How do some teams work so well together, while others struggle to improve teamwork?
It’s a question common among companies, team leaders, and employees who struggle with invisible workloads. Perfecting the concept of teamwork, or even just improving it, creates a domino effect that’s beneficial for your bottom line. However, failing to capitalize on excellent teamwork can set your goals on fire.
So, how can you guarantee teamwork is part of your company culture from day one? To help you with this task, we’ve rounded up some proven hacks for creating a cohesive, happy, and effective team — whether it’s large, small, virtual, or in-office.
In this article, you’ll learn what ideal teamwork is, its role in the workplace, and its importance. Not only that, you could fill your mind with ways to improve collaboration and push your company beyond its potential after reading this.
Why Is It Important To Improve Teamwork?
With everyone on the same page, teamwork creates an atmosphere of harmony. Working together improves efficiency, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. Coherent teamwork motivates members to perform at their best as well.
Effective teamwork creates a high-performing team. With this group of people working together collaboratively, your bottom line is easier to reach. Plus you get unneeded stress off your shoulders.
Keep in mind that as a business owner, a team leader, or a manager, you’ll have a lot on your plate and may have to attend to multiple things at once. However, if you have a productive team working together, you’ll have less to think about. Difficult tasks will be easier to manage and long-term team projects are easier to handle.
Here’s why improving teamwork is a must to achieve your organization’s long-term goals:
A. It Builds Up Workforce Morale
Effective teamwork contributes to employee engagement at your company – crucial for lower turnover and overall business growth.
You boost your team’s morale by working with them on creating a career map. If your members know they’re part of your plans, they will be more motivated to work hard and stay with you.
B. Less Burnout Or Stress
Teamwork means more people share the workload, making it easier for everyone on the team to focus on their tasks without feeling overwhelmed. This helps avoid excessive stress and job burnout.
As the team leader, there are a couple of ways to make your employees’ working environment more stress-free, such as:
C. Better Employee Retention
A working environment that makes your team feel respected, valued, and trusted, will make its members stick around – it’s not just about money anymore. Teamwork helps improve employee retention and also lowers costs.
When employees stay, you don’t have to go through the whole hiring and onboarding process again. It creates consistency, better customer service, a more skilled workforce, a stronger team dynamic, and an improved corporate culture.
D. Increased Autonomy
Teamwork fosters a trusting environment. It provides team members more freedom to do their work and in making decisions. It gives them more ownership of their work, leading to satisfaction.
Giving more freedom allows them to be accountable for their actions. With employees being honest about mistakes or other factors early on, finding a solution can become easier without disrupting the timeline for achieving goals.
E. Improve Innovation And Creativity
When everyone bands together, they can intellectually stimulate each other. Successful teams with collaborative behavior are also better at finding solutions and more likely to succeed under pressure. One team member might suggest gamified pop ups to increase conversions and another will suggest conducting customer satisfaction surveys for customer retention. Some will consider the pros and cons of these questionnaires.
Overall, there will be creativity plus a check and balance of ideas. Teamwork aids in establishing a stable learning environment. When people are exposed to new ideas, they begin to think more broadly about their ideas.
With the benefits in order, you surely want to experience them for your team. Here are 11 ways you can try to help your team be more productive.
11 Ways To Improve Teamwork For A More Productive Team
When you have several people working on the same project, keeping everyone on the same page can be challenging for managers and team leaders.
And yet it’s something that all leaders face at some point in their careers: how do we get these people to work together and hone a culture of trust and collaboration?
Follow these proven strategies, and you’ll have a cohesive team in no time.
1. Set Clear Goals
As mentioned, teamwork is about employees working together to achieve shared goals. If those aren’t clear, the project falls apart. As the team leader, it’s up to you to sit them down and explain project objectives or long-term and organizational goals. Provide an outline and highlight the top priorities.
Fortunately, you could use the SMART framework when developing team goals. The image below shows what this framework means. But to make it more understandable, we’ll give you an example.
Let’s say you want to generate new creative designs for a season-sensitive and niche-specific product like a KN95 face mask. There are plenty of ways to do this, and one of them is to be clear with the bottom line. Here’s how you incorporate a SMART goal to guarantee your team members have clarity on what you want to achieve:
- Specific: Creative design is a broad subject. Focus on a precise issue, like improving purchases.
- Measurable: Measurable goals must be linked to a metric that allows you to track them. In this case, it can be the number of purchases, add-to-carts, or eCommerce store visits.
- Actionable: You can provide tools or suggest websites to boost creativity.
- Realistic: Don’t just come up to your team and say you want unlimited design ideas. Give them specifics. How many ideas to generate and possibly, design categories.
- Timebound: Give the team a reasonable date when you want to see a spike in conversion rates. Set incremental weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals.
Hence, your SMART goal should look something like this: Our common goal is to increase facemask sales by 20% within the next quarter by generating a steady flow of designs (at least 10 designs/week) to offer to consumers.
2. Communicate Proactively, Not Reactively
Keeping communication consistent among your members is crucial to improving teamwork. Set team meetings, establish communication platforms, update each other when reaching milestones, and encourage them to speak up.
Don’t just meet up when a problem arises. Frequent communication is key for a teamwork environment to flourish especially when handling an eCommerce store where you need to rely on overseas sourcing firms because you aren’t in control of most elements in the workflow.
Especially for industries like this, you need to meet and plan for an eCommerce help desk like what ReplyDesk offers to address customer concerns promptly if ever they arise.
Poor communication leads to misunderstandings and workplace conflicts. That’s why communication platforms are powerful tools you could maximize to improve teamwork. Try using Slack, MS Teams, or Skype.
By using any of these tools, you can make the communication between members of your team more open, constant, and seamless.
