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Winning Strategies for Fostering Teamwork in the Workplace

By | May 7, 2019
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When employees work as a team, everyone wins. As Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said, teamwork was the secret to The Beatles’ chart-topping success. “They were four guys who kept each other’s negative tendencies in check. The total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person; they are done by a team of people.”

In today’s increasingly complex workplace, how do you build a teamwork culture that allows your company to attain chart-topping results? Here are 7 strategies for fostering teamwork in your organization – and the benefits you’ll experience along the way.

How teamwork benefits the entire organization

A highly effective team can generate ideas faster, share the workload better, and create a culture of empowerment that leads to better business results. As Andrew Carnegie, an American industrialist, once said: “Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Yet a recent study found that that 39% of employees believe that people within their company don’t collaborate often enough.  While it may seem like an impossible task to overcome in today’s increasingly dispersed digital workplace, you can avoid this trap by building teams that balance the strengths, skills and interests of individual employees, while emphasizing the value of collaboration, mutual support, and trust.

4 key benefits of building a teamwork culture in the workplace

1. Happier employees

When teams function effectively, employees feel free to share their creative ideas while enjoying a true sense of belonging. Individuals feel valued, productive and fulfilled while contributing to the goals of the organization.

2. Ideas, innovation and productivity

Team interaction stimulates the free exchange of ideas which can spur innovation. Collaboration also creates a connected workplace culture where sharing the workload gets the job done quickly. According to a Nielsen report, collaboration is a critical factor for innovation success, outranking both leadership and access to financial resources.

3. Attract and retain top talent

A Gallup survey found that employee well-being – derived from things like recognition, fulfilling work, and supportive co-workers – is key to employee loyalty. A collaborative workplace culture can also help your company attract top talent. According to Forbes, companies like Uber, Facebook, and Salesforce usestrong corporate culture as a bargaining chip to recruit the best and brightest talent.”

4. Happy employees = happy customers

When the team brings their best skills and ideas to the table, they are more likely to create better products and services for customers. And what’s good for customers is good for the bottom line. A study by the Kenexa Research Institute found that companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the net annual income of companies whose employees fall behind on engagement.

7 steps for creating a thriving teamwork culture

So now we know why teamwork matters, but what can organizations do to achieve it? By building effective teams, you can create a workplace where employees feel motivated, appreciated, and empowered. Here are 7 steps for creating a teamwork culture that benefits the entire company.

1.  Foster creativity through camaraderie.

In a collaborative workplace environment, employees are more likely to be motivated, positive and creative. Boost team spirit by encouraging group activities, celebratory lunches, or even donating time to a charitable cause. When people are comfortable with their team, they are more likely to listen and learn from one another, engaging in discussions that allow them to gain new perspectives. The inspiration and ideas that result can benefit the individual, the team, and the organization as a whole.

2.  Work with individual strengths.

Team members are more creative and productive if they are working on something that fits their strengths and interests, according to Gallup. Consider individual strengths, expertise, and availability to ensure the highest quality output. Perhaps the team itself can decide on the breakdown of responsibilities, rather than having assignments handed to them by management.

3.  Keep communication lines open.

A Salesforce study found that 86% of employees and executives cite ineffective communications as a key reason for failures in the workplace. Staying connected allows team members to share what they have achieved, where they are struggling, and new ideas they may have. Booking regular stand-up or review meetings in your team calendar allows plans to come into focus and provides an opportunity for feedback and re-direction.

4.  Take risks together.

Shared goals go hand in hand with shared risk. Encourage your teams to take calculated risks. Taking on more risk is easier when you’re part of a supportive team – and the business benefits are shared by everyone.

5.  Empower employees.

To cultivate a workforce that is creative, productive and full of team spirit, empowerment is key. Reward people for collaborating and contributing. Let them know you value their ideas and efforts. By including employees in every stage of decision-making, they will be more likely to be involved, motivated, and invested in the organization’s success.

6.  Celebrate team successes.

Take time to celebrate achievements along the path toward common goals. According to a study published in Nature Human Behavior, team members who have shared past successes have greater odds of future success. Go ahead and recognize significant milestones. Give the team a celebratory lunch or reward individual contributions with gift cards. Or, ask team members to share their success story on the company newsroom or at a quarterly meeting.

7.  Fuel teamwork with the right resources.

The right combination of talent and skills is important, but access to the right resources can make the difference between success and failure. Ensure teams have a good meeting space – without interference or distractions – so their ideas can flourish – be it a physical or online space. Make sure they have the right tools, resources and budget to facilitate collaboration.

By taking these seven steps towards fostering a teamwork culture, you can create an organization where individuals enthusiastically work together to contribute to common goals for the success of the entire company. Once you tap into the power of teamwork, the possibilities are endless. Just ask The Beatles.

Take the next step in creating a teamwork culture

Looking to create a culture of teamwork in your workplace? Igloo can help your organization improve teamwork effectiveness and cultivate a culture of collaboration with our next-generation intranet – a digital workplace platform designed to bring people, tools, and information together to boost collaboration and foster productivity – which benefits both the individual and the organization.

Learn how Igloo can help you improve collaboration in your digital workplace.