divide the money.
- Communication games. For example, “Legoman”, a game where groups of teammates need to recreate lego structures within limited time frames. However, only one person is given the instructions for the lego shapes, sizes, and colors. This person needs to successfully communicate the instructions to other teammates.
- Cross-cultural games. For example, “Find Someone Who...”, a bingo-like game where people need to find teammates who have specific culture-related experiences to share.
The above-listed team-building activities bring a range of benefits to any workplace. They are great for helping teammates:
- explore their creativity;
- get to know each other better, on a personal, professional, and/or cultural level;
- understand how they can best communicate and collaborate;
- establish better interpersonal relationships overall.
Because of their benefits, team-building activities can help you promote a strong teamwork culture — one where teammates understand how they can better work together.
4. Celebrate the team’s successes
The final component of a teamwork culture where teams thrive is a work environment that celebrates when teams thrive.
You can celebrate the team’s successes in several ways.
First, you can celebrate the first accomplishments of new teammates. For example, provide public praise after new teammates successfully complete their first assignments. Such well-placed commandments will help new team members understand they are valuable additions to the team.
You can also make public acknowledgments for established teammates. For example, provide public praise to the people who made significant contributions to a successful project. This will help motivate the said teammates to continue contributing with equal quality.
Hosting an official celebratory event is another effective practice. For example, organize a celebratory pizza lunch or a Friday office party after landing a lucrative contract. This will help the teammates celebrate their success in a casual atmosphere.
You can also consider providing occasional pay bonuses. We cannot deny the power of a monetary reward, so, smaller pay bonuses are often an effective incentive to successful teams. These bonuses should be timely and tied to specific big achievements that occur throughout the year.
Celebrating team successes is a crucial boost for a successful teamwork culture. After all, each celebration of a team’s success paves the way for future team successes. Teams who know their contributions are valued feel motivated to continue being successful in the future.
A successful teamwork culture is the key to a successful team.
To promote one, you’ll need to:
- Define clear common goals, because they are a great team motivator;
- Establish effective team communication, because it is the foundation of productive collaboration;
- Organize team-building activities, because they will help teammates learn how better to work together;
- Celebrate the team’s successes, because it will inspire teammates to continue thriving.
As a result, you’ll establish a healthy, positive teamwork culture — one where individuals can easily grow into a top-notch team.
Want to learn more?
Creating a good company culture takes work. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you along the way. Learn how to create a company culture that performs well by watching our webinar on this topic.