Team building strategies are essential for companies dealing with the fallout of the Great Resignation and developing its workforce.
Here's what you need to know:
- Team cohesion refers to the the level of bonding, trust, and camaraderie present in successful teams
- Cohesiveness must exist before actual collaboration between employees can take place
- Team building exercise ideas include brainstorming sessions, volunteer days, and scavenger hunts
Team building strategies have always been important because they make colleagues feel connected to each other. Workers then feel good about using their individual talents to collaborate effectively and contribute toward team goals. Since the coronavirus pandemic changed the way the world worked in 2020, team development has become even more crucial. And companies have had to be more purposeful about team building. Remote team members need even more opportunities to enhance teamwork than those who work together in person.
The Great Resignation spurred by the pandemic has also highlighted the importance of having a cohesive team. Forced to work from home, millions of Americans used the time to reflect on what they really want from life and their career. Many have decided that they are no longer comfortable spending every day in an unhealthy work environment. They also want an employer with a clear company vision and leaders who are on the same page as them.
Companies that do not want to lose employees must commit to easier team collaboration. They should also ensure that every employee has the online tools they need to complete their portion of a team’s project. Here are some ways that employers can prioritize effective team building to keep employees engaged:
- Set ground rules for the team, while also remaining open to the possibility they may need to change based on team needs.
- Treat all team members with respect and never play favorites.
- Give frequent feedback and try to balance positive with negative. Effective managers are also willing to accept feedback and implement the ideas of others.
Focusing on these areas is the first step to increasing employee satisfaction and decreasing turnover.
The importance of team cohesion
Most employees work as part of a team and take pride in being a good team member, regardless of their personal feelings for other team members. Effective collaboration is essential for employee retention and satisfaction, enhanced productivity, and a work culture that celebrates successful teamwork. However, team cohesiveness must exist before actual collaboration can take place. Cohesiveness refers to the level of bonding, trust, and camaraderie present in successful teams.
Team cohesiveness takes time to develop. People learn to appreciate and respect each other as they each contribute their individual talents to meet team goals. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Certain personality types might find it hard to work with other colleagues. Sometimes, one or more group members are overly self-focused. They think more about career goals than collaboration.
Managers must be in tune with how well their teams collaborate. Wishful thinking hampers their ability to see that a group will not thrive without some changes. They should observe personality types and behavioral tendencies that could lead to interpersonal conflicts that prevent effective team building. They can help bring people around by setting ground rules and holding team building activities.
At the same time, managers must balance the need to minimize personal conflict with the possibility of the team resorting to groupthink because no one wants to express varied opinions. Frequent observation and providing team members with the chance to offer feedback via one-on-one meetings or brainstorming sessions can be ideal ways to promote team cohesiveness.
Effective collaboration is essential for employee retention and satisfaction, enhanced productivity, and a work culture that celebrates successful teamwork.
Tips for building strong teams
Effective managers are transparent, available, and approachable. These qualities help to develop an atmosphere of trust that sends the message to employees that the company values them. Managers should take care to display these traits at all times, but especially during team meetings. Employees who trust their leaders and feel valued are more likely to offer their general ideas and work more productively outside of meetings.
Team building exercises do not always need to focus on the entire group to be effective. For example, managers should be certain to recognize employees who put in extra effort to meet a department goal. Here are some additional ideas that focus more on everyone:
- The finance team can divert more company resources to offer employees a more flexible benefits package.
- Take greater interest in each team member’s career development and advancement. Managers can let them know about benefits such as tuition reimbursement and employee assistance programs to help with personal issues that could keep them from advancing.
- Use brainstorming sessions and other virtual communication tools to encourage every team member to contribute ideas on what they would like to see improve and how to go about it.
- Define team roles based on the individual strengths of each team member. For example, one person could be in charge of facilitating communication while another could take responsibility for completing the team’s administrative tasks each day.
- Announce a volunteer day when the entire team will work on a project outside the office that holds personal meaning to them. Although everyone has different values, the team should be able to agree on an activity such as doing yard work for a senior.
- Schedule a company field day where everyone participates in physical activities that also promote team building. This type of team building exercise includes egg tossing and three-legged races are just two examples. Activities must be planned to be inclusive of anyone with a disability.
- Host a virtual scavenger hunt with remote teams by instructing each person to find items from a list at home. The manager should break the groups into teams to help develop camaraderie.
- Hold a trivia competition that focuses on the company’s history and the functions of each department.
This list is only the beginning of possibilities for activities to build team cohesiveness. The more creative the activity, the more likely it is to bring employees together.
Find the right team building strategies
Managers cannot always tell during the recruitment process who is a natural team player and who needs a bit more nurturing. However, the efforts to build team unity are always worth the results. If your company is struggling with fallout from the Great Resignation, and doesn’t have a human resources department to help, contact Zenefits to learn more about how we can support your efforts.