Why teamwork is so important
Many of today’s businesses are heading back to the office, while others continue to welcome remote workers. In all situations, employees and leadership need to work together to achieve business objectives. In both cases – in person and virtual scenarios – teamwork is a critical component of success. Without it, there's a clear inefficiency in operations, and that could cost your business time and money.
Teamwork today has to be different. There’s a need to invest in new ways to connect people, improve communications, teach, and support. If your business is struggling with its employees, it may be the result of a lack of modern teamwork. How can you fix this?
What makes Teamwork so important?
A good starting point is understanding the true value of teamwork. Working together is a good thing, and that’s easy to see. However, if you look closer, there is real value in creating a cohesive team that is able to accomplish tasks together. Consider some of the benefits of highly effective teamwork.
Better Problem Solving
People play off each other to achieve solutions to problems. If you have a problem, you may talk to two or three people to get different insights and ideas on how to fix that problem. Teamwork creates that type of power-house problem solving. When people are able to work together, they are able to generate new ideas, adopt correct responses, and reject mistakes quickly. Not only does this lead to a more effective process,but it also speeds up the process, allowing the company to accelerate its growth and overcome its challenges.
There’s Better Ability to Innovate
When effective teamwork is present, people can talk, argue a bit about their ideas, and get inspiration. This leads to innovation. Many of today’s companies recognize the importance of innovation. It’s what helps keep them young and growing, as well as competing in a never-changing marketplace. Yet, innovation doesn’t just happen. It’s impossible to rely on just one person to come up with new ideas.
However, when teams work together, they can flesh out new thoughts and take even bad ideas and innovate from them. One of the ways this can help your business is by including people from a diverse number of backgrounds. One study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that when a team is diverse, they can create better results. It found that these teams can be more creative and perform at 35% better than teams that are less diverse.
Personal Growth Is Enhanced
It’s a misconception that only the team gets credit and improves when teamwork is used. Individuals without that team are more likely to achieve personal growth goals than if they were working alone towards them.
Why is that? By sharing information in a team atmosphere, every member of the group grows, learns, and has more opportunities to expand their abilities and ideas. The team thrives, but so do the individuals within that team. It’s a type of cross-training that benefits everyone.
If you’re still looking for reasons to invest heavily in teamwork improvement, consider that it can also:
- Increase revenue by encouraging innovation and developing new ideas to help the company stand out from competitors;
- Create happier employees who are more likely to stick with the company longer;
- Reduce burnout, a common problem for many of today’s companies;
Considering all of these (and other)benefits of teamwork, companies need to be aggressive in implementing strategies that foster this type of result.
Teamwork in a New Age
For many businesses, teamwork seemed easier when everyone worked in the same office. Managers could gather a group of people in a meeting room and work to solve a problem together, all next to each other, working towards the same goal.
Today, employees may be across the city,state, or even around the globe. It’s harder than ever to come together to work as a team. That doesn’t mean that teamwork isn’t possible. Rather, it means it’s essential to find new ways to adapt.
It’s not just about building a team that can work together. It’s about creating a structure that works. Every company may be a bit different in how this is done, but there are a few common aspects to keep in mind.
The Biggest Limitations to Teamwork in the Remote Age
There are many facets that go into creating a cohesive team environment within your business. In every sense of the word, you need to allow people to work together in a way that encourages growth, communication, and ideas.
That sounds easy enough, but there are a few core common problems that often make it difficult for teams working across new virtual boundaries. Here’s a look at some of those:
- Lack of Clarity: A team has to have a designated task and a clear goal to achieve. If the team does not have this, it cannot be successful on any front. Your team members may be operating separately and without a clearly defined objective to work towards.
- Trust Issues: Teams also need a defined organizational structure that’s built on trust. If the team does not trust that everyone within the team is working towards the same goals and doing their part, the team develops cracks.
- Lack of Communication: In a virtual environment, teams must be able to work together at a much more refined and efficient level. That means communication must be streamlined and efficient. Yet, a lack of communication is a common problem in this environment.
- Lack of Engagement: Leadership within the team needs to keep all members engaged. That’s far more challenging in a virtual environment. However, a reduced level of engagement can often lead to the team not achieving goals as members don’t contribute.
- Lack of Defined Leadership: A team must have a defined structure. That is, there has to be someone overseeing the team and then others who report to that person. The key here is to outline the details. Who is doing what? When is that due? How is the work getting reported? How handles problems? Any level of role uncertainty creates bottlenecks within the organization, limiting overall success of every member.
