Studies have continually shown that the most productive teams are those where trust and camaraderie rate highly. A good team spirit has consistently measured as one of the most important factors in job satisfaction, while a poor atmosphere is one of the key considerations when an employee decides to leave. So, trust and positive morale must be a consideration for any employer or manager.
If you’re concerned about the atmosphere in your team or even if you just want to ensure the spirit of your team remains high, our list of 10 camaraderie building tips is for you.
1. Hire wisely
The first step in fostering a great team spirit begins with the hiring process. If you have three members from the HR department in the interview and not a single member of the potential employee’s team then it’s going to be difficult to assess how well they’ll fit in. Yes, you want to know that the potential employee can do the job, but you need to know that they’ll mesh with the existing team, too. As well as the employee’s line manager, have a member of their team present. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Create an onboarding process
Once the hiring process is complete and you’ve selected the best and most suitable person to join the team, ensure that they know where they stand from day one. A good onboarding process will allow new members of staff to meet and get to know each department as well as clearly outlining what is expected of them in their new role. Investing in new employees from day one will pay dividends in the long run.
Being a good communicator boils down to one key element: listening. By listening and acknowledging your team members, you show them respect and thereby build trust. A few words of praise or encouragement go a long way, too. Ensuring there’s a culture of receptivity to new ideas and collaboration can be great for building a happy and committed team.
This is especially relevant for remote employees. Be sure to schedule regular communications with remote workers and consider using remote working tools such as Slack, Asana and Google Drive so workers can connect and collaborate in real-time wherever in the world they are.
4. Give everyone equal airtime
How do work meetings usually go for you? Are there a handful of speakers and many more who stay quiet? Do you present to the team and then allocate five minutes for AOB at the end? If so, then you may unintentionally be harming the morale of some of your team members. Being heard, literally, is key to how your employees feel about their position. They may choose to stay quiet in meetings without realising that this is affecting their confidence and feelings of inclusion.
So, how do you change this? It’s actually pretty simple, schedule in regular meetings that suit your team and ensure everyone has an equal amount of airtime. This could involve giving people an allotted 5-minute window to discuss things relating to the business. Or, you could task staff with finding a piece of industry news and sharing it with the rest of your team every month. That way, they get time to speak and be heard and the rest of the team potentially learn something new.
5. Encourage social events
Plan a team get-together that takes place outside of the office. A work lunch (not a working lunch…) is a great opportunity for team members to get to know each other on a personal level which can help to foster better relationships. Aim to make it a low-pressure event, you might love the idea of a group outing to an outdoor adventure park, but this could be some of your employees’ worst nightmare! Think relaxed and informal.
6. Clarify roles and hierarchy
Knowing exactly where in the personnel hierarchy everyone stands is helpful to people at all levels of the business. It’s useful to know when you can push back on decisions and who the ultimate decision-making process sits with. Of course, it’s great to foster an inclusive environment where all team members’ opinions are heard but knowing who has the final say prevents staff from feeling overruled or ignored.
7. Specify goals
It’s a good idea to ensure all employees are up-to-date with company goals as soon as possible. Aim to feature company missions and objectives in the onboarding process so staff know what’s required from day one. Uphold these values by including regular updates in weekly meetings.
Once objectives are firmly established, you can move onto inter-department goals and individual targets. Having a clear idea of these will help teams to stay motivated and committed.
8. Beware of micromanaging
Few things can negatively affect the morale of a team like a lack of trust from a manager and if you’re prone to micromanaging then this is exactly the message you’re giving to your employees. Do you really need staff to tell you every day what they’re working on? And, do you really need to proofread every email that goes out? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you may need to go back to point one…
9. Appreciate uniqueness
Ironically, forcing a team to be together for set 9-5 hours Monday-Friday, could do more harm than good for communication. Allow a little room for the individuals in your team. Flexible working hours are great for the early risers and night owls and dedicated quiet workspaces and breakout areas can help introverts and extroverts happily co-exist.
Consider remote work for those who struggle to get into the office too, remote workers are often more productive than in-house staff so write them off at your peril.
Your staff probably all have different personality types and preferred ways of working. Start the conversation and find out if diverging from the most traditional ways of working could do wonders for your team.
10. Hold brainstorming sessions
Your sales team have the best ideas about how to sell to your clients and your marketing team have the best ideas about establishing brand presence, right? It makes sense, but by limiting ideas to only those deemed experienced enough, you could be missing out on a wealth of ideas. By holding monthly brainstorming sessions with the entire team, you generate some outside-the-box thinking and staff feel more engaged in helping the business to grow. Leave a suggestion box and encourage staff to leave ideas here, that way you can be sure you’re getting ideas from those with something to say rather than just those who like to talk.
Building a sense of community in your workforce won’t happen overnight. Staff need to feel connected to their team and for this, communication is key. Take the time to connect, listen to and make yourself available to your employees. Foster an open, supportive atmosphere and the rest should come easily.
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