Team Building Tips for a Unifed Company Culture
Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a local business, fostering a sense of team unity is an excellent way to make your company the best it can be. Facilitating team activities, goals and a common vision are all excellent ways to encourage employee engagement and to build a great company culture that will help boost employee retention. Encouraging team unity doesn’t simply mean playing a few ice breaker games at the quarterly company meeting. It is a deep-rooted, multi-faceted initiative that should stem from a good deal of thought and planning. We’ve compiled 10 tips for proactive team building in your organization.
Establish a Common Vision
Establishing a common vision for any organization is essential for both team unity and the overall success of a company. One of the best ways to do this is to spend some initial time collaborating as a team on a common vision. This brainstorming session will not only give team members the opportunity to provide their input on the initial vision, but it will also foster employee engagement in completing the objective because it started as a group effort.
Develop Common Goals
Similar to developing a common vision, make sure that common goals are established as part of group collaboration. These goals should also be built with the input of team members and the leadership team working together in a cohesive manner to promote employee engagement. The more invested employees are in common goals, the more encouraged they will be to do their all to achieve those goals. After these goals are established, it is essential to make sure that every participating team members understand these goals, both as an individual employee and as a part of the company. Team members should know what role they have in achieving this goal and they should be able to have a clear outlet to ask questions or provide input during the path to achieving these common goals.
Encourage Collaboration, not Competition
If team-building is established as a contest, certain employees will naturally become focused on the objective of winning, discouraging the learning experiences that team projects are designed to promote. Choose activities that encourage team members to collaborate as a group or as various teams and reward success for their collaboration.
Ensure Roles and Responsibilities are Clear
Whether you are establishing team building through a united company objective or are putting together a company volunteer outing, make sure that people know their individual roles and responsibilities. A clear understanding of what is expected from leadership will help any activity be more successful and will encourage more enthusiastic participation. One of the most common challenges for organizations that are working toward a common goal is that there is a lack of clarity on individual roles. When executing a team initiative, it is important not only to establish roles and responsibilities at the start, but you should also establish a plan to have various checkpoints as roles and responsibilities evolve over the span of a project’s life cycle.
Give Team Members Decision-Making Authority
Any team project or activity will be much more successful when contributing team members feel empowered to make decisions. Employees are also more committed to any project when they feel that they have the authority to provide input. Give team members the authority to empower each other to further any initiative and to trust in their own decisions during the process. Giving employees authority during team-building projects will pay off as the company grows and employees need to delegate work to other employees. Giving team members the power to make important decisions during projects is an excellent step toward training team members to grow their confidence and start seeing themselves as leaders.
Encourage Employee Contribution
Every single person has been in a work situation or meeting when they have had the urge to voice an opinion or idea but chose to keep it to themselves for a variety of reasons. This can often lead team members to feel that their input and opinion isn’t valued.
A great way to foster a team culture is to encourage employees of all levels to contribute, especially in projects designed to promote team unity. A great way to start this process is to leave a specific time allotment for employee contribution during meetings or project discussions. Encourage leadership to actively listen and encourage the sharing of ideas. This doesn’t mean that everything will be smooth sailing when it comes to team contribution. However, the simple act of encouraging employees to speak up builds up strong company culture and helps people feel that they are an important part of a team.
Establish Clear, Open Communication Lines
The saying “communication is key” is especially important when one of your major goals is building a sense of team unity. Establishing clear, open lines of communication is the first step to ensuring the success of a team-building endeavor. Individual employees should have a common communication line, such as a team leader or senior team member, that they can go to with progress reports or questions. Employees should never be discouraged from communicating. However, it is also important to establish up-front what type of communication will be beneficial to work toward a common objective or goal. For example, complaining or going off-topic will only develop unnecessary traffic when it comes to communication.
Employees that receive recognition for their accomplishments will be encouraged to continue their strong work endeavors. A lack of accomplishment is a common reason that team building initiatives ultimately end up becoming unproductive. Prior to starting any team-focused project, make sure that you develop a plan with human resources and leadership to recognize the accomplishments of both individual employees and team achievement.
Learn what Team Members Need and Want
Before you start a team exercise or project, leadership should try to learn as much as possible about what their team members want to gain from the project and what they need to complete the project successfully. Leadership and human resources members should also be proactive in making sure employees know that their needs are heard and that they do their best to provide them with what is asked. Doing this will help everyone be more invested in reaching a common goal. This goes back to the importance of establishing clear and open communication lines. This is an excellent way to loop human resources into team initiatives in a positive way.
Make Things Creative and Fun!
Finally, never hesitate to make team building fun. There’s nothing that ruins a team project faster than when employees feel forced to participate with no outlet for creativity or fun. Finding a balance between a fun project that encourages creativity and completing goals is key to a successful team project. Even if your team goal is simply an enjoyable company softball outing, try to find a way to get creative with it. Maybe add a 7th-inning activity that somehow ties in with something common in your company culture. An additional benefit of encouraging creativity in team building is that once the creative juices start flowing, it is extremely likely that they will flow directly into your employees’ work. This makes creativity and fun a win-win for team members and leadership alike!