4. Recognize And Reward Teamwork
A simple thank you or acknowledgment goes a long way to celebrate team success. When you recognize good teamwork, you’ll see improvements in how they work together. When you give people credit for a job well done, it encourages them to do their best work; they’ll want to be recognized again.
Though you have to be careful not to play office politics by picking a favorite. Favoritism creates a negative impact and will make the teamwork you’ve built crumble. Hence, you have to create a transparent system for the rewards so employees know everything is fair and square. This involves creating a robust record of performance information. For this, you can leverage data capture systems so don’t have to manually keep track of employee milestones.
In terms of rewards, developmental opportunities are one of the best things you can offer the team. If you’re a marketing agency, you could enroll them in digital marketing programs to improve their knowledge and skills.
Doing this is hitting 2 birds with 1 stone. You offer them a chance to upskill while also helping your team develop more efficient team members. Rewarding with these opportunities is a team morale booster and may lead to better employee retention since they know their growth is valued.
5. Leverage Team Members’ Strengths
When working with a team, learn their strengths and weaknesses. It helps when assigning tasks to appropriate members and makes the project move forward more efficiently.
Take note of who is organized, who is creative, who is attentive, and other key characteristics needed for your workplace. This way you know who to rely on to help others in certain task areas. This also means you utilize and manage your talent pool more efficiently, allowing you to save time, money, and avoid a PR disaster.
Now, to have a solid understanding of your team members, you could use the following assessment tools to know what they’re good at and where they need to be improved:
- SWOT Analysis
- DiSC Assessment
- CliftonStrengths Assessment
If you don’t consider their strengths, you may waste time and lead your team in the wrong direction.
6. Reserve Time For Team Bonding
Everybody gets overwhelmed with work. Setting time aside for a simple get-together to just chat and get to know each other on a personal level, especially when working with remote employees is paramount. It doesn’t have to be grand. Just get everyone together in a social setting to release steam, relax, and forget about work for a while so you can enjoy the benefits mentioned below.
A great way to build strong team building exercises is by starting with a creative way to introduce your team and playing a quick round of brain teasers. They’re fun, easy, and allow them to bring a healthy ounce of competitive spirit. Plus, they’re also intellectually stimulating.
Furthermore, bonding allows them to get to know each other better, allowing them to trust each other more. It also gives them a chance to relax and recharge for their physical and mental health. Thus, they’ll be able to perform their duties more effectively and efficiently.
7. Don’t Micromanage Individual Performance
Micromanagement can make employees feel like their bosses are invading their personal spaces. You can improve teamwork by simply ensuring they have clear goals and expectations for each project, so they know the objectives and what needs to happen to meet those goals — and then let them go but be ready to assist when they ask for it.
Breathing down their necks leads to less productivity, as micromanaging bosses often spend too much time going over minute details rather than focusing on more important tasks.
Moreover, it can also make them feel like they can’t make any mistakes. It results in having fearful employees who will always be anxious, making them more error-prone. It also hinders effective collaboration since they’ll be afraid to speak up.
It’s better to leverage project management software or tools instead of micromanaging. You could track their progress and deadlines without putting unnecessary pressure and stress on them.
8. Encourage Diversity Of Thought
Value the perspective different people bring to the table to encourage diversity of thought. By doing so, you can achieve better results. Feeling heard motivates people to do their best work when they know they are valued by the company.
We know that sometimes it feels scary or uncomfortable to share opinions with others, especially when those opinions may differ from what others think. It’s your job to make them feel safe to share their ideas and opinions. Diversity of thought and an idea-sharing culture encourages creativity, innovation, and collaboration.
9. Set Aside Time To Give And Receive Feedback
Your feedback helps employees understand what they’re doing right and wrong, so they can fix the things that need fixing. Just remember that constructive criticism is not the same as berating them for mistakes.
The goal is to help them grow, not to instill fear. Knowing you want them to be better will make them more honest and accountable while scaring them will make them hide their mistakes.
However, feedback is not a one-way street. You also need to listen to your team members and ask them for their honest feedback. Allow them to talk not only about successes but also about challenges.
You can do this by scheduling regular meetings where your team members can share their thoughts with you. You might also want to try an anonymous suggestion box or employee surveys to solicit feedback. This will allow you to see if improvements are needed in specific areas.
10. Don’t Play The Blame Game
In a team, successes are shared but so are failures. Playing the blame game only results in poor teamwork and encourages negative behaviors. Plus, you can’t build trust between team members if they know they’ll be thrown under the bus when the chance arises.
Build strong team accountability while assisting each other in solving problems to improve teamwork. It’s crucial to build up camaraderie to create stronger team cohesion. Make sure everyone is willing to lend a helping hand when someone needs it instead of turning a blind eye because they don’t want to be involved if a problem surfaces.
11. Refine Workflows And Provide Tools
With the right tools, the team can work together more seamlessly. Even with remote workers of a team like when you hire a virtual assistant working from another location. Here are some project management tools you could use:
- Microsoft Project
Using these tools results in a systematized workflow to improve teamwork and consistency. Also, applying the other hacks on the list would simplify workflows within a team. For instance, if they have clear goals, effective communication, and some autonomy, they’ll be able to work more efficiently.
If you’re a team leader, you already know that getting a group of people to work together is harder than it seems. The good news is that there are ways you can implement to make life easier for your entire team — that’s what we’ve covered in this.
Can these methods improve teamwork overnight? No.
You have to remember that the art of teamwork can be learned and mastered over time. Also, these strategies are not one-size-fits-all. What you need to do will depend on your team’s needs.
With the right attitude, people, teamwork skills, and tools, you can build your team up to create a great foundation that results in a productive and harmonious workplace. What if you still lack team members to make up your dream team? Look no further because we’ll help you connect with the right talent for your needs.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement revenue-driven SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?