July 27, 2018

Keys to creating a collaborative team culture

Teams that embrace similar missions and have great communication are more likely to drive results and be productive. It’s up to managers to actively encourage a collaborative team culture. Here, some tips to do just that.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Managing Editor, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

Collaborative teams that embrace a similar mission are more likely to inspire innovative ideas and drive greater results and productivity. They’re also more likely to have fun while working, which is equally important for engagement and retention.

For teams to be productive, the key is building better relationships and developing trust. It’s important that leaders help coach employees to more effectively communicate and work together so the team can achieve positive outcomes.

While recruiters are consciously thinking about “fit” when interacting with candidates, HR and individual team managers need to actively encourage cooperation and collaboration among their existing team’s working relationships. Here are some tips for fostering productive relationships among your employees.

Match employees with the right roles

Each team member should have the opportunity to use their strengths and talents when working on individual or team projects. When managers assign team projects, they should ensure they pull together employees to balance skill sets and eliminate gaps. Diversity – in knowledge, age, gender, race – is also important. There’s a wealth of research that diverse teams are not only smarter, but positively impact the business bottom line.

Encourage team members to get to know each other

key finding from Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent was that great colleagues are a primary attraction for top-performing employees to stay in their jobs. There are several benefits of having good relationships with co-workers – whether a work best friend, or a reliable team that consistently works well together. Planning team-building activities and supporting social ties should be an important part of strengthening a team’s working relationship.

Evaluate teamwork as part of performance reviews

If companies want to create a culture of teamwork, they need to make it a part of the formal review process. Employees are more likely to take a goal seriously when they see it as a priority for the company. It also offers another touchpoint for employees to check in and offer their own feedback on how the organization supports teamwork.

Setting teamwork as a goal and tracking its progress can create a greater sense of “us as a team” amongst co-workers. “Metrics are actually the way that you can harmonize a large number of people,” says Greylock Partners’ Adam Nash in the New York Times.

Recognition as a team and individual

Whether working on a specific team project or not, employees appreciate being recognized for good work, both individually and as a team. Limiting positive feedback can hinder performance and make employees feel undervalued. Instead, encourage praise that is deserved and model positive behavior to encourage reciprocity among teammates.

Related: Three tips for effective employee recognition

Be transparent about company goals and initiatives

It’s important to create conditions that help teams perform well. Part of that is providing clear direction. That’s not just the tactical aspects of projects – it’s the bigger picture direction that creates a foundation and energizes a team.

Employees need to see how their work relates to the company's success, and how their efforts make a difference in achieving those goals. Help employees see their work from a big picture perspective, and they will be more motivated to help you get there.

As per Harvard Business Review, “People have to care about achieving a goal, whether because they stand to gain extrinsic rewards, like recognition, pay, and promotions; or intrinsic rewards, such as satisfaction and a sense of meaning.”

Provide tools and resources to help build better relationships

Technology, tools, and resources can help teams collaborate in various ways. There are collaboration apps and platforms, such as Slack and Google Docs, which help teams stay connected and work together at any time.

There are also tools managers can use to help assess their team members’ communication styles, and to help employees have more effective team interactions. Tools like these also help people better appreciate each other’s strengths and work styles.

As Ceridian’s Chief People and Culture Officer Lisa Sterling said in the Pulse of Talent survey, organizations should dive deep into determining exactly what they want from their employees, and continuously learn about what makes the best teams achieve more.

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