Considering these typical teamwork problems in a virtual environment, how can you overcome them and build success?
How to Overcome Modern Virtual Teamwork Challenges
Recognizing the value of teamwork and its importance to the growth of your business is the first step. The second is to recognize that teams are hard to manage in a virtual environment, and traditional ways of doing so just do not work. Next, consider the methods and tools that can help your business to achieve better success in the modern teamwork environment.
Hire the best people for the work
Not everyone works well in a virtual environment. As critical as it is to your business to have remote workers and in-house workers, make sure that people are working in the environment best suited to their skills and productivity levels. You also need to be sure you have people who are team-oriented and willing to work with others to achieve company goals. Instead of looking for the go-getter, look for the team leader.
Create a culture of communication
Before you go any further in developing your team, it’s critical to develop a culture of communication. Be very specific with your staff and each member of the team about how they should communicate and when. Remove any misconceptions about when or how they should be communicating within the team. Address the basics, including:
- Time zone differences they should know about
- Language barriers that may exist
- When they should communicate
- How to communicate (which methods to use)
- Rules for communication such as avoiding slag or offensive information
It's also important to establish ground rules for in-person communication. For example, your team may work remotely 4 days a week, but you hold a weekly meeting in the office weekly or twice a year – whatever works for your goals. This helps ensure that remote employees still feel as though they are valuable team members.
Implement the Best Tools for Communication
Your team needs tools to work together, engage, and communicate. Luckily, there are many outstanding sources available that can help foster success within your organization.
One core recommendation is to use Klaxoon. It’s designed to facilitate teamwork in person and in a virtual environment. To do that, it provides a wide range of tools to help foster success. Here are some examples of how it helps improve participation and communication:
- Utilize collaboration tools that enable better work focus and more productivity. Individuals who are working remotely from each other can still see and interact in real time, ensuring that projects continue to push ahead no matter where they are located.
- Host workshops and training sessions, as well as virtual meetings with ease. These tools allow your business to bring people together to accomplish tasks as a group.
- Manage projects with ease. With integrated project management tools, it is possible to outline every detail – who is doing what, what the next step is for the employee, and how they can send information and feedback to you. It allows you to create a cohesive work environment for your teams.
- Engage directly with customers and align sales teams during the closing. In short, you can bring your team together to ensure that every step is taken to close the sale. This leads to improved customer experience.
- New team members are a critical addition to your business, but if they do not get the necessary on-boarding and training ,that typically leads to instant bottlenecks within your organization. This helps ensure that employees receive the necessary support to know how to play their roles in the team environment.
There are many types of tools to help your business. As you begin to align your goals, then, be sure to outline which tools will be used. Then, provide necessary training to ensure your employees know how to use those tools. Be consistent as well.
Encourage People to Collaborate
The next component to building success within your team is to be the motivator. That is, as the facilitator of the team, it is up to you to ensure people come together to collaborate. Team building activities may be important to do this, but for the strict focus of work tasks, consider these tips:
- Contact your team members individually on a frequent basis to ensure they are on track and don’t need help. Make it a formal meeting where you can see them through video chatting or an in-person meeting. That way, you can make them feel valued.
- Encourage team members to interact with each other. Use their names when addressing them and ask them to reach out to other team members for ideas or problem solving.
- Communicate ideas in a group setting, virtually, or in person. The core goal here is to make sure that everyone's goals and ideas are valued. That helps to encourage people to communicate more fully and on a routine basis.
- Encourage people to interact with each other. That may include ensuring that everyone knows each other and knows the right channel to communicate with ease.
Create Accountability within the Team
It’s impossible to manage a team environment without having accountability in place. Accountability helps ensure that people are going to step up and engage. Without it, team goals are not reached, and people within the team have to carry a heavier load than they should. That complicates matters over time.
Ensure that there's a strong accountability plan in place. Communicate it and be sure that it is consistently applied to all members of the team.
Creating Teamwork Takes Time, But It Pays Off
Improved revenue, better communication, a more engaged environment, and better customer satisfaction are some of the key benefits that come from a team that interacts with each other and works to support each other. When you update and modernize your teamwork methods using these modern tools and resources, your business can thrive. Your employees will appreciate the outcome as much as you do.