By now, we can all recognize those corporate catch phrases, the ones like “team” and “corporate family” that are so casually used in corporate communication and branding that their essence tends to be diluted over time. There are many more organizations that boast of their “team” atmosphere than organizations that truly embody this notion. However, the ability to operate as one cohesive unit with one common goal and function as a team is a far cry from just another piece of corporate jargon; it is actually crucial to the success of a business.
Teamwork doesn’t cultivate itself; it takes a true, concentrated effort to bring an office of different personalities and interests together and align them as a team. If you can’t see Dale the punk-rock accountant ever teaming up with Cindy the crocheting hr rep, don’t give up hope! Regardless of how divergent your workforce might be, it is your job as the manager to integrate teamwork into all of your processes and all of the minds of your employees. When people buy into working together for the betterment of the organization, they tend to be more focused and more motivated, and it makes for a generally more open and pleasant working environment.
Here are some basic tips you can use to get started on building YOUR corporate team.
Set a common goal, and make it known. The very purpose of a team is to work together for a common goal, so you must make sure the common goal is concrete, specific, and that your entire team knows about it. The unstated goal of every corporate team is to “better the company,” but you’d do better with a more precise goal. “Get to $1 million in sales by the end of the year.” “Open up another office by the end of the quarter.” Once you have established your specific goal, make sure to communicate that thoroughly with your team. Put up banners or other internal marketing materials. Integrate it in conference calls. Whatever you do, just make sure your goal resonates throughout the organization, and employees can’t help but start to develop a team mentality.
Practice open communication. The best part of a “team” versus a dictatorship is that everyone is able to voice their opinions, and as such, you have a much better opportunity to mesh a variety of ideas to get the best results fitting for your organization. While there are distinct leaders and followers on every team, every person’s opinion is still valued. Allow employees the opportunity to voice their feedback, whether it is through anonymous surveys or simply making sure you are approachable and don’t automatically reject new and different opinions than yours. Then, make sure you respond to the feedback. Showing that you care enough about the team to listen to their opinions, and act on them, will establish the team mentality even further.
Celebrate your successes. What would a football team be without the chest bumps and butt slaps? Of course, we are by no means suggesting THESE interactions be brought into the workplace, but it is important to celebrate the triumphs of your employees, just as it is to celebrate the successes of colleagues on any team. If someone hits their goal, send out a company email so they can enjoy all of the back slaps and “attaboys” they deserve. When one member of the team is truely excelling, everyone should be excited because it brings everyone one step closer to that common goal.
Hold team building activities. Before you let visions of trust falls and ropes courses cloud your opinion of team building activities, realize that in order for a true team to be built, some exercises need to be done OUTSIDE of typical office duties. (No, assigning a group of employees to work on a brief together does NOT count as this type of team building activity. Nice try though.) Hold corporate outings where everyone gets to know one another outside of the brief interactions they may have over their cubicle walls or waiting in line in the kitchen to use the microwave at lunch. Whether it is purely recreational activities like bowling, or activities for the greater good such as philanthropic activities, these types of exercises can be therapeutic and entertaining for a growing team. Check out some of the pictures below from some of Medix’s team building activities!
Never forget the importance of a team in your corporate culture; your bottom line will thank you for it!